KPLA (101.5 FM) refers to a Cumulus radio station in Columbia, Missouri. KPLA first started out as 101.7 KARO-FM, an "easy listening" station in February 1983. In 1986, it became known as K102. Then in 1994, it became KPLA and has consistently been a top-three radio station in the market, playing "soft rock." KPLA broadcasts from the highest tower in Columbia, Missouri, reaching 70 miles (110 km) within mid-Missouri. On a clear day, it is possible to hear the station on the Kansas Turnpike as far west as the Eastern Terminal Toll Plaza at milepost 217, which is 13 miles east of Lawrence.
Al Germond was responsible for engineering and applying for the 101.7 frequency for KARO-FM under the company name of Columbia FM.
In 1992, Al Germond and his business partners, John Ott and David Baugher, bought KFRU-AM under the company name of Columbia AM. Later came additional radio stations, including KBXR-FM 102.3, KOQL-FM 106.1, KJMO-FM, KLIK-AM, KBBM-FM and KZJF-FM, as well as ownership of the Columbia Business Times publishing products.
By February 2004, the company had become Premier Marketing Group and sold the radio stations to Cumulus Broadcasting for $38.75 million. Cumulus Broadcasting assumed operation on March 1, 2004.
Playing soft rock music from the 70s, 80s, 90s and 2K, KPLA remains one of the top-three radio stations in Columbia after 25 years on-the-air.
Notable weekday programming on the station includes "Chris and Monica in the Morning" co-hosted by Monica Senecal and 30-year radio veteran Chris Kellogg. Each weekday from 6:00 a.m. until 10:00 a.m., Chris & Monica share relateable experiences of their own lives and provide the latest news. KPLA listeners are regularly featured on the show with "KPLA Listener Talkback" and the daily "KPLA 5 Question Quiz."
Other weekday programming includes Rachel Marisay (formerly Rick Dees) from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.; "Tim Murphy in the afternoons" from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m; and syndicated host John Tesh from 7:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. (formerly Midnight to 6 a.m. before removal of Delilah). Syndicated host Delilah ran from 7:00 p.m. to Midnight until June 2010, when John Tesh was moved into the late evening timeframe. The 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. timeframe is now a dedicated music-only timeframe.
Weekend programming includes John Tesh episodes on Saturday mornings starting at 6 a.m. and going until 9 a.m. Saturday afternoons and evenings are dedicated music-only timeframes. Jim Brickman's "Your Weekend" airs Sunday Mornings from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. The station computer treats this as a music-only timeframe--Brickman's own playlist airs during this time, sometimes stopping/starting selections mud-song. Rick Dees "Top 40", based on Casey Kasem's "American Top 40" formerly aired during this timeframe. From 11 a.m to 7 p.m., the station returns to a music-only status. At 7 p.m., John Tesh airs, starting the cycle over again.
Sarah Hunter was part of the KPLA dating back to 1987 and the "K102" days of the radio station. She was co-host on the morning show with a variety of male counterparts, including J. R. Greely, Rob Carson, Tom Bradley and Kevin Hilley. Sarah retired from radio in May 2005.
Chris Kellogg's history as part of Columbia radio dates back to 1985 with the now silent 98.3 KFMZ. In November 1994, he was part of a new radio station in Columbia, KOQL 102.3, known as KOOL 102.3. NCD Broadcasting was the original company that started KOQL-FM under a local marketing agreement with KPLA's parent company. KOQL-FM was later bought by KPLA's parent company and in 2002, Kellogg was moved to middays on KPLA.
Tom Bradley's career in Columbia started with KTGR-AM when the radio station was broadcasting country music. After leaving the area in the 1980s, Tom returned to Columbia to launch KCLR-FM. He left KCLR for St. Louis and returned in 1994 to KPLA until 2002. He currently owns a marketing company and hosts the morning show on KSSZ-FM.
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Coordinates: 39°00′50″N 92°16′34″W / 39.014°N 92.276°W