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|Broadcast area||The Twin Cities|
|Slogan||All The Hits (General)|
The Twin Cities #1 Hit Music Station (Secondary)
(also on HD Radio)
|First air date||August 1959 (as WPBC-FM)|
|Format||Top 40 (CHR)|
HD2: EDM "Pride Radio"
HD3: Country "The Bull"
|ERP||100,000 watts (main station)
32,540 watts (backup #1)2,500 watts (vertical) (backup #2)
|HAAT||315 m (1,033 ft) (main station)
251 meters (823 ft) (backup #1)36.6 meters (120 ft) (vertical) (backup #2)
|Callsign meaning||disambiguation of former Los Angeles sister station KFWB|
|Former callsigns||WPBC-FM (1959–1972)|
(AMFM Broadcasting Licenses, LLC)
|Sister stations||K244FE, K273BH, KEEY-FM, KFXN-FM, KQQL, KTLK, KTCZ-FM, W227BF|
KDWB-FM (101.3 FM) is an American commercial radio station broadcasting in the Twin Cities region of Minnesota, licensed to suburban Richfield. KDWB's radio format is Top 40/CHR. Its transmitter is located in Shoreview, while its studios are in St. Louis Park. The station is owned by iHeartMedia.
Between its AM and FM frequencies, KDWB has been an uninterrupted Top 40 outlet since 1959. Originally starting out at 630 kHz, the station's owners (Doubleday Broadcasting of Garden City, New York) purchased the 101.3 MHz frequency in 1976, later transferring the entire format there.
KDWB's origins on the AM dial date back to 1951, at 1590 kHz. The station began as a collaboration between three brothers who named it WCOW, and it played country western and old-time music. In the early days, WCOW, which was licensed to South St. Paul (its original city of license), signed on with a cowbell. The studios, transmitter, broadcast towers and offices were located at 255 Radio Drive South in Woodbury. In 1949, the three brothers, Al, Vic, and Nick Tedesco applied to the Federal Communications Commission for the purchase of WSHB in Stillwater. The application was approved and on March 15, 1949, WAVN in Stillwater signed on the air as a 5,000 watt non-directional day-timer with 500-watt pre-sunrise authority. The Tedesco brothers attempted to get into television on channel 17 the next year, but financial backing fell through. The channel 17 allocation was taken by Twin Cities Public Television in 1965. Since the initial purchase of WAVN in 1949, the Tedesco brothers acquired and/or sold several other radio stations, spanning over 50 years, sometimes with partners. On April 18, 1994, after 36 years, the 630 kHz frequency went dark. The owner, Midcontinent Media, sold the property. The state of the art facilities were dismantled, salvaged and/or destroyed to make room for the construction of the-then State Farm Insurance Companies regional headquarters.
WCOW was not very successful, so the station transitioned to being a female-oriented station including commercials aimed at its target audience, with a heavy saturation long term ad contract, with the call letters changing to WISK in 1957, and switched its frequency to 630 kHz the next year. Again, the format was not popular, and the station was soon sold the following year to Crowell-Collier Broadcasting Company, owners of KFWB in Los Angeles and KEWB in San Francisco. The top 40 format of those stations, with strong California/West Coast style influence, was brought to Minnesota, and the call letters changed to KDWB in 1959. "Channel 63, KDWB" then began its long uninterrupted run as a pop music station. It quickly became a major competitor to the established WDGY, which had been playing a pop music format for three years by that point. KDWB and WDGY were fierce rivals throughout the 1960s and 1970s. During the late '60s and early '70s, both stations gained more competition, as "Request Radio" AM 950 and FM 104.1 KRSI (1968), KSTP (1972), and WYOO (1974) picked up the format.
On-air staff and other programming
During the 1960s and 1970s, Program Director Chuck Blore referred to the seven air-shifts in 24 hours as "The 7 Swinging Gentlemen". They included:
Syndicated and/or non-local originating broadcasts included American Top 40 with Casey Kasem, which aired Sunday evenings, and for over ten years, it was the highest rated program in the Twin Cities market. Additional syndicated programming included "Jim Ladd's Innerview."
Program Directors included and Chuck Blore and Bob Shannon.
In March 1961, KDWB allegedly[by whom?] became the first station to have been fined by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). It apparently had to pay $10,000 because of repeated willful violations of nighttime broadcast power restrictions on the AM band.
History of 101.3 FM
After two years of wrangling and obtaining start-up funds, WPBC officially signed on the air on October 18, 1949. The station was owned by the People's Broadcasting Company, founded by former WCCO announcer Bill Stewart and his wife Becky Ann. In contrast to WCCO and KSTP, WPBC carried no network programming, and was broadcast live and local all day. The station in the early years played a variety of MOR pop music and standards, and was even considered an innovator in the concept of singing jingles.
As it was limited by its then daytime-only license at 980 AM, it started up WPBC-FM at 101.3 MHz in August 1959, simulcasting the AM station. The studios, transmitters (both AM and FM), towers and offices were located at the intersection of Cliff Road and Cedar Avenue (presently "Nichols Road"), in Eagan.
The Stewarts sold the stations in 1972 to Fairchild Industries for $1.5 million. Fairchild subsequently dismissed the entire staff and overhauled both stations. On November 3, 1972, the AM station was relaunched as WYOO, picking up an oldies format (with early rock 'n roll included). A few days later, WPBC-FM became WRAH and programmed an automated Album oriented rock (AOR) format. When the oldies format of WYOO started to slide in the ratings, more middle of the road (MOR) music was added, but ratings slid even further. Fairchild contemplated selling the station. The general manager (Mike Sigelman) and program director (Rob Sherwood), both hired from established Top 40 station KDWB, felt a major change needed to be made.
U100 was not to last forever. The AM dial in the Twin Cities was crowded with top 40 stations, with U-100, KDWB, WDGY and KSTP all fighting for the same audience. AM music stations also desired to transition to the increasingly popular FM dial. In early 1976, Fairchild Industries decided to put both stations on the market. Entertainment Communications, the owner of easy listening FM station WAYL, was interested in the AM station to simulcast WAYL's signal. The FCC rules in place for decades regarding ownership stipulated an owner/entity could not own more than one AM and one FM station (and one TV) in the same market at the time; Fairchild Industries needed to find a buyer for the FM station and sought out the owners of various AM stations in the area. Doubleday Broadcasting, owner of KDWB, wasn't actively seeking an FM station at the time, but offered to buy 101.3 FM in February 1976 after it was offered a rather generous deal that included WYOO-FM and the building in Eagan that housed both stations, for $750,000. KDWB's general manager at the time, Gary Stevens said, that it did not buy WYOO-FM to shut down a competitor, but rather to take advantage of what it saw as a good deal.
U100 signed off for the last time at midnight on September 15, 1976, and KDWB Program Director and morning personality Dave Thompson launched the KDWB AM/FM simulcast the following morning at 6:00 with "Bad Blood" by Neil Sedaka as the first song played following the pre-recorded piece announcing the change. Continuous AM and FM simulcasts in large markets (stations licensed to cities with populations over 100,000) were not allowed by the FCC since 1965. However, KDWB's simulcast was permitted under the terms, conditions and FCC rules of the time via a conditional waiver and a technicality: while the AM was licensed to St. Paul (a community of over 100,000), the FM's city of license (Richfield) did not have that large a population. The FCC deemed the request to be in the public interest; however, KDWB was required by the FCC to broadcast eight hours of separate FM non-simulcast public affairs programming per week, with a portion focused on Richfield (the FM's city of license). The public affairs programs were broadcast from the former WYOO studio B news room and master control board in Eagan.
Helped by the stereo simulcast on 101.3 FM, KDWB quickly regained its position as the dominant Top 40 station in the Twin Cities. Their fierce young rival, U100, was now gone. After a brief stint with a CHR/AOR hybrid as "Y-11," WDGY switched to a country format on September 2, 1977. KSTP began to lean Adult Top 40 during the late 1970s and evolved into a talk station by the early 1980s (as its music focus shifted to FM sister, KS95). By the end of the decade, KDWB was the only ongoing Top 40 station in town.
With the active competition gone, KDWB-FM split apart from the AM station's Top 40 simulcast in September 1979 and became a pop/rock hybrid as "K101 FM" with a new separate air-staff. K101 FM was met with mixed review and less than hoped for ratings in the Fall 1979 Arbitron ratings. KDWB management opted for a change, between the last week of December 1979 and New Year 1980, replacing the Program Director. The station immediately morphed into "KDWB Stereo 101, The Twin Cities Rockin' Best", then "KDWB Twin Cities' 101, The Home Of Rock 'N' Roll!", and then "Real Rock 101 KDWB", an AOR station designed to go up against KQ92 which had recently dumped its Freeform Rock presentation and adopted a stricter playlist in reaction to a drop in ratings. Stereo 101 would be successful in its four-year run, topping KQRS in the Arbitron ratings many times, but KQRS endured and prevailed. By summer 1983, Stereo 101 began to move from Album Rock to a pop/rock hybrid again, before evolving into its current CHR format by 1984. KDWB's AM signal continued with the Top 40 format during this time, although it softened to adult contemporary in 1984.
Back to Top 40
In December 1981, a serious new Top 40 competitor arrived in the Twin Cities. WLOL dropped its soft rock format and turned itself into a high-profile hit music station (heavy with power pop and new wave), immediately shooting to the top of the ratings. At the other end of the spectrum, KS95 was competing somewhat with its older-leaning soft rock format. WCCO-FM also briefly switched to Top 40. Meanwhile, 63 KDWB faded quickly in the ratings, as AM music stations were slowly becoming a thing of the past. To protect its heritage, take a chunk of WLOL's stellar ratings and finally make the move of its legendary station to the FM dial, KDWB-FM dropped AOR in early 1984 and reverted to the Top 40 simulcast as "The New KDWB FM 101" and then as "All Hit 101". Even though the AM station was running its own programming at times, in a role reversal, the FM signal was now deemed the priority, as 630 AM attained secondary status. The AM station continued with Top 40 through 1985, before it flipped to a separate Oldies format as "K63" in early 1986. In 1991, 630 AM took on the WDGY call letters of their former Top 40 rival on 1130 AM.
KDWB FM struggled for years against upstart market leader WLOL, which featured a fresher music selection, more popular DJs, and a highly rated morning show. KDWB was viewed by many as stuffy, stale, boring and misguided, and it went through several unsuccessful morning shows. It was argued by many that its promotions, music selection and on-air presentation paled in comparison to WLOL.
In 1988, newly hired program director Brian Phillips cleaned house, as he dismissed many of the air personalities, overhauled the music and brought in Steve Cochran to host "The KDWB Morning Zoo". He also hired a new air staff, introduced 12-song commercial-free music sweeps, changed the overall on-air presentation, and created a new logo, which is still in use today. As the rechristened "101.3 KDWB", its fortunes changed. KDWB quickly became the top CHR/Top 40 station in the market. Now WLOL was playing catch-up, as it tried various minor overhauls and tweaks before moving in a Rhythmic-oriented direction in 1990.
KDWB also gained national attention in 1989 for helping to break "The Look" by Roxette, the first of four US number-one songs for the Swedish duo. In February 1991, WLOL came to a sudden and premature end, as owner Emmis Broadcasting experienced financial problems and began to divest of many of its properties. Minnesota Public Radio purchased WLOL and turned it into the flagship for their classical music service. Throughout the rest of the 1990s, KDWB had virtually no CHR competition.
In 2000, KDWB got a new rival of sorts when upstart KTTB ("B96") went on the air with a rhythmic Top 40 format, heavy with hip-hop and urban contemporary music. While B96 was not a major ratings threat, partly due to its rimshot broadcast signal and smaller promotional presence, it did give KDWB the most formidable competition it had in recent years. Today, the competition for the rhythmic/urban audience comes from KZGO, sister station to the former B96, and to a lesser extent, the trimulcast of WGVX/WRXP/WWWM.
At the other end of the spectrum, KS95 also competes somewhat with its older-leaning Hot AC format (which has since transitioned to a more younger-leaning direction), as does KDWB's own sister station KTCZ with its own pop/rock-leaning Hot AC presentation. In 2010, KTTB rebranded as KHTC, leaning more towards KDWB's format and relocating their transmitter to the heart of the metro area. The battle between KDWB and KHTC lasted until New Year's Day 2012, when KHTC flipped to Modern AC to fill the void left open by WLTE's flip to Country, thus leaving KDWB as the market's only mainstream Top 40 outlet again.
On April 25, 2006, Clear Channel Communications (now iHeartMedia), KDWB's current owners, announced that KDWB's HD2 subchannel will carry a format focusing on dance hits. The HD2 signed the following July as the Party Zone. "Party Zone" is also the name of the Friday and Saturday night show on KDWB simulcasted from local clubs that in the past has been hosted by the likes of Tone E. Fly, Gerry Dixon and Michael Knight. After six months of running jockless, the subchannel began to add announcers (from KDWB) to its programming.
In 2010, the Party Zone format began broadcasting on K273BH, its FM translator at 102.5, which covers the area. They were one of two outlets in the Clear Channel roster that does not use the Club Phusion Dance format, as this one featured a live presentation over the air. The other one is KXJM Portland, Oregon, who launched "Too Wild HD2" in January 2012, customized for that market.
On April 29, 2013, the Party Zone format was dropped in favor of an Adult Contemporary format. In e-mails exchanged with the KDWB programming director, it was discovered that ultimately the station will air "songs recorded in Studio C from Cities 97", which began on July 15, 2013.
In 2017, KDWB-FM HD2 changed to iHeart's "Trancid" format.
On November 16, 2018, KDWB-HD3 briefly switched to KQQL’s classic hits format (while KQQL made its annual flip to Christmas music that same day). But on November 30, KDWB-HD3 switched to a country format branded as “The Bull 101.3 HD3”. Gregg Swedberg, program director and operations manager of sister KEEY, says that the "Bull" format “just plays country music, with no pop crossovers”.
Dave Ryan in the Morning Show
The "Dave Ryan in the Morning" Show is KDWB's morning show. It has aired on KDWB since June 11, 1992. Current hosts of the show are Dave Ryan (born October 24, 1962), Falen Bonsett (born April 6, 1984), and Steve "Steve-O" LaTart (born May 5, 1981).
Former morning show staff
Former morning show staff include:
- Lee Valsvik: (1993–1998) — now at Kool 108 in Minneapolis/St. Paul
- Angi Taylor: (1998–2003)- now at 103.5 KISS FM in Chicago
- Corey Foley: (2003–2007)
- Lena Svenson (2007–2011) — formerly on the Elvis Duran & the Morning Show in New York (2012-2018), using her real name, Bethany Watson.
- Intern John (2007–2011) — now on the Kane Show on WIHT (HOT 99.5) in Washington DC
- Crisco (2002–2012) — now mornings at KSTP-FM in Minneapolis/St. Paul
- Pat Ebertz (Producer) - now in sales for 92 KQRS-FM
- Jamie Guse ("Xtreme" Jamie)
- Kelly Doherty (Imaging)- now VP of Imaging for iHeartMedia
- KDWB-FM official website
- Radiotapes.com Historic Minneapolis/St. Paul airchecks dating back to 1924 including KDWB AM & FM and other Twin Cities radio stations
- Twin Cities Radio Airchecks' KDWB page Historical recordings and photos of KDWB from the 1960s and 1970s
- Oldiesloon.com, featuring historical information of Twin Cities Top 40 stations
- Station histories Oldiesloon
- Barry Mishkind (February 28, 2004) Broadcast History FAQ The Broadcast Archive
- radiotapes.com, featuring classic airchecks of KDWB, KDWB-FM, U100, and "Stereo 101"
- Query the FCC's FM station database for KDWB
- Radio-Locator information on KDWB
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for KDWB