KDWN

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KDWN
KDWN AM720 logo.png
City Las Vegas, Nevada
Broadcast area Las Vegas metropolitan area
Branding "AM 720 KDWN"
Slogan "Where Las Vegas Comes to Talk"
Frequency 720 kHz(also on HD Radio)
First air date April 7, 1975
Format Talk
Power 50,000 watts
Class B
Facility ID 54686
Callsign meaning K DaWN
Affiliations Westwood One Network
Premiere Networks
Westwood One News
Owner Beasley Broadcast Group, Inc.
(Beasley Media Group Licenses, LLC)
Sister stations KCYE, KKLZ
Webcast Listen Live
Website KDWN.com

KDWN (720 kHz) is a commercial AM radio station in Las Vegas, Nevada, and owned by the Beasley Broadcast Group, Inc. The station pronounces its call letters as "K-Dawn." The station's studios are located in the unincorporated Clark County area of Spring Valley.

KDWN airs a talk radio format. It runs several nationally syndicated conservative talk hosts, along with local shows, most of which are brokered programming. National hosts include Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and Mark Levin. Other hours are devoted to money, health, real estate and sports. In most cases, the local hosts pay for their time on the air, and are permitted to run their own advertising. Most hours on weekdays begin with world and national news from Westwood One News. A local staff provides Nevada news, weather and traffic. It also has a local news alliance with Channel 8 KLAS-TV, the CBS-TV Network affiliate in Las Vegas.

KDWN broadcasts full-time at 50,000 watts, the highest power permitted for commercial AM stations in the U.S. Its non-directional daytime signal covers large portions of Nevada, California, Arizona and Utah. But because AM 720 is a clear-channel frequency reserved for Class A WGN in Chicago, KDWN must use a directional antenna at night, nulled away from the East. Even with this restriction, its nighttime signal can be heard throughout most of the Western United States, north into Canada and south into Mexico. The transmitter is on Galleria Drive in Henderson.[1] KDWN broadcasts in the HD radio format.[2]

History[edit]

From music station to talk radio[edit]

KDWN first came on the air on April 7, 1975.[3] It was founded by A.J. Williams and Jack Reeder. Williams owned KTYM-AM-FM in Inglewood, California and also owned KAIL-TV in Fresno. Reeder was the chief engineer of AM 1110 KRLA. Reeder died, leaving his half of the station to Williams, who owned the station until his death in 2005.[4]

The station began by broadcasting a full service format of middle of the road music, news, sports and talk. The music format lasted longer on KDWN than on most AM radio stations of the day. In the 1970s, many AM stations were leaving music formats to FM, and switching over to talk programming.

KDWN's transition from music to talk began slowly. In the late 1970s, KDWN aired a mix of music and some talk during the day. In January 1980, KDWN began broadcasting talk around the clock. KDWN was the top news/talk outlet in the Las Vegas radio market and won an award for its coverage of the 1980 MGM Grand Fire.[5]

Unlike most Las Vegas-area stations, KDWN remained locally owned even as most of its competitors were bought out by large radio corporations such as Clear Channel Communications and Infinity Broadcasting. The continuity of ownership kept a consistent style of station sound. The station continued to rely on experienced, yet older, hosts who may have had been with the station since it began broadcasting in the talk-radio format. The station did well in the ratings as one of the first generation of talk radio stations. Call screening was not used until recently.[6]

Art Bell and Rush Limbaugh[edit]

Noted radio talk host Art Bell, after minor jobs at several California radio and TV stations, began hosting an all-night show on KDWN in 1983. KDWN had just been granted Federal Communications Commission permission to increase its nighttime power from 10,000 watts to 50,000 watts.[7] KDWN was now audible with a good radio between nighttime and dawn in Los Angeles, San Francisco and around the West Coast. So Bell called the show "West Coast AM" because it aired between 1 and 6 a.m. Pacific Time. Bell began by discussing mostly politics. But he increasingly added discussions of the paranormal and conspiracy theories to the program, resulting in increased ratings and national attention. The show got nationwide syndication in 1993, when it was renamed "Coast to Coast AM." Bell did the show from the Plaza Hotel, where KDWN had studios. Later it moved to a studio in his home in nearby Pahrump, Nevada, in Nye County. Eventually KDWN, no longer in control of the program, decided not to continue carrying it in syndication and it was picked up by rival Las Vegas talk station AM 840 KXNT.

KDWN was one of the first radio stations to carry Rush Limbaugh's nationally syndicated show in 1988. Limbaugh helped boost KDWN's midday ratings. But in 1996, with the rates to carry it increasing, KDWN decided not to renew the show. Like Coast to Coast AM, the Rush Limbaugh Show moved to 840 KXNT. KDWN produced and broadcast a local morning show, The Snoozebusters, from the early 1980s until 2006. It was hosted by Ken Stahl and Hart Kirsch.

Beasley Broadcasting acquisition[edit]

In March 2006, Beasley Broadcast Group announced plans to buy the station for $17 million.[8] A Las Vegas newspaper reported a rumor that KDWN would change to an all-sports format, effective July 1, 2006, although the switch did not happen. Host Jim Dallas reported on Wake Up, America on July 21, 2006, that audience backlash against the change forced Beasley to retain the talk radio format.

In the fall of 2006, Beasley introduced a morning drive time news and information show hosted by Heidi Harris, with the remainder of its weekday talk format consisting of nationally syndicated shows and local brokered programming. Harris' show was discontinued in the mid-2010s, with the nationally syndicated Laura Ingraham Show moved into the morning time slot. Harris had also been heard on KDWN from 1988 to 1998.

In June, 2017, the Oakland Raiders, in preparation for their relocation to Las Vegas, announced that a two year deal had been reached with the Beasley Broadcast Group to carry Raiders games on KDWN and FM sister station 102.7 KCYE, starting with the 2017 NFL season.[9] The Raiders are expected to move from Oakland, California to Las Vegas by 2020, with KDWN and KCYE planning to become the flagship stations for the team.

Local traffic[edit]

Unlike most radio stations, which use a syndicated service for traffic reporting, KDWN has an in-house traffic department, that features around-the-clock coverage of local highways. Traffic reports are given by announcers Mitch Kelly, Tate South and Desiree Peeples.

Current and former hosts[edit]

  • Alan Stock (now at KXNT)
  • Jim Dallas (1998–?)
  • Dr. Daliah Wachs (2009–Present) Doctor Daliah show website
  • Rabbi Yitzchak Wyne (2009–Present)
  • Heidi Harris (1998–1999, 2007–2012) Heidi's Website
  • "Mystic" Mona Van Joseph (2003–2011)
  • Nathan Tannenbaum (2006–2008) (Former weatherman and Saturday matinée host for KTNV and KVBC, currently freelances for KVVU and KXNT.)
  • Jon David Wells (2004-2005) Now at KSKY in Dallas.
  • Tru Hawkins (1982–2006) (Relocated to San Marcos, Texas and continues to do Internet talk-radio and voice work. [4]
  • 007 (Chuck Emery)(?-2001) (Traffic reporter and station announcer in 1980s, deceased.)
  • Norman Lane (Commentator)
  • Ted Bair (?-2004) (Retired in December 2004, currently in Idaho.)
  • Jack Daniels ( - 1990?) Deceased 2009 http://www.americanradiohistory.com/hd2/Archive-RandR-IDX/IDX/00s/09/RR-2009-02-06-OCR-Page-0023.pdf#search=%22kdwn%22
  • Linda Fallover (1980-?) (News anchor and reporter.)
  • Lee Peterson
  • Jack London (KDWN Program Director 1975-)
  • Jim Allen/Jim Villanucci (Currently employed by KKOB AM 770 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.)
  • Doug Basham [5]
  • Harvey Allen (1988–1994) (Currently doing voice-over work for commercials.)
  • Gayle Allen (1988–1999) (Host of Lifelines with Gayle Allen)
  • Jim Austin (?-1992) (Moved to Galveston, TX; co-host of the Morning Zoo with Steve and Jim.)
  • Lou Epton (Talk Host) (Deceased Feb 25, 2013) www.forevermissed.com/lou-epton/
  • Stephanie Roberts (1984–1987) (AM Drive host, retired from KNX AM 1070 in Los Angeles, CA) Inducted into the Nevada Broadcasters Hall of Fame.
  • Ken Stahl (1983-?)
  • Mark Edwards (?-2005) (Hosted Wake Up, America, moved to Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Currently hosts Wake Up, Wisconsin on WHBY AM 1150.)
  • Mike England (1983–1985)
  • Ken Koester (?-2001) (Former USAF officer, UNLV professor, and Las Vegas, Nevada politician. Retired from radio in 2001, moved to Northern California. Has a son, Kevin T. Reasbeck [6] [7][8], local artist, and a daughter, Rachel F. Koester [9] living in Reno, Nevada, and youngest son Russell Koester, local musician.)
  • Cheryl Godfrey (1993–2000)
  • "Part-Time" Pete Moss (2002–2006) (Overnight host; quit. Currently at KCAA AM 1050 in San Bernardino, CA.)
  • Hart Kirsch
  • Ken Thomson (Sports X Radio 7-9 PM)
  • Roger Badesch, News & Public Affairs Director, Jan.-Sept. 1979 (now Friday night overnight news anchor, WGN Chicago)
  • Lee Pete The Stardust Line 1970s & 1980s (deceased) [10]
  • John Reitmeier as John Terry 1979-1983. Started West Coast AM when station went from 10,000 watts at night to 50,000 watts. Show became Coast to Coast AM when Art Bell took over.

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 36°04′22″N 114°58′20″W / 36.07278°N 114.97222°W / 36.07278; -114.97222