|City||Des Moines, Iowa|
|Broadcast area||Des Moines, Iowa|
|Slogan||Iowa's Greatest Hits|
|Frequency||93.3 MHz (also on HD Radio)|
|Translator(s)||99.9 K260AM (Des Moines, relays HD2)|
|First air date||1964 (as KWDM)|
HD2: Rhythmic CHR (also on 99.9 K260AM)
|HAAT||325 m (1,066 ft)|
|Callsign meaning||K IOwA|
|Former callsigns||KWDM (1964-1969)
Listen Live (HD2)
KIOA, "93.3 KIOA," is a classic hits radio station serving the Des Moines, Iowa, area. It is located at 93.3 on the FM dial. The station's studios are located at 1416 Locust Street in Des Moines along with Saga Communications' other Des Moines stations (KSTZ, KAZR, KMYR, KRNT and KPSZ).
The 93.3 frequency got its start in 1964 when George Webber, who was the founder of the original KWDM brought back his unique programming to the airwaves after having sold the original KWDM in 1959 to 3M. The station consisted of block programming of music, usually classical, operatic and ethnic music not heard elsewhere in Des Moines as well as a weekday talk show, "Listen While You Work" by his wife, Edith Dunham Webber and play-by-play sports such as Drake University and high school games. The station had a huge record library of rare classical and operatic albums that had been the hallmark of the station's format. KWDM, located at 2401 1/2 University Avenue was never a top performer in the ratings, but it did have a fiercely loyal following. Unfortunately, that following was not enough to keep it afloat and the station was in constant financial trouble.
In 1968, George Webber sold KWDM on contract to a local group known as the SEQ Corporation. The studios were moved to the Mike Wilson building at 4111 Hubbell Avenue, on the eastside of Des Moines. Although the format went from talk to rock and then country music, one programming staple remained, the "Hawkeye Nightline" talk show with the controversial Russ Lavine that aired Monday-Saturday nights from 9:00 until Midnight. On Sunday nights, John Birch Society members, Jim and Mary Parker hosted that three-hour slot. Lavine moved his show from KDMI 97.3 FM and had a very loyal audience. Typically, the control board operator would take the caller's phone number and he would call them back as was customary for Russ' program. Short lived talk shows aired on KWDM were hosted by Bill Comito and Mary Johns. Country deejay's included Bob Neel, Jack Myer and Rex Youngs. ABC's FM news service aired 15 minutes after the hour. On April 10, 1969, the station went dark, after the owners of the tower and transmitter site, John and Jean Murphy, shut down the station due to non-payment of rent. A month later, Mr. Webber regained control of the station, operating it at reduced hours until mid-May 1969 when the final selection on that Sunday night were excerpts from Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake" ballet. Although Webber wanted to bring back the fine music format, he lacked the finances and was too far advanced in his years to make a go of it. The 93.3 frequency went dark for two years until becoming KYNA in 1971.
Brought back to life
In 1971, the 93.3 frequency was brought back to life as KYNA. With its Top 40 format, it was taking on giant KIOA from the FM side. The station was programmed well and had great jocks, but was perhaps a bit ahead of its time and lasted for only about a year when it was sold to KIOA. For several months prior to KYNA being sold to KIOA, the format was changed to an urban-oriented, soul music format with its studios located downtown on Sixth Avenue.
After the station sold to KIOA in 1972 the calls were changed to KIOA-FM and the became known as "Solid Gold Oldies, KIOA-FM 93.3". From 6 a.m. until 6 p.m., the station aired a separate 1950s oldies format but simulcast AM 940 during the remainder of its broadcast day. The station was staffed with quality jocks, but could never quite find its way to a solid listener base, mostly due to FM radio not being as popular in the 1970s.
They made a production of an LP Record Album from KIOA radio station back in the early 1970s called the "Solid Gold" with 24 hits (2 records) and has a board game on the inside of the cover. These collectable records are rare and hard to find. The records were made to help in popularity and in some extra cash flow as well. Last known Solid Gold hits 1970's album in usable shape sold at auction was almost $13K.
Magic, a faux paus, and attempted redemption
In 1976 the decision was made to change the station again. The oldies format had not been working well, and the decision was to give Top 40 another shot on 93.3. This time the station would be known as "Magic 93" with the calls changing to KMGK. This was the most successful format to date on the frequency. The station pulled in great ratings and things were looking up for the station throughout the remainder of the 70s and early 80s.
By the mid 80s, KMGK suddenly found itself fighting for market share as KRNQ and KLYF started to hit on KMGK's previously untouched land of hit music on FM radio. The station had slipped below both of its competitors and was looking for its niche once again. In 1984, after seeing KJJY cut considerably into KSO's share it seemed like it might be a good idea to switch to country as it had a much stronger signal than KJJY's. They promoted the change in format to "Hot Country Hits, K93FM" quite well, and the country format under the KMGK call letters lasted about two years. In March 1986, they rebranded the country format as KKXI, but misjudged the market, and after one disastrous Arbitron book, the great country experiment ended.
On August 1, 1986, the station switched back to Top 40 as KDWZ "Z93", this time using a Rock-leaning direction (in other words, its playlist and music favored Pop-friendly Rock crossovers while avoiding anything that sounded Rhythmic or Dance oriented). Competing head on with KRNQ and KLYF once again was not easy, especially due to the lost time as a country station. They gave it a good fight for four years, but in the end just couldn't make it. It was now time for a new change.
On October 1, 1990, the decision was made to give up on the Top 40 programming of "Z93". The station once again was named KIOA-FM and the format was oldies, just like the incarnation from 1972-1976. The main difference this time around was that KIOA (AM) was now also playing oldies, so 93.3 was just simulcasting its AM sister in what was now known as "ALL Oldies KIOA". In 1993 Saga Purchased KIOA from Midwest Communications of Iowa the simulcast continued, but the brand changed to "Oldies 93-3 KIOA" Over time, KIOA-FM's listener base grew and the station became one of the most successful in the Des Moines area. On November 18, 1996, an era ended as KIOA switched to "Talk 940 KXTK" leaving the oldies to its FM counterpart. The call letters then reverted to just KIOA on the FM and the success has continued for KIOA. Today (2008) 93-3 KIOA has evolved into a classic hits format playing "Iowa's Greatest Hits", primarily focusing on the music of the 1970s and 1980s.
On July 31, 2007, Saga Communications announced that they would not be renewing the contract of longtime KIOA morning program co-host, Polly Carver-Kimm. Carver-Kimm had served as co-host of "Maxwell and Polly in the Morning," and had also been news director for the Des Moines Radio Group's other five radio stations.
Also in late July, Dic Youngs "Youngsy" announced that he would be retiring from KIOA. He stated to a local newspaper that it was not his choice to retire. Youngs has been announcing and disc-jockeying for over 40 years at the station, often talking about old-times and the days of playing old fashioned records on air. Dic Youngs retired from KIOA on his 66th birthday on September 30, 2007. He did, however, return to the airwaves part-time on 1350 KRNT after his retirement from KIOA. Youngs remained at KRNT until his death on October 1, 2009, at age 68.
KIOA's current line up
- Maxwell & Amy - weekdays 5:00 AM–10:00 AM
- Alan White - weekdays 10:00 AM–3:00 PM
- Karess Carter - weekdays 3:00 PM–6:00 PM
- Kate Garner - weekends
- Mariah - weekends
On July 23, 2008, KIOA announced the addition of former Des Moines morning personality Pam Dixon to the KIOA morning show with current host, Maxwell Schaeffer. Dixon says, "I feel like the stars have aligned and it was the right time for me to return to broadcasting. I've been a fan of KIOA my whole life and it's MY music."
A Des Moines native and Hoover High graduate, Dixon attended the University of Iowa and Brown Institute of Broadcasting. She was first heard on KRNT and Q-102 before beginning a 10-year run on KLYF which ended in 1996. Since then, Dixon has used her voice talent as the first female Iowa Cubs stadium announcer and has been heard on the numerous radio and TV commercials. Dixon and her daughter, Maddie, live in West Des Moines.
- Des Moines Station Timeline. Accessed June 23, 2006
- "Iowa radio personality Dic Youngs dead at 68". The Des Moines Register. 2009-10-01.
- KIOA History. Accessed June 23, 2006
- KIOA website
- KMGK Promos
- KKXI and KYNA Jingles
- KYNA Composite Aircheck 1971
- KDWZ Aircheck 1989
- Query the FCC's FM station database for KIOA
- Radio-Locator information on KIOA
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for KIOA
- Query the FCC's FM station database for K260AM
- Radio-Locator information on K260AM