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780 AM, Norfolk

City of License: Norfolk

First Air Date: July 26,1922

Original Call Letters: WJAG

Date of FCC Issue: July, 1922

Issued To: Norfolk Daily News

Through the Years

  • 1912

    The late Editor and Publisher of the Norfolk Daily News, Gene Huse became interested in radio and built the first radio receiver in his basement as a hobby.

  • 1922

    In July of 1922, WJAG was granted its first federal license.  The first WJAG studio was in the Norfolk Daily News Building.  The first 3 1/2 years WJAG was operated largely without advertising revenue.  Not until February of 1926 did WJAG accept any paid advertising dollars.

    1922-1934 Karl Steffen was the first Chief Announcer and Noon Newscaster.  Karl’s “Noon Program” over WJAG found a majority of Northeast Nebraska families at their radio set to hear the noon news, the markets, Cradle Roll and Hospital Reports.  Mr. Stefan was a Nebraska Congressman from 1934 to 1951.

    In the early years Mr. Huse and Karl Stefan arranged to furnish radios to shut-ins who at last found regular instant contact with the outside world.

    Operated at 1060 KC from 1922-1940.

  • 1926

    “Cradle Roll” a WJAG feature was introduced to greet local infants.

    In the early days broadcasting at 780 AM was a country music format and could be heard as far away as California, Florida and Texas.

  • 1927

    Norfolk Daily News publisher and owner of WJAG, Gene Huse hired Harry Burke as the station’s first full time manager.

  • 1930

    Beginning in the ’30s, the WJAG studio was located on the mezzanine of the old Hotel Norfolk on the corner of 4th & Norfolk Ave.

    Ted Bandelin replaced Harry Burke as manager, who left Norfolk to work at WOW, Omaha.

  • 1931

    Lutheran Hour first broadcast.

  • 1932

    Ted Bandelin departed WJAG and was replaced by a long-time acquaintance of Gene Huse, Art Thomas, who would oversee station operations for nearly 20 years.

  • 1934

    The WJAG print ad for the children’s program.  The letters stood for “With Joy And Gladness”.

    During the drought and depression, WJAG acted as a clearing house for farmers with livestock feed and producer that had stock but no forage.  Another list matched farmers who needed to move their stock to locations with sufficient fodder.

  • 1940

    Norfolk Hatchery “Lucky Chick” was aired.

    Operated at 1090kc from 1941-1942.

  • 1944

    “Back to the Bible” was first broadcast.

    The disastrous downtown flood of 1944 forced a station move to a building at 6th & Norfolk Avenue.

    June 6, 1944- Petition to change frequency to 780 kc-  still broadcasts at 780 am daytime.

  • 1946

    “Voice of the People” was first broadcast.

  • 1950

    One of WJAG’s most popular programs “The Mary Moore Show” was a daily show devoted to housewives.

  • 1951

    1951 was the first WJAG state fair caravan traveling to Lincoln- 150 passengers on 4 buses.

    Robert E. “BT” Thomas replaces Art Thomas as General Manager.

  • 1952

    By 1952, over 2500 Cradle Roll cars a year were being sent to babies in Nebraska, South Dakota, Iowa and Kansas.

  • 1955

    WJAG moved into its present building at 309 West Braasch Avenue.

  • 1961

    Gene Huse passed away and was succeeded by his son Eugene (Jerry) Huse.

  • 1971

    In August of 1971, WJAG FM (106.7) went on the air.

  • 1979

    WJAG-FM changed call letters to KEXL FM.

  • 1980

    From 1980-1981, the present building had a total renovation.

  • 1984

    KEXL FM went to a 24 hour operation.

  • 1985

    In January 1985, Robb Thomas, the 3rd generation of the Thomas family became General Manager of both WJAG & KEXL.

  • 2007

    October of 2007, former station sales manager Brad Hughes was named General Manager/Vice President.  Sally Lewis named General Sales Manager.

  • 2008

    WJAG-FM (105.9) began broadcasting, becoming one of the first 24 hour FM’s for a daytime only AM.  And the state’s first fiber optic delivered stations.

  • 2009

    In November 2009, KEXL moved from 106.7 to 97.5 and became LiteRock 97.5

    December of 2009, KQKX/106 KIX took to the air as a 24 hour Country Music Station.

  • 2014

    WJAG became an affiliate for the Kansas City baseball team.

  • 2015

    Jeffrey Steffen named General Manager, replacing Bradley Hughes.