The radio stations in northwest Kansas have a deep history that dates back to the late 1940’s.
Powerful AM stations
790 KXXX-AM hit the airwaves in July, 1947 and quickly became a midwest powerhouse, bringing listeners throughout the region timely news, information and entertainment with it’s 5000 watt signal. The original studios for KXXX were in the Cooper Hotel in downtown Colby. Legendary broadcasters Ed Mason (Kansas Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame), Vern “Weatherman” Snider, Rich Hawkins and Paul Heskett (Sonny Slater Award Winner in 2011) are all names synonymous with KXXX radio. The station has only featured a total of three music formats in it’s entire history: “Middle of the Road,” Mainstream Country and it’s current format Classic Country.
730 KLOE-AM came on the scene the following year in 1948 at 1000 watts. The original call letters were KWGB (Kansas Wheat Grows Best). Throughout the years, KLOE has been a community-centered station, with an abundance of local programming, news, sports broadcasting and award winning weather coverage. Many prominent broadcasters have worked at KLOE including, but certainly not limited to: Wyatt Thompson (voice of the K-State Wildcats), Greg Akagi, Tad Felts (Kansas Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame), Kay and Marty Melia (Kansas Association of Broadcasters Hall of Famers), and Don Gill (former voice of the Nebraska Cornhuskers). Of the people that have been employed at KLOE over the years, at least eleven have gone on to become radio station managers in other markets.
FM’s hit the scene
In 1971, KXXX-FM came into existence. It’s original purpose was to serve as an alternative to KXXX-AM for programming such as Kansas City Royals baseball broadcasts. The call letters changed to KQLS in the early 1980’s…and eventually to the current call letters of KRDQ. The music format for this 100,000 watt station has been fairly consistent over the years…primarily Top 40 pop and adult contemporary music. A staple program for over three decades has been “Bop Shop Saturday Morning with Paul Heskett ” which airs each Saturday from 9AM-Noon. The show is immensely popular and features music from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. It is also simulcast on KXXX-AM.
KKCI-FM, another 100,000 watt signal, went on-air in 1991 as a sister station to KLOE-AM. The original music format was 60’s, 70’s and 80’s light rock and spent a brief stint as an oldies station. In January, 2012 KKCI switched to it’s current format of classic rock. Local and live programming includes the “Good Neighbor Hour,” which is simulcast from KLOE-AM, followed by the “Morning Blitz,” a one-hour sports talk show (originated in 2009 as the “Hot Corner”).
KWGB-FM is the youngest of the stations in northwest Kansas, taking the air in 1997. This 100,000 watt signal has held the same format for it’s entire existence, Hot Country Music. KWGB is operated out of Goodland, but is actually a licenced Colby station. Area high school broadcasts are a popular local feature on 97.9FM.
Rocking M Radio, a family owned media company based in Manhattan, KS, took over ownership of the above stations in April, 2007.