|Broadcast area||Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska|
|Frequency||1110 kHz (HD Radio)|
|Branding||NewsRadio 1110 KFAB|
|Slogan||Omaha's News, Weather & Traffic|
|Owner||iHeartMedia, Inc. |
(Capstar TX LLC)
|KFFF, KGOR, KISO, KXKT|
First air date
|1924 (in Lincoln, moved to Omaha in 1948)|
KFAB's three-tower transmitter site is located southeast of Papillion. During the day it broadcasts with a non-directional antenna, and, due to its high power and Nebraska's flat land (with near-perfect ground conductivity), provides a strong signal to most of eastern Nebraska and at least grade B coverage as far as Kansas City, Topeka, Sioux City and Des Moines. Occasionally, the station can be heard in Minneapolis during the daytime as well. At night it operates with a directional antenna that sends most of its signal westward, in order to limit interference to WBT in Charlotte, North Carolina. Nighttime coverage includes most of the western half of North America, although the station provides a grade B signal to only the Iowa side of the Omaha market.
Gary Sadlemyer, a Minnesota native, celebrated his 40th anniversary on the station in December 2016 and continues as the morning show host. KFAB also broadcasts local radio shows hosted by Jim Rose, Scott Voorhees, Chris Baker, and Thor Schrock, in addition to national shows, including Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Buck Sexton and Coast to Coast AM.
KFAB was first licensed on November 8, 1924 to the Nebraska Buick Auto Company in Lincoln. The station was initially assigned the call letters "KFRR" from an alphabetic list maintained by the United States Department of Commerce. However, at the request of Nebraska Buick's owner Harold E. Sidles, prior to the station's December 4 debut the call sign KFAB was substituted, reportedly standing for "Keep Following A Buick".
On November 11, 1928, under the provisions of the Federal Radio Commission's General Order 40, KFAB was reassigned to a "clear channel" frequency of 770 kHz. In an unusual shared-time arrangement, it was licensed for unlimited hours during the day, however it had to divide nighttime operations with Chicago's co-channel WBBM.
KFAB switched network affiliation from NBC to CBS the week of January 5, 1932. Beginning in 1934, KFAB and WBBM synchronized their transmissions via a telephone line that ran from the WBBM transmitter outside Chicago to the KFAB site near Lincoln, thus allowing simultaneous nighttime operation and providing a nearly coast-to-coast CBS signal on their shared frequency. In March 1941, as part of the implementation of the North American Regional Broadcasting Agreement, KFAB and WBBM were shifted to 780 kHz.
In 1948 KFAB moved to 1110 kHz, giving WBBM unlimited use of 780 kHz. At this same time KFAB relocated to Omaha, boosted its power from 10,000 to 50,000 watts, and installed a nighttime directional antenna to limit its signal towards WBT in Charlotte, North Carolina. (WBT, also broadcasting with 50,000 watts, had previously operated full time with a non-directional antenna. Concurrent with KFAB's reassignment to 1110 kHz, WBT installed a nighttime directional antenna in order to protect KFAB's coverage).
From its beginning KFAB has delivered a wide variety of programming, including news, weather, ag information and traffic reports, and it became Nebraska's first 24-hour radio station in 1951. In the station's heyday of the 1960s and 1970s, it was made famous by legendary newscaster Walt Kavanaugh's school closing reports. It was believed that virtually every school aged child in the area would listen intently as Kavanaugh reported which districts were cancelled and which were not on snowy mornings.
For most of the time from the 1960s to 1990s, KFAB dominated the Omaha market, and according to many publications was one of the highest-rated radio stations in the country. From 1926 to 2015—except for a short break from 1996 to 2001—KFAB was the home of Nebraska Cornhuskers sports. After 1948, it shared flagship status with Lincoln's KOLN/KLIN. However, in February 2015, the Cornhuskers moved their games to KXSP. School officials had long felt chagrin that KFAB was not willing to air all Olympic sports. For instance, volleyball and women's basketball games were shunted to KFFF, while baseball games were pre-empted altogether. School officials wanted to ensure that all Husker sports would air on a single, powerful station; KXSP's daytime coverage is roughly comparable to that of KFAB. Even with the loss of the Huskers, KFAB continued to be one of the highest rated stations in the Omaha/Council Bluffs/Lincoln markets as measured by persons aged 12+.
In 1948, while still an undergraduate at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Johnny Carson worked at KFAB writing and doing shows. In addition to Carson, KFAB was and continues to be the home of some of the state's most popular personalities, including Lyell "Mr. Football" Bremser, Ken Hedrick, John Coleman, Walt Kavanaugh, "Texas" Mary, Gary Sadlemyer, Kent Pavelka and Jim Rose, most if not all have been inducted into the Nebraska Broadcasters Hall of Fame.
- Scott Fybush (23 Nov 2007). "Medium Trip '07, Part IV: Omaha's KFAB 1110 and the 72nd Street Tower Farm". fybush.com. Retrieved 27 Aug 2019.
- "Station Search Details - KFAB". licensing.fcc.gov. Retrieved 27 August 2019.
- "Category Archives: "Radio Show"". schrockinnovations.com. Retrieved 27 Aug 2019.
- "New Stations", Radio Service Bulletin, December 1, 1924, page 2.
- "New Radio Station Holds Its Opening", Lincoln (Nebraska) State Journal, December 5, 1924, page 6.
- "KFAB—From Lincoln, Omaha's Future Biggest", The History of Omaha Radio: Volume One – 1899 to 1945 by Carl Mann, Revised First Edition 2019, page 40. The KFAB call sign had originally been sequentially assigned to a station in Portland, Oregon, which was licensed on June 13, 1922 ("New Stations", Radio Service Bulletin, July 1, 1922, page 3) and deleted on November 9, 1922 ("Strike out all particulars", Radio Service Bulletin, December 1, 1922, page 7).
- "Broadcasting Stations" (effective November 11, 1928), Commercial and Government Radio Stations of the United States, June 30, 1928 edition, page 172.
- Due to a change in the ionosphere, radio signals on the AM band travel much greater distances at night.
- "CBS Adds Two", Broadcasting, January 15, 1932, page 6.
- "Present Practice in the Synchronous Operation of Broadcast Stations as Exemplified by WBBM and KFAB" by L. McC. Young, Proceedings of the Institute of Radio Engineers, March 1936 (vol. 24, no. 3), page 440 (durenberger.com)
- "Controlling Interest in WBT Goes to KFAB in 3-Way Deal", Broadcasting, February 7, 1944, page 16.
- Cordes, Henry (2015-02-10). "Tuning in to a new era of Husker radio: NU switches Omaha affiliate from 1110 KFAB to 590 KXSP". Omaha World-Herald.
- "Entertainment icon Johnny Carson announces $5.3 million gift to Hixson-Lied College of Fine & Performing Arts". unl.edu. 10 November 2004. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
- "Omaha, NE HD Radio Stations". Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2014-10-14.
- Official website
- KFAB in the FCC's AM station database
- KFAB on Radio-Locator
- KFAB in Nielsen Audio's AM station database