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City of license Omaha, Nebraska
Broadcast area Omaha, Nebraska
Branding 96.1 KISS-FM
Slogan All the Hits
Frequency 96.1 MHz (also on HD Radio)
Translator(s) 94.9 K235CD (Omaha, relays HD2)
First air date 1976 (as KEFM)
Format Top 40/CHR
HD2: Rock "Rock 94.9"
ERP 82,000 watts
HAAT 331 meters
Class C0
Facility ID 71411
Former callsigns KEFM (1976-2005)
KQBW (2005-2012)
Owner iHeartMedia, Inc.
Webcast Listen Live
Listen Live (HD2)
Website (HD2)

KISO (96.1 KISS-FM) is a Top 40/CHR radio station in Omaha, Nebraska owned by iHeartMedia, Inc.. Until September 2, 2012, they were one of five radio stations that used "The Brew" branding, alongside sister stations in Oklahoma City, New Orleans, Columbus and Portland, Oregon. They were the second oulet to use the brand after WQBW/Milwaukee, who launched it in 2004, but in 2010 flipped to Top 40/CHR as WRNW.

KISO is licensed by the FCC to broadcast in the HD (hybrid) format.[1]

Station history[edit]

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 its biggest splash across the river.

The 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. With call letters now matching its sister, KOIL-FM became one of the standard "Beautiful Music" formats on FM dials across the country. It was not 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.

Version 2.0[edit]

It was a tedious task for Mr. Webster, 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 '90s 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 resurrection) the sale of KEFM to Clear Channel was approved. Webster left with 10 million dollars. Clear Channel obtained 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 22, 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.

KQBW flipped formats from the former AC station KEFM on September 24, 2005. The music centers mostly on 80s rock, with core artists like Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Van Halen and AC/DC, while flavoring the format with 70s bands such as Boston and Lynyrd Skynyrd and 90s music from acts like Stone Temple Pilots and Pearl Jam. They also feature a good helping of '80s pop-rock, such as John Cougar Mellencamp, Bryan Adams, and Pat Benatar.

96-1 The Brew debuted their on-air lineup on October 4, 2005. It consisted of "The Morning Brew with Mookie & Michelle" (5:30-10am), "Crash" Davis (10am-3pm), "Steve-O" (3–7 pm) and Lucy Chapman (7–11 pm). The Brew later rounded out their airstaff with weekenders Marty Simpson and "Bam-Bam".

Staples of the Brew included "6-Packs of Brew Music", "The 90s At Noon" and "The Friday Free-For-All".

On September 2, 2012, KQBW changed format to mainstream CHR as "96-1 KISS FM". Simultaneously, the "Brew" name and format moved to the KISO 99.1-2 HD2 channel. KQBW call letters updated to KISO September 12, 2012. On November 11, 2014, the HD2 subchannel re-launched as Christmas 94.9.

Evolution of The Brew[edit]

In January 2007, the Brew shuffled its lineup, moving Steve-O to middays, Crash Davis to evenings, and adding afternoon driver Ethan Stone and weekend talent Lester St. James, formerly of The Brew's rival, Z-92. St. James departed the station in the summer of 2007.

Also in January 2007, the station changed their positioning statement from "Everything Rock, the 80s and More" to "The Biggest Variety of Rock Hits", as the focus shifted toward a more expanded playlist of '90s and even early 2000s music, like Three Doors Down and Creed.

In February 2008, The Brew executed yet another airstaff change, shifting Ethan Stone to mornings (joining Michelle as "The New Morning Brew"), moving Mookie to middays, and Crash Davis to afternoons. Former middayer Steve-O made an unexplained departure.

External links[edit]


Coordinates: 41°18′32″N 96°01′34″W / 41.309°N 96.026°W / 41.309; -96.026