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1320 AM, Scottsbluff

City of License: Scottsbluff, NE

First Air Date: February 15, 1930

Operating Power: 100 watts

Original Call Letters: KGKY

General Manager: L.L. Hilliard

Issued To: L.L. Hilliard

Through the Years

  • 1930

    February 13, 1930-  Station sign on at 1500 kHz, 100 watts. Studios/office/transmitter located at 1713 Broadway in Scottsbluff.   Slogan was:  Western Nebraska’s Only Radio Station.  

    (Before licensing, one of Hilliard’s radio servicemen, Adolf Carl Martichewsky, built a transmitter out of an old receiver.  For three days the transmitter broadcast music and commercials for the Rexall Drug Store.   The Federal Radio Commission ordered it off the air.  Hilliard applied at least twice for a legitimate license after that, finally being awarded his station in November, 1929.)

  • 1931

    Transmitter and studios move to 1713 Broadway in Scottsbluff, NE.

  • 1935

    Daytime power is increased to 250 watts, remaining at 100 watts at night.

  • 1937

    Though family-owned, L.L. Hilliard becomes controlling owner with transfer of stock from other partners.  The station will remain in the Hilliard family for another 50 years.

  • 1938

    Transmitter is moved to West 20th Street “out of city limits” with a new 165-foot vertical antenna.  A new transmitter house is also constructed.  The site, at NE-92 and Kolt Lane, remained in use for the remainder of KOLT’s operational years.  Harlan Morrison was Chief Engineer.

  • 1940

    Daytime power at 250 watts is authorized for full time operation.

  • 1941

    Frequency is moved to 1490 kHz in NARBA reallocation.

  • 1945

    Station joins CBS, becoming that network’s Panhandle affiliate for the next 59 years.

  • 1947

    Station moves from a local to a regional channel, 1320 kHz, 1,000 watts, directional at night.  Call letters are changed to KOLT.

  • 1949

    Daytime power is increased to 5,000 wats with directional antenna day and night.  KOLT keeps the community informed during the Blizzard of ’49 with emergency messages, and tracking the lost and found.

  • 1956

    Studios/offices are moved to the transmitter building, West 20th Street, 1.5 miles west of city limits.

  • 1965

    Non-directional days are authorized, but still directional at night.

  • 1971

    Lester Hilliard’s son Russ Hilliard takes over as General Manager.

  • 1972

    L.L. Hilliard is inducted into the Nebraska Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame in the original class of Hall of Fame inductees.

  • 1983

    James D. Petersen is President, Geoffrey J. Hammond is General Manager.

  • 1987

    Viril Davis is General Manager.

  • 1989

    June 30, 1989-  Station is bankrupt and silenced.  Still owned by the Hilliard family.

  • 1992

    February 25, 1992-KOLT is sold to Tracy Corporation (Michael Tracy) for $37,500.  Tracy is owner of KOAQ 690 AM, Terrytown and KMOR FM 92.9 Bridgeport in the Scottsbluff market.

    Tracy became the first broadcaster to operate a permanent three-station commercial combination when the FCC granted him a waiver to acquire KOLT just before the Commission relaxed its duopoly rules on March 12, 1992.

    Dark for two years, KOLT returns to the air with a Country format, along with Rush Limbaugh and Talknet.

  • 1993

    Format flips to News/Talk.

  • 1996

    August, 1996-Co-owned KOLT-FM signs on at 103.9, 100,000 watts at 909 feet. Licensed to Gering, later Bridgeport, Nebraska with a Hot Country format.

  • 2002

    Drops CBS for ABC.  Continues with News/Talk, targeting 39 plus demographic.

  • 2007

    Station is sold to Hometown Family Radio, a subsidiary of Legacy Communications (Jay Vavricek, Grand Island, NE) as part of a package that includes KOAQ 690 Terrytown, KOZY 93.3 Gering, and KMOR 101.3 FM Bridgeport for $1.775 million.

  • 2013

    KOLT goes to Armada Media as part of a trade.  Armada receives eight stations in the North Platte and Scottsbluff markets including KOLT in exchange for two of Legacy’s stations in Holdrege plus $800,000.

  • 2019

    Purchased by the Nebraska Rural Radio Association a part of a six-station Scottsbluff-area station package for $1.175 Million.

    November 1, 2019-  KOLT, in poor technical condition, is silenced.

    November 11, 2019- KOLT call letters are traded with co-owned KOAQ 690 Terrytown as KOLT’s News/Talk format moves to 690.

  • 2020

    January 17, 2020-  License is surrendered.  Nebraska Rural Radio Association had to divest two stations due to ownership caps.  No buyer emerged for 1320.