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Nebraska Radio History Archive Presentation:


For a station with a rocky history, 96.1 had become a successful cornerstone in Omaha radio for nearly two decades, before it joined the Clear Channel family.  Beginning in Council Bluffs, 96.1 would make it's biggest splash across the river.

Tthe change of city was made after a station known as KFAM had gone dark.  In 1959 a station known as KCOM surfaced at 96.1 when a couple of hobbyist-types used 96.1 to broadcast Classical Music, with an Omaha license. Their studios were in the Rorick Apartments with a tower on top of the building, where it remained through the Burden years until toppled in the 1980 storm.

During the Burden years KICN was the FM sister to  KOIL.  Although a simulcast with KOIL, The KICN call letters were being preserved from Burden's Denver property on 710 that didn't succeed and was sold off.  During this time 1290 KOIL was going through the roof as AM's heyday continued in Omaha radio.  

 In 1967 the call letters KOIL-FM were adopted.  A smart decision for a simulcast, right?  Not exactly.  With call letters now matching it's sister, KOIL-FM became one of the standard "Beautiful Music" formats  on  FM dials across the country.  It wasn't until 1974 that they would resume their own identity as KEFM.

In 1976 the Burden stations were shut down by the FCC, but KEFM resumed broadcasting in September of that same year, same Beautiful Music format.   Same month, two years later, KEFM flipped to "New Country".  By 1980 KEFM was positioning itself as "The One".  That same year KEFM's tower came crashing to the ground.

KEFM version 2.0....

It was a tedious task for Mr. Webster (Not the dictionary guy), but jumping though various hoops would pay off, and  in 1983 KEFM was back on the air, the beginning of a 20 year legacy for the Webster family.


A slight repositioning of "Lite 96" was made in the late 90's when the station became "Mix 96.1".   Then, when John Webster decided to get out of the radio business (Almost 20 years to the date of KEFM's ressurection) the sale of KEFM to Clear Channel was approved.  Webster would walk away wtih 10 million dollars.  Clear Channel  walk away with Omaha's last locally owned, stand alone FM station.

Clear Channel's attempts to rebuild the slow erosion of KEFM's audience failed, and on September 22nd, 2005 an "All Christmas" format was launched as a stunt (Though not unrealistic as KEFM had done an all Christmas music format prior to Thanksgiving in 2004).  

The next afternoon at 4:00pm, 96.1 KEFM became  "The Brew" using the calls KQBW.  

This site is part of the historical review of Nebraska Radio Stations at and is not operated by KQCH radio. We cannot answer questions about the station, take requests. Please call their studio line offices for assistance. If you have historical information you would like included on this site, E-MAIL ME!