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Lost Radio Stations


The Lost Radio Stations

Every so often a radio station disappears.  Often there isn't much fanfare but occasionally there's a good story behind the casualty, especially when the station was a dominant player at some time in it's history.  This page is an attempt to preserve the history of these Lost Radio Stations.

690 AM - KUSD (Vermillion, SD)

One of the nations first stations, KUSD began as an experimental station by the University of South Dakota  in May of 1922.  Full time operation commenced in 1924 as WEAJ.  The call letters KUSD were granted in October of 1925 and a rich history of educational programming for South Dakota was underway.

The last incarnation of KUSD began in 1952 when they signed on at 690AM from a two tower directional array at 1,000 watts.  The station was daytime only, a popular designation for todays dead radio stations.  

In 1967 FM sisters became part of KUSD and a foundation for a developing public radio network for South Dakota.

Programming on AM continued until December of 1992 when a Chevy Suburban took out one of the towers. The driver was caught and prosecuted, but the station was unable to collect a large enough settlement from his insurance carrier to build a new tower.  The damages recovered were allocated  to purchase FM translators in three underserved areas of the state.
A little over a year passed with KUSD operating under Special Temporary Authority.  The powers that be voted to pull the plug in mid 1994.  It wasn't until 1998 that the remaining Windcharger Company tower was removed for safety reasons.

Read an in depth history of KUSD and the South Dakota Public Radio Network Here

Scott Fybush has a picture of the tower before it was dismantled.

1530 AM - KLOL/KECK/KHAT (Lincoln, NE)

There's a little house South of Lincoln along Yankee Hill Road with a sign on the room.  A portion has the numbers "1530", but that's not the address.

KHAT 1530 was the last station in Lincoln to broadcast from their transmitter site.  The station began in 1965 as KLOL playing young, rising stars like Dolly Parton, Buck Owens and Glen Campbell.  .  The format wasn't so much "Country" as it was an MOR format appealing to adults.  Programs like "Woman's World" and "Trading Post" were part of the broadcast day.  

The 5000 watt signal went half way to the Oklahoma border, but was required to null it's pattern toward Omaha which created problems as Lincoln expanded Eastward.  Another drawback to KECK was it's daytime only license with no pre-sunrise authority.  Eventually KECK would get authorizaton for 700 watts from 6am to sunrise, but no post sunset authority.  The owners realized they needed an FM station which the FCC authorized at 106.3 with an ERP of 3,000 watts.  

In the 1970's KECK was Lincoln's country radio station . Air personalities included Keith Cornelius, Billy Egr, Ray Kresha, Dave Kaye and Larry Reed.  Bruce Dillman was program director and Fred Scott was general manager.  Keck was known for their " PROUD COUNTRY FESTIVAL" which  featured popular acts like Ferlin Husky, Susan Raye, Nat Stuckey, Billy "Crash" Craddock and Tanya Tucker.  The festivals were held downtown.  At some point, KECK's FM would become KHAT.

In 1986 TM Communications of Dallas purchased KECK and KHAT and put a former KOIL (Omaha) FM GM in charge named Dan Charleston   The P.D. was Steve Elliott (KGOR) who also handled morning show duties.  "Coach" Klein was the mid-day personality and Keith Cornelius (now doing mornings on KZKX) was heard in PM Drive.  Kay West covered the Evenings.  

Soon after TM purchased KECK & KHAT, the Call Signs of KECK were dropped and 1530 began simulcasting KHAT-FM's Adult Contemporary Format.   TM President and CEO Patrick Shaughnessy left TM in 1987 and took KHAT with him under the name of Marathon Communications.   

In 1990, after reasonable success with an Adult Contemporary format KHAT  was sold and a brand new format was brought to Lincoln.  MIX 106  had arrived and KHAT's AM frequency became an Adult standards format.

While many of Lincoln's veteran radio listeners enjoyed having a station that played their favorites, another fate would determine KHAT's destiny. The final days of KHAT-AM began when the Lincoln Electric System chose a route down Yankee Hill Road on the north edge of the 1530 tower site for a new primary feeder line. The owner of the station at that time, Harvey Tate, worked a settlement with L.E.S. where Tate was paid quite a bit of money to cover potential costs to move or re-tune the directional pattern of 1530.  

At nearly the same time, Harvey was interested in selling 106.3 and 1530. He entered into discussions with Doug Agnew (owner of KKNB 104.1) to sell 106.3. Doug didn't want the studios or land  on Yankee Hill Road. Instead, he wanted to move 106.3 to the new studio location of KKNB on South 48th near Highway 2.  Tate offered the KHAT license for $500 as part of the sale.  Harvey sold the land and the towers were removed by Tower Maintenance Company of Lincoln.

With local television media present, KHAT-AM was ceremoniously switched off the air forever on March 30, 1993 at High noon by personality Kathy Fife.
Agnew paid for a couple of engineering analyses and found very little possibility of making 1530 a night time station. He also filed for a move to the new expanded AM band, which was never approved.

In 1996 Doug Agnew sold 106.3 and the 1530 license to Triathlon Broadcasting. Shortly after the acquisition the FCC tightened up rules on dark stations. Triathlon lost the 1530 license when the FCC deadline on returning dark stations to the air expired and the station still did not have a transmitter site.  
At this time the frequency is available for anyone to apply for (or other stations on or near 1530 to increase their facilities). Because of the frequencies 'daytime only' status, it's highly unlikely Lincoln will ever see another station on the air at 1530 AM.