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1180 AM, Omaha

City of License: Omaha, NE

First Air Date: March 19, 1987

Operating Power: 5,000 watts days, 1,000 watts nights (4 tower directional with separate patterns day & night)

Original Call Letters: KKAR

Format: All News

Network Affiliation: CBS

General Manager: Ralph Beaudin

News Director: Bob Murray

Program Director: Steve Brown, Station Manager

Sales Manager: Marty Riemenschneider

Chief Engineer: John Bible

Date of FCC Issue: March, 1987

Issued To: Mitchell Broadcasting Company, Inc.

Through the Years

  • 1987

    Prior to station sign on, FCC assigns call letters KNPE during construction phase 1984-1987.

    March 19, 1987-  station signs on with an all-news format and CBS network.  Station employs 17 local reporters, and has three mobile units, Chrysler K-cars, hence the call letters, KKAR.   Reporters use state of the art equipment, including video tape recorders in the field.    This programming concept was developed by Omaha radio veteran, Steve Brown, who takes on programming and Station Manager duties.  Station broadcasts in AM stereo.

    Although licensed to Bellevue, NE, studios are located at 10th & Farnam Streets in Omaha, co-located with sister station KQKQ-FM.

  • 1988

    In order to reduce station overhead, station reduces the news blocks and live programming  in favor of syndicated national talk shows.  Live programming remains in morning and afternoon drive times.  Rush Limbaugh is added to the schedule, airing 11am-2pm Monday-Friday.  KKAR is a charter Limbaugh radio affiliate, the 37th radio station to sign on to the network.    AM stereo unit is switched off, with the belief that it reduces coverage.  Ground conductivity at transmitter site is poor.

    Former Omaha Mayor Mike Boyle show debuts from 2-6pm Monday-Friday.

    Limbaugh appears at a “Rush to Excellence” tour appearance at Peony Park, and tours the SAC Headquarters at Offut Air Force Base.

  • 1989

    Local morning program, Steve Brown’s “Talk of the Town” show airs from 9-11am Monday-Friday.


  • 1991

    Station receives permission to air CNN television audio during the Gulf War.  CNN radio network begins afterward.

  • 1993

    FCC incorporates new duopoly rules, allowing Mitchell Broadcasting to purchase KOIL 1290 AM.   The news format and KKAR call letters are moved to 1290 AM,  and 1180 AM takes the KOIL call letters.  Station format flips to “Great Songs, Great Stars” nostalgia/standards Music of Your Life format from Unistar.  The station turns back on its stereo generator.   Station produces big band concerts like the Tommy Dorsey orchestra, at Peony Park ballroom and other venues.

  • 1994

    Station increases daytime power to 25,000 watts.

  • 1995

    KFAB takes CBS network away from KOIL,  replaced by NBC

  • 1998

    Station drops news/talk, flips to all sports, ESPN.  Local sports talk mornings and in afternoon drive, Monday-Friday.

    Brokers time for UNO sports and Creighton basketball.

  • 1999

    Drops all-sports format and goes with Radio Disney, appealing to 6-12 year olds.

  • 1999

    Mitchell Broadcasting enters into a Local Marketing Agreement (LMA) with Waitt Radio.

  • 2002

    Mitchell sells Omaha cluster (KKAR 1290, KOIL 1180, KQKQ 98.5 FM, KDGE 101.9 FM) to Waitt radio as part of the entire Mitchell radio group, including stations in Fremont, Hastings, Kearney, Holdrege and North Platte, NE for $36.6 million.

  • 2003

    1180 changes call letters to KYDZ for “Kids”

  • 2005

    Waitt Radio merges with NRG Media, “New Radio Group” based out of Cedar Rapids, Iowa  (Mary Quass, President).

  • 2006

    February, 2006-  Station goes dark but is allowed to start up with a new station on 1620 kHz for five years as part of the expanded band.  FCC had allowed existing stations to remain on the air for a five year period, but was supposed to go off air at that time.  Waiver allowed for both stations to keep operating.  1620 KOZN is an all sports station.

    1180 returns to the air in June as part of the ruling to allow both stations to operate.  New station format is Spanish, “La Bonita.”

  • 2007

    KOIL call sign returns to 1180 as News-Talk format of syndicated shows.


  • 2012

    CNN Radio leaves the business and is replaced by NBC.

    Call letters are changed to KZOT, adopting an All-Sports format as “The Zone 2”, complementing sports programming on sister sports station, “The Zone” on 1620.   KOIL call letters return to 1290 AM, where they originated in 1925.