1320 AM, Scottsbluff
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
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.)
Transmitter and studios move to 1713 Broadway in Scottsbluff, NE.
Daytime power is increased to 250 watts, remaining at 100 watts at night.
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.
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.
Daytime power at 250 watts is authorized for full time operation.
Frequency is moved to 1490 kHz in NARBA reallocation.
Station joins CBS, becoming that network’s Panhandle affiliate for the next 59 years.
Station moves from a local to a regional channel, 1320 kHz, 1,000 watts, directional at night. Call letters are changed to KOLT.
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.
Studios/offices are moved to the transmitter building, West 20th Street, 1.5 miles west of city limits.
Non-directional days are authorized, but still directional at night.
Lester Hilliard’s son Russ Hilliard takes over as General Manager.
L.L. Hilliard is inducted into the Nebraska Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame in the original class of Hall of Fame inductees.
James D. Petersen is President, Geoffrey J. Hammond is General Manager.
Viril Davis is General Manager.
June 30, 1989- Station is bankrupt and silenced. Still owned by the Hilliard family.
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.
Format flips to News/Talk.
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.
Drops CBS for ABC. Continues with News/Talk, targeting 39 plus demographic.
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.
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.
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.
January 17, 2020- License is surrendered. Nebraska Rural Radio Association had to divest two stations due to ownership caps. No buyer emerged for 1320.