KFYR (AM)

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KFYR
KFYR logo
City of license Bismarck, North Dakota
Broadcast area Bismarck-Mandan
Branding KFYR 550 AM
Slogan The Voice of the Northern Plains
Frequency 550 kHz
Translator(s) 99.7 K259AF (Bismarck)
First air date 1925
Format Commercial; News/Talk
Power 5,000 watts
Class B
Facility ID 41426
Callsign meaning

pronounced as K-Fire

Also alludes to founder Phillip (F = Ph) J. MeYeR
Affiliations Fox News/Citadel
Owner Clear Channel Communications
Sister stations KBMR, KQDY, KSSS, KXMR, KYYY
Webcast Listen Live
Website kfyr.com

KFYR (550 AM) is a radio station located in Bismarck, North Dakota, owned by Clear Channel Communications. It transmits on a 5,000 Watt signal that can be heard in seven U.S. states and three Canadian provinces. KFYR also broadcasts on translator K259AF (99.7 FM) in Bismarck. 99.7 FM was previously a simulcast of KQDY 94.5 FM before 2011.

KFYR boasts an enormous coverage area. It can be heard across almost all of North Dakota during the day, as well as in parts of Minnesota, South Dakota, Montana, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Nebraska. This owes to a combination of its position only one channel from the bottom of the North American AM dial, transmitter power and North Dakota's flat land. On the AM band, lower frequencies have longer waves, which tend to travel farther across terrain. This is especially true for stations that operate at 5,000 watts or more. Additionally, the flat landscape of the prairies makes for near-perfect ground conductivity. It has been claimed that KFYR has the largest land coverage area in the United States of any AM radio station during daytime hours. A similar claim can be made for WNAX (AM) in Yankton, South Dakota, which transmits on 570AM.

History[edit]

KFYR was founded in 1925 by Phillip J. Meyer and his wife, Etta Hoskins Meyer. It is Bismarck's oldest radio station. For many years, it was an NBC radio affiliate. In December 1953 it spawned a television station (KFYR-TV, western North Dakota's NBC television affiliate, and its three semi-satellites) and in 1966, KFYR-FM at 92.9 (now KYYY) began operation. At one time, the roster also included AM radio stations in Billings and Great Falls, MT. The station group was known as "The Meyer Broadcasting Company" and remained under the ownership of the Meyer family until 1998.

KFYR began operation with programming for only a few hours daily, signing off between shows. By 1950, the station had expanded its schedule to an 18 hour broadcast day. Early programming included live studio musicians, transcribed music and programs, and live feeds from the NBC Radio Network. Many popular "soap operas", sporting events, religious broadcasts, children's programs, and musical performances were part of the regular schedule. The station carried NBC's "Monitor" on weekends, and "Nightline" on weeknights. Other programming included local news, weather, and sports, locally originated variety programs such as "What's The Weather" weekday mornings and "The Northwest Farmfront" weekdays at noon. Mike Dosch, an established musician from Strasburg, ND (Lawrence Welk's hometown) was featured on several of the live shows and had his own late-night program of organ music for many years. There were also shows hosted by staff announcers who played recorded popular music by such artists as Nat King Cole, Doris Day, The Ames Brothers, Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians, and orchestras including Mantovani, Percy Faith, and Frank Chacksfield.

Facing stiff competition from less formal local stations along with regional outlets in Fargo, Minot, and Jamestown, ND and Winnipeg, Canada, KFYR began to see its dominance and audience decline in the early 1960s and switched to a Top 40 format. It was very popular with teenagers by virtue of its "torrid twenty" countdown show, which featured the twenty popular hits of the week. In the 1960s and 1970s, teenagers from South Dakota to parts of Canada enjoyed listening to "their" music on KFYR every evening (along with KOMA from Oklahoma City, KAAY from Little Rock, WLS from Chicago, and KSTP from St Paul).

KFYR gained brief national notoriety in 1979, when it was sued in Federal Court by the Pointer Sisters and Elektra Records, for taking the liberty of having the Pointer Sisters' current hit, the Bruce Springsteen penned "Fire", re-dubbed so that the Sisters appeared to be singing "K-Fire" on the chorus; the suit was settled out of court.

KFYR was revamped in the late 1990s and since then has broadcast a variety of programming, with news and talk radio during the day, and classic rock and oldies music during the evening. KFYR broadcasts all of the North Dakota State University football games as well as local high school sports.

Translator[edit]

KFYR also broadcasts on the following FM translator:

Call sign Frequency
(MHz)
City of license ERP
W
Class FCC info
K259AF 99.7 Bismarck, North Dakota 50 D FCC

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 46°51′12″N 100°32′37″W / 46.85333°N 100.54361°W / 46.85333; -100.54361