Nebraska Broadcasters Association Archive logo
edit

1110 AM, Lincoln (Omaha)

City of License: Lincoln, NE (moved to Omaha in 1945)

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

Through the Years

  • 1924

    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”.

  • 1925

    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”.

  • 1926

    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.

  • 1927

    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.

  • 1928

    November, 1928- Moved to 770 kHz, shares time with WBBM Chicago, requiring silent period during prime evening hours.

  • 1929

    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.

  • 1930

    June, 1930- Restructuring:  from Nebraska Buick to KFAB Broadcasting, subsidiary of Union Holding Company.

  • 1931

    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.

  • 1932

    State Supreme Court rules that the station is liable for comments made by a political candidate in 1928 though such censorship is federally outlawed.

  • 1933

    March, 1933- Approval to construct Synchronous operating system with WBBM, Chicago.

  • 1934

    May 1, 1934- Night time synchronized programming with WBBM, Chicago.

  • 1935

    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.

  • 1936

    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.

  • 1938

    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.

     

  • 1939

    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.

  • 1941

    KFAB and WBBM, Chicago is moved to 780 kHz as part of the 1941 NARBA frequency shifts.  Night time synchronization remains intact.

  • 1944

    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.

  • 1945

    FCC authorizes move to 50,000 watts and community of license change to Omaha.

    Hugh Feltis becomes general manager for Central States Broadcasting.

  • 1946

    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.

  • 1947

    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.

  • 1948

    Johnny Carson, while attending the University of Nebraska, is hired as a writer for Eddie Sosby and the Radio Rangers at $10 per week.

  • 1950

    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.

  • 1951

    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.

  • 1952

    Newsman Walt Kavanaugh comes over from KOWH as morning newsman for the next 40 years.

  • 1954

    Four employees gain control of station in a stock purchases:  Lyle Bremser, Harold Soderlund, Harry Burke, and William McDonald.

  • 1955

    Station swaps networks with WOW due to latter’s WOW-TV agreement with CBS.  KFAB gets NBC.

  • 1956

    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.

  • 1957

    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.

  • 1958

    KFAB acquires Muzak franchise.

  • 1959

    KFAB FM, 99.9 signs on.

  • 1960

    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.

  • 1962

    The 1940’s Westinghouse transmitter is replaced with an RCA Ampliphase unit.

  • 1969

    Ken Headrick becomes Station Manager.

    Tom Johnson joins station as Program Director, stays in various positions including sports for 24 years.

  • 1970

    A tornado downs the two western-most self-supporting towers.  Both are replaced with guyed towers.

  • 1976

    Gary Sadlemyer joins the staff, coming from KHUB, Fremont, NE.

  • 1979

    Fall audience share of 34.1 is station’s best ever, with the morning show having 38% of the audience.

  • 1981

    Trade magazine TV Radio Age lists KFAB #1 in the country in audience share of market.

  • 1982

    KFAB joins NBC’s Talk Net evenings, featuring advice-oriented hosts.

  • 1983

    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.

  • 1984

    Lyle Bremser retires, football game days are taken over by Kent Pavelka.  Ken Headrick becomes General Manager.

  • 1986

    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.

  • 1987

    KFAB beefs up news programming schedule in the face of the new KKAR 1180 with an all-news format.

  • 1988

    KFAB loses it’s #1 ratings spot for the first time since at least 1970.  Its upended by rock FM station, KEZO, 92.3.

  • 1989

    Ken Hedrick retires, noting a dislike for “corporate radio.”  Replaced  by Bob Sweet.

  • 1990

    Station drops music for an all news/talk format.

  • 1990

    Long time morning hosts Don Cole and Walt Kavanaugh retire.

  • 1992

    General Manager Bob Sweet resigns, is replaced by Paul Aaron.

  • 1994

    General Manager Paul Aaron leaves, replaced  by Chuck Jewell.

  • 1995

    June, 1995-Network affiliation changes from CBS  to NBC.

  • 1996

    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.

     

  • 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.

  • 1998

    Triathlon sells to Capstar, which in turn is bought by Chancellor Media, forming AM/FM, Inc.

  • 1998

    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.

  • 2000

    Husker sports rights return to KFAB.

    Donn Seidholz departs, Tracy Gilliam becomes General Manager.

  • 2001

    KFAB drops CBS network for ABC.

    October, 2001-  Donna Baker joins stations as Market Manager.

  • 2005

    KFAB drops ABC network for Fox News.

  • 2007

    June 2007-  GM Donna Baker departs, new market manager is Taylor Walet.

  • 2014

    Clear Channel is rebranded as iHeart.

  • 2015

    KFAB is outbid for Husker sports by KXSP 590 AM (Journal Broadcast Group).