1450 AM, Beatrice
First Air Date: June 12, 1949
Operating Power: 250 watts
Original Call Letters: KWBE
General Manager: John Thorwald
Issued To: Blue Valley Broadcasting Co.
Tagged:Brad Achtemeier Charles Brugha Charlie Brogan Diana Warner Dorothy Herzel Doug Kennedy Gordon "Bud" Pentz Greg Wells J.Taylor Monfort James Habe Jana Pentz-McBride Jay Stalder Joan Woods Joe D. Goldberg John Thorwald M.E. Dole Marion Norton Mark Halverson Mary Quass Mel Mains Merle G. Jones Norton Warner Rick Siebert Thomas E. Adams Jr William Boyce
Through the Years
June 12, 1949- Sign on with 250 watts, unlimited hours. Studio located at 112 1/2 North 6th Street. Transmitter-one mile west of Big Blue River, Beatrice, at Sherman and Mary Streets, 550 feet North of Nebraska Highway 3 & 4.
First voice heard is that of 19 year-old Mel Mains. Call letters stand for “Keep Watching Beatrice Enterprises.” Station’s nickname “KweeBee” soon develops and sticks.
Station joins Mutual Broadcasting System through much of the remainder of the decade.
J.F. Thorwald relinquishes control to Merle G. Jones, Thomas E. Adams Jr, M.E. Dole, Marion Norton and Joe D. Goldberg for$54,500, which is granted in March, 1951.
April, 1951- Charles Brugha appointed General Manager.
May, 1952- Gordon “Bud” Pentz is appointed General Manager, continuing a 37-year span with the station.
Studio and offices move to transmitter site at 200 Sherman Street at Mary Streets in west Beatrice.
Station is sold to MIA Enterprises, Inc. (Gordon C. Penz, president with 75% interest and William Boyce 25%) for $596,250. Pentz had been minority stockholder and remains as station manager. Pentz places station focus on local issues and events and even has his own talk show, inviting nearly any of Beatrice’s residents with something to say as guests.
Pentz installs Weather Radar though the purchase of government surplus radar system, the first in the state.
Station begins an unsuccessful bid for a move to 1590 kHz with 5,000 watts day, 1,000 watts night. Quest ends in 1962.
November, 1962-Co-owned FM station signs on. KWBE FM 92.9, 19,500 watts at 310 feet. The station simulcasts the AM at first, later gradually separates the programming. Is soon authorized to go to 97,000 watts.
April, 1963-KWBE AM is authorized to go to 1,000 watts daytime power.
Dorothy Herzel is named sales manager and stays for 15 years.
General Manager Gordon “Bud” Pentz, a member of the Nebraska Broadcasters Association since the 1950’s is named President. He’s inducted into the Association’s Hall of Fame three years later.
Station joins CBS, continuing to 1984.
Pentz turns station management over to his daughter, Jana Pentz-McBride, for the remainder of MIA ownership while remaining as president and CEO for MIA Broadcasting.
September, 1986-KWBE is sold by MIA Enterprises, Inc (Gordon Pentz) to the MEG Company (J. Taylor Monfort) for $1.2 million plus 80% of the accounts receivable. The sale includes the FM, KMAZ 92.9. Power adjustment for KWBE AM to 530 watts full time is authorized.
Gordon “Bud” Pentz retires. KWBE joins ABC Information network. Doug Kennedy, News Director, starts long run at the station.
June, 1990- KWBE 1450 is sold by ERM Associates (J. Taylor Monfort) to Community Media, Inc. (Norton E. and Diana H. Warner) for $325,000. Buyers also own KLIN AM/FM in Lincoln plus other stations in Cannon City and Grand Junction, Colorado and Abilene, Kansas.
Licensee name is changed to Warner Stations. Adds CBS, Westwood One networks to the ABC Information affiliation.
Sold by Warner Enterprises, Lincoln (Norton E. Warner, President) to JC Acquisition LLC (James Habe, President) as part of a six-station package for $11.465 million. Package includes Lincoln stations KFGE (Milford/Lincoln), KLIN, KEZG, and KKUL that are being sold by the buyer in a simultaneous transaction.
May, 2000-Sold to Triad Broadcasting for $12 million as part of a package that includes KLIN/1400, KFGE/98.1, KKUL/105.3 and KEZG 105.3. Greg Wells is named as Vice President and Market Manager for all five stations. Joan Woods remains as KWBE station manager.
Charlie Brogan, renown Nebraska broadcaster became Sales Manager for the station until April, 2008. Brogan did the morning drive time news on KLIN, Lincoln via ISDN line from Beatrice during those years as well. Jay Stalder was the station manager, reporting to Mark Halverson, who was the General Manager in Lincoln for Triad until the sale of the stations to NRG Media.
December, 2007- Sold to NRG Media (Mary Quass, President) as part of a group that includes Lincoln area stations, KLIN/1400, KFGE/98.1, KLNC/105.3, KBBK/107.5 for $17.5 million. Buyer already owns Lincoln-licensed KLTQ 101.9 targeting the Omaha market along with six other stations in the NRG-Omaha group. Station drops ABC Information network, but keeps CBS and Westwood One.
April, 2008-NRG Media Spins off KWBE to Rick Siebert for $650,000. Siebert owns KGMT 1310AM and KUTT 99.5FM in Fairbury.
July, 2015- KWBE is sold to Flood Communications of Beatrice, LLC along with KUTT/99.5 Fairbury-Beatrice and KGMT/1310 Fairbury for $7 million. The stations serve an area south of Lincoln and will be sisters to Flood’s groups in the Nebraska City/Omaha and Norfolk areas. The company is also in the process of buying low-power TV stations in Beatrice, Columbus, Norfolk, Grand Island and Hastings.
April, 2016- FM translator for KWBE is added, K234CW, 94.7, 250 watts on the AM tower. New low-power TV station KWBE-LD/21 (Beatrice) signs on as the third independent local TV news station operated by Flood Communications under the News Channel Nebraska branding. Antenna is located on the AM tower.