|Branding||1600 ESPN Denver|
|Slogan||Denver's Sports Radio|
|Frequency||1600 kHz (also on HD Radio)|
|First air date||January 8, 1955 (as 1580 KLAK)|
|Callsign meaning||Entertainment and Sports Programming Network|
(former full name of ESPN)
|Former callsigns||KLAK (1955-1987)|
|Owner||Bonneville International Corporation|
|Sister stations||KKFN, KOSI, KYGO|
KEPN (1600 kHz) is a commercial AM radio station licensed to Lakewood, Colorado, and serving the Denver metropolitan area. It is owned by Bonneville International Corporation with studios and located in Greenwood Village, and the transmitter is in Lakewood.
On January 8, 1955, the station signed on as KLAK. It was originally on AM 1580 and was a daytimer powered at 250 watts, required to be off the air at night. KLAK was owned by the Lakewood Broadcasting Service Company and played country music. In a few years, the station moved to AM 1600 and was powered at 1,000 watts, allowing the station to broadcast around the clock.
In 1966, KLAK signed on a new transmitter, powered at 5,000 watts. It also added an FM radio station at 107.7 MHz. (The FM station is now 107.5 KQKS, owned by Entercom.) KLAK-AM-FM simulcast their country music format.
In 1994, the station became KYGO. It was a mainstream country station, although separately programmed from more current-based KYGO-FM.
In 1999, 1600 KYGO flipped to classic country as "16 Kicks" KCKK. The station's programming was a simulcast of KCKK-FM (now KKFN). When the FM station switched to smooth jazz in 2000, the classic country format was heard exclusively on AM 1600. The format would later be moved to another station in the market, KYOL, which took the KCKK call letters (now an adult hits station branded as "The Rock").
Switch to Sports
The Lincoln Financial Group acquired the station in 2006. On January 1, 2007, 1600 AM became the Denver network affiliate of ESPN Radio, with a call letter change to KEPN. In September 2012, the ESPN affiliation moved to 105.5 KJAC, with KEPN switching its programming to Fox Sports Radio.
On December 8, 2014, Entercom announced it would purchase Lincoln Financial Group's entire 15-station lineup in a $106.5 million deal. Entercom would operate the outlets under a Local Marketing Agreement (LMA) until the purchase was finalized. On December 22, 2014, Entercom announced that it would retain KEPN's sports format. The FCC approved the deal on June 26, 2015. However, on July 14, 2015, the Department of Justice forced Entercom to spin off KEPN, KOSI, KKFN and KYGO-FM to Bonneville International in exchange for Bonneville's KSWD in Los Angeles to meet ownership limits. Both Bonneville and Entercom began operating their new clusters via Time Brokerage Agreements on July 17, 2015, until the transaction was consummated on November 24, 2015.
On January 4, 2016, KEPN reaffiliated with ESPN Radio after a three-year absence, carrying the network full-time, with KKFN simulcasting during overnights and some weekend hours. The move falls in line with Bonneville's practice of having an AM/FM Sports radio combination airing ESPN Radio on AM and local programming on FM.
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1956 page 80
- Broadcasting & Cable Yearbook 2010 D-120
- "Entercom Acquires Lincoln Financial Media" from Radio Insight (December 8, 2014)
- "FCC OKs Lincoln Financial-Entercom Deal" from All Access (June 26, 2015)
- "Entercom Settles DOJ Investigation; Swaps For 100.3 The Sound Los Angeles - RadioInsight". 16 July 2015.
- "ESPN to affiliate with 104.3 The Fan on 1600 AM; KUNC buys 105.5 FM" from The Denver Post (December 7, 2015)
- Article about format change at 1600AM
- Query the FCC's AM station database for KEPN
- Radio-Locator Information on KEPN
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for KEPN