96.1 FM, Omaha
First Air Date: September, 1959
Operating Power: 3,500 Watts
Original Call Letters: KCOM
Date of FCC Issue: 1959
Issued To: Delta Broadcasting System
Through the Years
Prior to 1959, 96.1 FM had a rocky history. Initially, the station was licensed to Council Bluffs, IA, and had the call letters KFAM, but eventually went dark.
In September 1959, KCOM signed on with 3,500 watts on a 60 foot tower on top of the Rorick Apartments, 604 South 22nd Street in Omaha, NE, which was owned by two hobbyist-types Edward Pontes and Dale Applegate, forming the Delta Broadcasting system. Broadcast schedule was from 5-11pm.
January, 1960- Station is sold to Central States Broadcasting, headed by Don Burden, a subsidiary of Star Stations, for $25,000, and begins a mono simulcast of c0-owned KOIL AM 1290’s Top 40 format.
February, 1960- Call letters are changed from KCOM to KOIL-FM.
Call letters are changed to KICN. Although simulcast with KOIL 1290 AM, the KICN call letters were being reserved from Burden’s Denver property on 710AM that didn’t succeed and was sold off.
Station power is increased to 100,000 watts, but the transmitter location remains atop the Rorick Apartment Building, 22nd and St. Mary’s Avenue, 230 feet above average terrain.
The call letters are changed back to KOIL-FM and the station begins stereo operation with a 24-hour Beautiful Music format.
Station moves to the new Star Stations Building, 8901 Indian Hills Drive, along with co-owned KOIL 1290AM and other Don Burden enterprises, including Bridal Fair.
April, 1974- Station changes calls to KEFM, Easy FM. The format flips to soft standards with live announcers and ABC News.
Format adjustment to Pop/Country.
September 1976- the station is silenced by the FCC along with Burden’s other stations for alleged misconduct.
December 1976- Station returns to the air under Beneficial Broadcasting (Nathan Novak), with the permanent licensee to be determined, with the resurrected automated Beautiful Music format.
September, 1978- Station format flips to automated Country, with a live morning show and is branded as New Country 96.
February, 1980- Station format flips to Top 40, 96 One, with live personalities and RKO Network.
That same year, the station is off the air for two days from a storm toppling the 60-foot tower atop the Rorick Apartments. It returns to the air with a temporary 35-foot mast and reduced power of 9,000 watts.
January, 1981- With no money for a new tower, the station is voluntarily silenced.
License is awarded to Webster-Baker Broadcasting (John & William Webster, Joe Baker).
October, 1983- KEFM returns to the air with studios at 105 South 70th Street and tower atop the City National Bank Building at 16th & Harney in Omaha. Format is automated Beautiful Music.
September, 1984- Station switches format to soft rock and live personalities as Lite 96.
The transmitter location is moved to the KPTM tower between Omaha and Lincoln at 1,486 feet. The syndicated Pillow Talk evening show begins its 10-year run.
Dwight Lane is hired as Program Director, and later to the station manager position in 2003.
The format is adjusted to Hot Adult Contemporary as Mix 96.
Station is sold to Clear Channel Communications for $10.5 million, the last locally owned, stand-alone commercial FM station. Dwight Lane is retained as Program Director.
The transmitter is moved from the KPTM tower to the TV antenna farm at 72nd & Crown Point, Omaha.
September 22, 2005- Clear Channel’s attempts to rebuild the slow erosion of KEFM’s audience failed and at 5a.m. an “All Christmas” format was launched as a a stunt. The next afternoon at 4:00pm , KEFM flipped to a classic rock format as “The Brew” using the calls KQBW.
October 4, 2005- KQBW debuted its on -air lineup, initially with The Morning Brew with Mookie & Michelle, “Crash” Davis middays, “Steve -O” afternoons and Lucy Chapman, nights.
September 2, 2012- KQBW changed its format to Top 40 as “96-1 KISS FM” Simultaneously, the “Brew” name and format moved to Clear Channels HD2 channel.
September 12, 2012- KQBW changed call letters to KISO to match the “KISS FM” moniker.
November 11, 2014- the HD subchannel was re-launched as “Christmas 94.9”
December 26, 2014- The HD 2 signal, simulcast on translators 94.9 K235CD and 102.3 K272FE (as well as the latter frequency being simulcasted on 93.3-HD2), flipped to mainstream rock as “Rock 94.9/102.3”.