1110 AM, Lincoln (Omaha)
First Air Date: December 4, 1924
Operating Power: 200 watts
Original Call Letters: KFAB
General Manager: Harold Sidles, President
Chief Engineer: H.C. Harvey
Date of FCC Issue: 1924
Issued To: Buick Auto Company
Tagged:Bob Sweet Charlton Buckley Chuck Jewell Dietrich Dirks Don Cole Don Searle Donn Seidholtz Donna Baker Eddie Sosby Gary Sadlemyer Gayle Grubb Gaylord Avery Gloomy Gus H.C. Harvey Harold Sidles Harold Soderlund Harry Burke Harvey Packard Hugh Feltis John Henry Johnny Carson Ken Headrick Kent Pavelka Lyle Bremser Mary Marsich Norman Fuhrer Paul Aaron Slim Everhart Taylor Walet Thompson Holtz Tom Johnson Tracy Gillam Walt Kavanaugh William McDonald
Through the Years
December 4, 1924- Sign on. Announcer: Gayle Grubb aka Gloomy Gus.
Studio & towers: 13th & Q., Lincoln, NE. Buick Dealership building. Owner: Buick Auto Company, Harold Sidles, President. H .C. Harvey, Engineer.
Legend has it the KFAB call letters meant “Keep Following A Buick”.
July, 1925- Moved to 880 kHz at 500 watts of power.
September, 1925- Power increase to 1,000 watts.
November, 1925-Begins educational programming courses from the University of Nebraska campus. Studios set up in the Agriculture College Building and Memorial Stadium.
December, 1925- First year anniversary program, awards Buick sedan for best slogan, “Home Sweet Home Station”.
October, 1926- Transmitter site moved from Buick Building to 17th & Holdrege. First separation of transmitter and studios in the region.
November, 1926- Begins covering Nebraska Football games.
June 15, 1927- Moved to 970 kHz, with 2,000 watts.
December 1, 1927- Moved to 940 kHz, 5,000 watts daytime (most powerful in Nebraska), 2,000 watts nights. Shares time with KOIL, Council Bluffs.
November, 1928- Moved to 770 kHz, shares time with WBBM Chicago, requiring silent period during prime evening hours.
June 1, 1929- Joins American Broadcasting Company (short-lived Seattle network). ABC network goes silent, bankrupt weeks later on August 22.
September 1, 1929- Joins NBC Blue Network.
June, 1930- Restructuring: from Nebraska Buick to KFAB Broadcasting, subsidiary of Union Holding Company.
Picks up CBS after NBC Blue network goes to KOIL, Council Bluffs, IA.
Opens Omaha studios on the 11th floor of the Omaha National Bank Building, 17th & Farnam.
Union Holding buys KFOR, Lincoln to join KFAB, forming the state’s first duopoly.
Studios/Offices moved from Buick Building to Cornhusker Hotel, 13th & M, Lincoln.
State Supreme Court rules that the station is liable for comments made by a political candidate in 1928 though such censorship is federally outlawed.
March, 1933- Approval to construct Synchronous operating system with WBBM, Chicago.
May 1, 1934- Night time synchronized programming with WBBM, Chicago.
August, 1935- Central States Broadcasting is formed to operate the duopoly, headed by KFAB’s Dietrich Dirks.
November, 1935- KOIL, Council Bluffs, is purchased by Central States Broadcasting after leasing it for one year.
Studios/Offices moved to the Lincoln Hotel, 9th & P, joining those of sister station KFOR.
Power is increased to 10,000 watts.
KOIL’s John Henry replaces Dietrich Dirks to head up Central States Broadcasting.
Station adds the market’s first mobile news unit, a panel truck equipped with shortwave link to the studio.
Slim Everhart, the “Singing Cowboy from Texas,” joins the talent roster for an 11-year run.
Don Searle, founder of KOIL, Council Bluffs in 1925, replaces John Henry as head of Central States Broadcasting.
Singer and guitarist Texas Mary ( Mary Marsich) is added to talent roster. Stay with KFAB for 46 years.
KFAB is the originating station for a Father Flanagan tribute airing on CBS. Boys Town Choir performs.
Sister station KOIL, now in Omaha, picks up CBS which is already on KFAB, promoted as “For City Listeners” while KFAB is “For Nebraska and Her Neighbors.”
Lyle Bremser takes over Nebraska Football on game days. Stays with it for 46 years.
KFAB and WBBM, Chicago is moved to 780 kHz as part of the 1941 NARBA frequency shifts. Night time synchronization remains intact.
Duopolies are outlawed. KOIL, Omaha and KFOR, Lincoln are sold off. KFAB Broadcasting Company remains in Lincoln with an eye on moving to Omaha.
Studios/Offices moved to Sharp Building, 206 South 13th, Lincoln. Omaha studios are moved to the 4th floor of the Farnam Building, 1613 Farnam.
October 10, 1944- Frequency is moved to 1110 kHz with a power increase to 10,000 watts. Original announcer Gayle Grubb returns for an on -air ceremony.
FCC authorizes move to 50,000 watts and community of license change to Omaha.
Hugh Feltis becomes general manager for Central States Broadcasting.
Cowboy group Eddie Sosby and the Radio Rangers are added to the talent roster for the morning show.
December, 1946- The new Sarpy County transmitter site, 60th & Capehart Road, lights up with 50-thousand watts of power. Still non-directional, must drop to 10-thousand watts sat night to protect WBT, Charlotte, NC.
Gaylord Avery, at WOW since the mid-1930’s, joins KFAB. He later goes to Storz Broadcasting, then to CBS, New York.
March 31, 1947- Directional 50-thousand watt operation is authorized full time after weeks of testing the three-tower array.
KFAB FM 97.9, signs on from the Sharp Building in Lincoln. It is silenced the following year.
Johnny Carson, while attending the University of Nebraska, is hired as a writer for Eddie Sosby and the Radio Rangers at $10 per week.
Lyle Bremser is promoted to Program Director.
Thompson Holtz comes over from WOW, hosts various including a mid-morning show for housewives.
Remote studio/office set up at 1710 Howard Street for guest appearances.
KFAB begins 24-hour programming schedule, the first in the market to do so. Harvey Packard is the first overnight host, but soon overnights are automated and say that way for years to come.
Newsman Walt Kavanaugh comes over from KOWH as morning newsman for the next 40 years.
Four employees gain control of station in a stock purchases: Lyle Bremser, Harold Soderlund, Harry Burke, and William McDonald.
Station swaps networks with WOW due to latter’s WOW-TV agreement with CBS. KFAB gets NBC.
Lyle Bremser becomes General Manager, brings in Ken Headrick from Fremont as Program Director.
“Big Change: campaign in the face of KOWH music competition focuses on news and information with personality.
Studios/Offices move from the Farnam Building, 1613 Farnam St. to 5010 Underwood in Dundee neighborhood. Lincoln studios in the Sharp Building are closed.
Loses to the Omaha World-Herald in a hotly-contested bid for TV Channel 7.
May Broadcasting (Shenandoah, IA) buys 49 percent interest to show commitment to Omaha market in the bid to gain NBC for May’s KMTV, Channel 3. NBC had been wavering in favor of newcomer KETV Channel 7.
KFAB acquires Muzak franchise.
KFAB FM, 99.9 signs on.
Evening stereo music programming begins using the two-radio method in conjunction with KFAB FM. Soon ends when FM stereo is authorized the following year.
KMA, 960 in Shenandoah, IA license renewal is questioned as the 2mv signal overlaps that of KFAB, where May has 49% ownership. Arguing that minority interest does not constitute a duopoly, May wins the renewal.
The 1940’s Westinghouse transmitter is replaced with an RCA Ampliphase unit.
Ken Headrick becomes Station Manager.
Tom Johnson joins station as Program Director, stays in various positions including sports for 24 years.
A tornado downs the two western-most self-supporting towers. Both are replaced with guyed towers.
Gary Sadlemyer joins the staff, coming from KRGI, Grand Island, NE.
Fall audience share of 34.1 is station’s best ever, with the morning show having 38% of the audience.
Trade magazine TV Radio Age lists KFAB #1 in the country in audience share of market.
KFAB joins NBC’s Talk Net evenings, featuring advice-oriented hosts.
Station gains exclusive rights to Husker football starting in September. There had been a four-station origination agreement before Husker Coach Bob Devaney sought exclusivity at higher rates.
KFAB reaches a rating of of 27.4 share, again, the #1 audience share in the U.S.
Lyle Bremser retires, football game days are taken over by Kent Pavelka. Ken Headrick becomes General Manager.
September, 1986- Stations are sold to Henry Broadcasting (Charlton Buckley), for $22 million. This becomes the third largest station sale to date in the U.S.
KFAB beefs up news programming schedule in the face of the new KKAR 1180 with an all-news format.
KFAB loses it’s #1 ratings spot for the first time since at least 1970. Its upended by rock FM station, KEZO, 92.3.
Ken Headrick retires, noting a dislike for “corporate radio.” Replaced by Bob Sweet.
Station drops music for an all news/talk format.
Long time morning hosts Don Cole and Walt Kavanaugh retire.
General Manager Bob Sweet resigns, is replaced by Paul Aaron.
General Manager Paul Aaron leaves, replaced by Chuck Jewell.
June, 1995-Network affiliation changes from CBS to NBC.
KFAB loses Husker Sports rights to Pinnacle Broadcasting, which in turns awards Omaha affiliate to KKAR, 1180 AM.
October, 1996- Donn Seidholz is brought in to consolidate KXKT 103.7 FM and KRock 93.3 fm for Triathlon eventually creating a four station duopoly with KFAB and KGOR in 1997.
KFAB is sold along with KGOR FM to Triathlon Broadcasting (Norm Fuhrer) for $39 Million. Donn Seidholz remains as General Manager, Chuck Jewell departs.
Triathlon sells to Capstar, which in turn is bought by Chancellor Media, forming AM/FM, Inc.
Clear Channel merges with AM/FM Inc. in a 23.5 billion dollar deal. KFAB is now just one of 830 stations in the group.
Husker sports rights return to KFAB.
Donn Seidholz departs, Tracy Gilliam becomes General Manager.
KFAB drops CBS network for ABC.
October, 2001- Donna Baker joins stations as Market Manager.
KFAB drops ABC network for Fox News.
June 2007- GM Donna Baker departs, new market manager is Taylor Walet.
Clear Channel is rebranded as iHeart.
KFAB is outbid for Husker sports by KXSP 590 AM (Journal Broadcast Group).