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Nebraska Radio History Archive Presentation:

The Little Station That Could....

The natives were restless...after all, someone had just stolen Crete's radio station and moved it to the big city!  

Before it's move to Lincoln, Crete's home town station was KTAP at 103.9. The first owners were a group from Columbus calling themselves Airwaves Broadcasting Services Inc. The first general manager was Walt Chockley, who was known as Scotty Holiday on his wild morning show, "Scotty on The Potty...Brushin' and Flushin'." The format started out as AC, going to AOR after 6:00 PM with "Garry Lee (Rice)  in your night time, rockin' your sox 'till midnight." Sundays feature was Hank and Helen Zahorik from Dorchester doing the Polka show from 10 to 2.  

In 1975 the station was sold to Don Robson, Bill Whitlock ( who were the principals of City and Farm Broadcasting, owners of K-TTT Radio in Columbus) Joe Stavas, it's General Manager and Ron Kruse, it's Sales Manager.  They hired Walt Chockley as the General Manager of KTAP.   Bill Whitlock thought that people would associate K-Tap with taping your toes to the music. The station was in a downward spiral from the moment its doors opened and Chockley was soon fired and replaced by another General Manager. 

Whitlock and Robson approached Jim Jaworski (from sister KTTT) and asked if he would consider going to Crete and reprogramming the station more like K-TTT...getting its advertising sales moving for a period of three months until they could hire another General Manager. After three months Jaworski was offered 1/5th of the station to stay on board. He agreed and became an equal partner. 

Two years later the station was for sale, but Jaworski stepped in and with the help of Tom Aron and Dick Sinkule of the Crete State Bank, was able to purchase the station.  They ran a contest for what KTAP stood for and the winning entree was "Key To Area Progress". 

KTAP's Polka DJ's included Joe Zumpf and later Elmer Niemec. Under While known for it's Polka Music, Jaworski was able to take the station into the black with Country music format, local markets and local news. 

 On April 1st of 1984 Mel Gleason  bought the station and  the call letters were changed to KBVB (Blue Valley Broadcasting). Mel brought in Harvey Watson to manage the station. Shortly after, Mel died and wife Louise took over.   Harvey quit and went back to work at KFOR.   

By 1988 KBVB was up for sale again.  According to former employees of the station, the instant the ink was dry, one of the brothers that bought the place (The Agnew's), walked into the studio, shut the song off in midstream, then announced that the station was leaving the air.  He then fired the entire staff, and that was the end of commercial radio in Crete. 

Officially, KBVB was taken off the air in March of 1988 in order to move to a new tower site and relocate the studio's. According to FCC documents vandalism on the old equipment was partially blamed for being off the air.  In the process, new call letters were applied for as well as a power upgrade and frequency change. 

In the fall of 1988 KKNB at 104.1 went on the air. As with the hometown Crete station, there were still no rules…...in a different way.   Their mission was to put a dent in the high profile pop station, KFRX.  Somewhat successful, they took the popular "commercial/clutter free"  "more music/less talk" approaches to lure listeners.  

When they did talk, watch out!  The management let them push the envelope. If you could look at the old 'public files' you would see the steady stream of incoming mail from listeners.
B-104 got off the ground quite nicely but never really took off as a strong Top-40 station.   The revised their format to a less aggressive pop style delivery and offered Lincoln their first taste of Alternative in a commercial format.  At the time there were not many of these, and the "Planet" gained a small but loyal following.  The format suffered a blow in 1995 when "The Edge" (a 100,000 watt blowtorch) signed on in the Lincoln/Omaha Market (See KFMQ history). 

 As the Edge was signing on, Dave Douglas (The Planet's Program Director) may have looked a bit frightened.  He soon moved to another market.  It wasn't until Triathlon Broadcasting took over The Planet (and their sister KIBZ - The Blaze) in 1996 that they abandoned the Planet and got to the Point.
The Point was an experiment of sorts.  Triathlon linked KKNB, which covered only Lincoln and their new lower power FM aquisition in Omaha KTNP (Formerly 93 K-ROCK).  In the beginning, The Point Music selections and Format were "mirrored" by both stations, each run from their perspective markets (and therefore not a true simulcast).  Each had their own live local morning show and shared advertising and promotion.  Television commercials advertised both stations ..."In Omaha, The Point is 93.3...In Lincoln, The Point is 104.1".
In March of 1998 KKNB's transmitter took a nasty jolt and pretty much blew up.  A new state of the art transmitter was ordered.  This small blessing gives the Point a little better (stable) coverage in and around Lincoln.  1998 also brought a new competitor to Omaha's Point with "Star 104.5" and the stations slowly separated their mirror images to concentrate on their individual markets.

Thanksgiving week of 2000 brought an entire facelift to 104.1.  Modern Alternative wasn't a strong format and while the controversial "Brady Goodman Show" brought The Point a needed ratings boost, the management saw a new vision for KKNB.  With the backing of Clear Channel (their new owner),  stunting with repeats of "You're a mean one, Mr. Grench", playing the Nebraska fight song backward and forward, plus cryptic announcements invited listeners to "tune in at 8:00, Friday morning".  The result was the all new KISS 104 FM.  Once again, KFRX had competition.

 

 

 AUDIO ARCHIVE  

An Original "B-104" Sweeper  

An Original B-104 Jingle

KISS 104 Launch

Amidst a barrage of format changes and rumors of other format changes in March of 2004, Clear Channel opted to move the successful "Blaze" format from 106.3 to 104.1.  The idea was to move a successful format to the 'cursed' frequency and put something new on the 100,000 watt 106.3 signal.  On March 17th, at midnight, a simulcast began on both signals, with an invitation to "Move to 104.1".  At noon Friday, March 19th, The Blaze became 104 1 The Blaze, and 106.3 began stunting with "construction" noises and liners reminding listeners to move to 104 1 for the Blaze. 

Despite the increase in power, transmitting from Hallum (the same tower KTGL and KUCV broadcast from) and a coverage map showing a 'city grade' signal in Lincoln, the station remains difficult to receive in many locations in Lincoln.    Clear Channel and Elliott Broadcast Services have given the station the best possible sound that can be expected in Lincoln.  The signal can be heard in it's fullness for miles in any other direction.  

Apparently the reception problem stems from a mathematical anomaly due to the placement of a shared radio tower near 48th & Vine.  Four stations (2AM and 2 FM) are on this tower.  The combination of two of the frequencies (1400AM and 102.7 FM) creates a spike or null at 104.1.  (Note:  There are no FCC violations here, it's simply a phenomenon caused by the tower, which would probably go unnoticed were it out in a cornfield instead of the center of Lincoln.  104.1 is not licensed to Lincoln, therefore the stations in Lincoln can't be held liable for this natural interference).

 


This site is part of the historical review of Nebraska Radio Stations at NebraskaRadio.com and is not operated by KISS 104 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!

NOTE:  MAIL DOES NOT GO TO THE RADIO STATION