|City of license||West Fargo, North Dakota|
|Branding||Willie @ 1660|
|Slogan||Country Legends Live Here!|
|Frequency||1660 kHz AM stereo|
|First air date||1960s (as KUTT at 1550)|
|Power||10,000 watts (day)
1,000 watts (night)
|Former callsigns||KUTT (1960-1965)
KQJD (2000-sign off of 1550 KHz)
|Former frequencies||1550 kHz (1960-2000)|
|Owner||Radio FM Media
(Radio Fargo-Moorhead, Inc.)
|Sister stations||K233CY, KBVB, KPFX, KLTA-FM, KQWB-FM, KBMW, W245CM|
KQWB (1660 AM kHz) is a radio station located in Fargo, North Dakota (licensed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to adjacent West Fargo, North Dakota), owned by Jim Ingstad's Radio FM Media, airing a Classic Country format with the moniker "Willie 1660".
KUTT went on the air in March 1960 at 1550 kHz as a Top 40 format owned by Music Broadcasters. The original signal was 5kW daytime only, with its transmitter on Old Highway 75 north of Moorhead, and original studios in Downtown Fargo. The station was bought in 1965 by Midwest Radio and the station's call letters changed to KQWB (inspired by KDWB in Minneapolis).
In 1975, KQWB was granted a construction permit to add a 5kW nighttime signal from the site of KQWB-FM north of Glyndon, while keeping its daytime signal from the transmitter North of Moorhead. The North Moorhead location later became home to their studio 1978 and remained their home until moving into the WDAY building in 1997. Later in 1978, KQWB was granted a daytime power increase to 10kW from the Glyndon transmitter.
As Top 40 stations across the US moved to FM in the 1980s, KQWB transitioned to an Adult Standards format. KQWB maintained that operation until being sold to Ingstad Broadcasting in 1995. The station flipped to a sports format and changed its call letters to KQFN ("The Fan"). In 1996, the station reverted to the KQWB call letters, airing an easy listening format as "Star 1550".
Move from 1550 to 1660
In 2000, the station switched from 1550 kHz to 1660 kHz. The 1550 kHz night pattern at this point consisted of 5 towers and was difficult and expensive to maintain. KQWB was granted a construction permit for 10 KW day and 1 KW night (both non-directional) on 1660 kHz, and the station officially made the switch in September 2000.
The easy listening format was switched to a full-time talk format in 2003 as "Talk Radio 1660", with the lineup made up of mostly syndicated conservative talk programming, as well as CNN News Radio. The Ed Schultz Show was added to the lineup in 2006, after being removed from KFGO.
1660 ESPN (2007-2012)
On April 23, 2007, the station returned to an all-sports format, this time affiliating with ESPN, and adopting the name "1660 ESPN". In addition to ESPN programming the station carried the "Sports Talk with Joe (Soucheray) and Pat (Reusse)", "Garage Logic", and "Saturday Sports Talk" programs from its Twin Cities sister-ESPN affiliate KSTP. When CNN Radio shut down on April 1, 2012, KQWB replaced it with NBC Radio
True Oldies 1660 (2012-2014)
On April 20, 2012 at 6 PM, KQWB dropped ESPN for the The True Oldies Channel, "dedicated to honoring the greatest Rock & Roll music ever recorded." True Oldies 1660 continued to cover Concordia and Moorhead High School football, basketball, and hockey games during the school year. In September 2013, Radio FM Media began to operate KZDR-FM through a JSA with Mediactive, LLC and launched as "92.7 The Drive" with a classic hits format that, in a way, competed with True Oldies 1660. This was a non-issue, however, as other plans were in store for KQWB.
Willie @ 1660 (2014-present)
On April 21, 2014, at Noon, after playing "Take a Chance" by ABBA, KQWB flipped from True Oldies to a Classic Country format under the moniker "Willie 1660". The first song on "Willie" was "Mama Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys" by Willie Nelson. The station is jukebox style, with core artists including George Strait, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Waylon Jennings, Garth Brooks, and Kenny Rogers.
AM Stereo and HD Simulcast
In the 1980s KQWB added AM Stereo to the station, becoming the only station in the Fargo market to ever do so. After a studio move in 1997, KQWB was forced to turn off AM Stereo due to the station inability to get two audio channels to the transmitter. The capability to broadcast in AM Stereo was retained when the station moved from 1550 kHz to 1660 kHz in 2000, but was never turned back on due to only having one channel audio at the transmitter site.
In October 2014, sister station KBVB became the first commercial station in the market in the market to broadcast in HD. A few weeks later after the launch of HD1 and HD2 on KBVB, HD3 began simulcasting KQWB. A few weeks later in November 2014, KQWB began broadcasting in AM Stereo once again, with the AM signal being fed by KBVB-HD3.
Music Broadcasters signed on KQWB in 1960. The station was sold to Midwest Radio in 1965 and they remained the owner until 1995 when brothers Jim and Tom Ingstad bought KQWB and KQWB-FM (now KLTA).
On November 30, 2012, Triad Broadcasting signed a Definitive Agreement to sell all 32 of their stations to Larry Wilson's L&L Broadcasting for $21 Million. Upon completion of the sale on May 1, 2013, L&L in turn sold the Fargo stations to Jim Ingstad, who had just sold his competing cluster to Midwest Communications. An LMA (Local Marketing Agreement) was place so Ingstad could take immediate control of the stations, and the sale became final July 2, 2013. The sale was worth $9.5 million. This is now the second time Jim Ingstad has owned KQWB.
- "KQWB History Cards". 1980-01-01.
- Persons, M.W. (2002-11-09). "An AM Expanded-Band Success Story in Fargo". M.W. Persons.
- Ellis, Jon (2007-04-20). "April 2007 news". Northpine Broadcasting News.
- Holmes, Alisa (1999-05-24). "Changing Hands". Broadcasting & Cable.
- "Triad Sells To Larry Wilson's L&L". All Access. 2012-12-03.
- "Shuffle puts former KFGO owner in charge of longtime competitors". Fargo Forum. 2013-05-02.
- Query the FCC's AM station database for KQWB
- Radio-Locator Information on KQWB
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for KQWB