1620 AM, Bellevue (Omaha)
First Air Date: May 30, 1999
Operating Power: 10,000 watts days, 1,000 watts nights
Original Call Letters: KAZP
Network Affiliation: ESPN
General Manager: Marty Riemenschneider
Program Director: Neil Nelkin
Sales Manager: Dan Charleston
Chief Engineer: Allen Sherrill
Date of FCC Issue: 1999
Issued To: Mitchel Broadcasting Company of Iowa (John C. Mitchell)
Through the Years
May 30, 1999- KAZP signs on with studios at 1001 Farnam on the Mall, Omaha, co-located with KKAR, KOIL and KQKQ. Transmitter location is at 60th & Harrison Street at co-owned KKAR 1290 site, employing a combiner to use KKAR’s center tower. Initially programming consists of simulcasting the Sports format airing on co-owned KOIL 1180 AM. 1180 license to be surrendered after 5 years. Branded as “Omaha’s ESPN 1620.”
September, 1999- Station continues sports and ESPN affiliation after KOIL changes format.
Morning show with Mike “The Animal” Steele and John “Louie” Desjardins from 5-9 AM, “The Fabulous Sports Babe” from ABC Radio from 9am-1pm.
The long-running Unsportsmanlike Conduct show begins in afternoon from 3-6pm with hosts Kevin Kugler and Bob Bruce. Replaced the Gary Java Show featuring Gary Java and Randy Ecker.
October, 2001- KAZP call letters are changed to KOZN, The Zone.
January, 2002- Station is sold to Waitt Broadcasting as part of the Mitchell group sale for $36.6 million. Studios are moved to 50th & Capitol Streets, Omaha.
Moved broadcasts of the College World Series from KKAR to KOZN. KKAR had been originating game broadcasts for CBS Radio Sports after assuming rights from Creative Sports Network (CSN) of Conway, Arkansas.
KOZN begins originating and producing the College World Series games for national distribution by Dial Global, later Westwood One, becoming Sports Director Kevin Kugler’s first national work.
Matt Schick joins the Zone from KETV with Nick Bahe. “Schick & Nick” debuts in morning drive.
Waitt Broadcasting merges with the New Radio Group, forming NRG Media (Cedar Rapids, IA) under President Mary Quass.
The Zone airs Omaha Nighthawks football for two years until the United Football League folds in 2012.
Sports Director Kevin Kugler leaves for the Big Ten Network and Westwood One. ESPN is dropped in favor of Fox Sports Radio. KLIN’s John Bishop joins Mike’l Severe, replacing Kevin Kugler on “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” from 2-6pm.
Gary Sharp joins station as Sports Director and begins Sharp & Peter in the Morning with Jason Peter” morning show with former Husker Jason Peter.
Husker running back Damon Benning replaces Jason Peter, joining Gary Sharp.
August, 2012- Big Red Over-Reaction call-in show begins, following Husker Football games.
All sports programming on the station becomes local from 6am-6pm Monday-Friday.
Gary Sharp moves to middays. Mike’l Severe joins Damon Benning in mornings. Josh Peterson joins John Bishop in afternoons.
KOZN, The Zone celebrates its 20th anniversary.
Conner Hoppen joins from the Ticket in Lincoln for mid-days. Gary Sharp joins Damon Benning in mornings. Mike’l Severe leaves.