“Real Country” 1580 AM KCWW Tempe AZ | 1996

“Real Country” 1580 AM KCWW Tempe AZ | 1996
Buck Owens
The Legendary Buck Owens, Then-Owner of KCWW

We really don’t have much information on this particular aircheck or radio station other than it was owned by legendary Country music singer Buck Owens from 1967 to 1998.

Don’t ask where we get some of these obscure airchecks, some of these are from stations that aren’t around anymore and weren’t memorable enough even for basic mentions on the web. We had to do some digging to figure out that this station apparently WAS airing the syndicated Real Country format in 1996 under the call letters KCWW. On air, it was simply referred to as KCW. Wikipedia apparently has the call letter timeline wrong, listing 1580 as KNIX during this period (Listeners feel free to post corrections in the comment section)

1580 in Tempe was part of Walt Disney, Inc., airing it’s syndicated “Radio Disney” format since 1998 under the call letters KMIK.  In 2015, the station downgraded it’s transmitter plant and went silent for a short period of time, before returning as a Sports station using the call letters KQFN.


  1. 1580 and sister 102.5 KNIX-FM were owned by Buck Owens at this time as the was the Real Country network, at the time fed from sister KUZZ Bakersfield.

  2. butch gruenberg wally

    anyone know where mark bateman is

    • Mark Bateman

      I am currently owner of Flickos Video service in Tucson Arizona, been out of radio and tv for some years now.

  3. Dick Ellingson

    I worked at the network from 1989 to 1993. Our programming originated from Phoenix. The network studio was next door to the KNIX studio.

    KUZZ was an affiliate of the network.

    That was a long time ago!

    • Tom Clark

      I live in Scottsdale and remember listening to you on Real Country.KCW was formerly KNIX AM. KCW was the flagship for real country started by Buck Owens and originally called The Home of The Country Ledgends.
      Buck sold Real Country to ABC radio in Dallas.The only one left from the original days is Richard Lee.
      I used to talk to you quite frequently in those days.

  4. On my second tour of KIIM and KCUB (Tucson) we carried the format (on KCUB)…

  5. ted chittenden

    KCWW-AM is the old KTUF from way back! When I first visited Phoenix in the summer of 1971 (we would move there a year later), KTUF was a daytime only station whose programming was simulcast on KNIX-FM 102.5. In the early 1980s, the station got (if memory serves) 1kW of nighttime power. The tower array for that power (I was told) was in the shape of a marijuana leaf in order to protect a Mexican clear channel station on the 1580 frequency. In the mid-1980s (I can’t remember when), theFCC allowed the station to go to a full-time 50kW with a more traditional tower array. I believe the AM began running the “Real Country” feed (with the new KCWW callsign) in 1989. While I was happy to hear somebody carrying classic country fulltime in the Valley of the Sun, I was sad that it was on satellite and on AM!

  6. Mike Hitt

    Here’s a few historical details on KTUF/KNIX. I worked there during high school and college from the late sixties to the early seventies. When I first started we were just KTUF AM 1580. Buck Owen’s had recently purchased the station and his sister Dorothy ran it. The offices and studio sat just about in the middle of the Salt River, between Sun Devil Stadium and the Woolco/Dwight Harkins Theaters shopping center, just west of Rural Rd.

    The broadcasting tower was right next to the studio and was the highest structure for miles around. We paid a guy $100 to change the light bulb at the top. I made $2.25 and hour at the time. The bulb changing job was offered to me, but, even at 50 times my hourly salary, I wanted nothing to do with climbing that massive steel structure.

    We had an old GE transmitter that completely occupied a 20×30 ft. room. The numerous tubes in the transmitter were each about three feet high and cost about $600 each. At 50,000 watts the signal at the studio was so strong that all of us regularly received painful RF burns when we accidentally grounded any metal object at the facility.

    About 1969 Buck purchased KNIX, an underground experimental rock station. We added a microwave relay dish, a bank of FM transmitter controls and began beaming the simulcast signal to the KNIX transmitter on South Mountain.

    KTUF/KNIX rapidly eclipsed every other station of any format and became Arizona’s number one listened to radio station. Many of the Valley’s most popular DJ’s worked there – even several big names that I grew up listening to on Phoenix rock stations, KRUX and KRIZ.

    The KTUF/KNIX studios regularly received visits not only from Buck and the Hee Haw gang, but Waylon Jennings, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard and many others.

    It was an exciting, vibrant place to work – even at $2.25 an hour. I finished college and went on to other pursuits in 1973. By then, Buck Owens Broadcasting had transformed Phoenix from a Rock and Roll town into a Country capital.

  7. Lino Morales

    Wow I remember hearing KCWW 1580 overnights underneath KDAY Santa Monica when I was a teenager. I lived west of Bakersfield CA in the little farming town of Buttonwillow. In 1990 this came to AM 55 KCWR formally KUZZ-am. I remember all the special ed bus drivers wondering during summer school that year what had happened to KUZZ. Well KUZZ was now on FM 107.9 where it still is today. Fastforward to December 1996. KUZZ-AM returned and Buck started the simulcast again. KCWR moved to 107.1 where its still today. This was the former KTIE which played a blend of country and Rock.

  8. Mark Bateman

    Would love to here from KCWW listeners and those who might have worked there at one time. Email at flickos@msn.com

  9. scott faber

    My dad taped the top 500 they did when they were broadcasting as KCW listening and enjoying a refreshment remembering these old songs playing.

  10. Mark Bateman

    Would love to have a copy of some of those broadcast, I worked there from the beginning to about 1995

  11. Mike

    Kcww was the call letters from my home town for our country fm in the 80’s.I started working there @ 14 . The calls stood for Watts Wacker the former owner,when it was and easy listening station from reel to reel.

  12. David

    Is there anyway to get a list of country songs that was played in the 1990s

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