|City||Des Moines, Iowa|
|Slogan||Today's Christian Music & The Word|
|First air date||January 15, 1948 (as KIOA)|
|Format||Christian music/talk radio|
|Power||10,000 watts (day)
5,000 watts (night)
|Former callsigns||KIOA (1948-1996)
|Sister stations||KAZR, KMYR, KIOA, KRNT, KSTZ|
|Webcast||Listen Live (sports)|
KPSZ (940 AM, "Praise 940") is a Christian radio station serving the Des Moines, Iowa, area. It is located at 940 on the AM dial. The station's studios are located at 1416 Locust Street in Des Moines along with Saga Communications' other Des Moines stations (KRNT, KSTZ, KIOA, KMYR and KAZR).
- 1 History
- 2 Personalities and programming
- 3 References
- 4 External links
The Independent Years: 1948-1957
The station signed on the air January 15, 1948 as KIOA. Its studios were located in the Onthank building at 10th and Mulberry in downtown Des Moines. The transmitter and towers are located two miles northeast of Hartford, Iowa. The owners of KIOA, the Independent Broadcasting Company, were also issued an FM construction permit for 93.7 FM, but the station was never put on the air. KIOA was an independent station in its early years with a format of MOR music and news. This was a risky format in the post war era when network affiliations were still quite important. KIOA stayed competitive with the "big three" (WHO, KRNT, and KSO), in the Des Moines market and waged a spirited battle with its main competitor in the MOR format, KCBC. Also during this era, KIOA competed with WHO for the television license on channel 13. Palmer Broadcasting and WHO would be granted the license for what became WHO-TV.
The First Golden Era: 1957-1962
The year 1957 brought the first two major changes to KIOA since its birth. In March the station moved its studios and offices out of the Onthank Building and into the old Tromar Ballroom at the corner of 5th and Park in downtown Des Moines. The second change that year would be one that would change the face of radio in Des Moines for the next 25 years. On May 1, 1957, KIOA became the first Top 40 station in the Des Moines area. The station was a hit overnight, shooting straight to the top of the Hoopers ratings. Within a year, KIOA would be joined by KSO and KWKY in the Top 40 arena. Even with competition, KIOA stayed on top, consistently beating out KSO and KWKY would change formats a few times before settling on a country music format.
Fall from Grace
During 1962, KIOA started showing signs of wear. KSO was starting to cut in on KIOA's lead in the ratings. This was due to some recent turnover of disk jockies at KIOA as well as the excellent programming of Dick Vance. The final straw that pushed KIOA under KSO was when KIOA's studios burnt to the ground on February 26, 1963. By noon of that day the station was up and running again from the transmitter site near Hartford, Iowa. The studios would remain there until new studios could be placed at 803 Keosauqua Way in downtown Des Moines. This was the location of the "KIOA fishbowl" where the jocks broadcast in front of a plate glass window looking out at the city. This was similar to KSO's studios at 1910 Ingersoll Avenue.
The Second Golden Era: 1964-1974
By 1964 KIOA had settled down into its new studios and was under the leadership of program director Peter McLane, who would lead the station until 1977. Under the new leadership of McLane, coupled with Dick Vance leaving KSO to purchase KDMI, KIOA surged back into its spot on top of the ratings. Shortly thereafter KSO switched to a MOR format and the only competition for KIOA would be KDMI on the FM band. In 1968 KDMI left the Top 40 market, but KSO came back to compete with KIOA.
In 1972 two major changes would happen within the KIOA camp. In January the studios and offices were moved again down the street to the General Growth Properties building at 215 Keosauqua Way in downtown Des Moines. The second change was the acquisition of KYNA, an FM station at 93.3 on the dial. There was discussion of moving the top 40 programming to the FM and turning KIOA into a country station, but in the end the AM stayed the same and the FM became an oldies station. This was due in part to KSO switching to a country station and KIOA once again not having any rivals in the top 40 market.
The Decline of AM Top 40
By 1974, there was another new competitor in the market, KGGO, known as "GO 95". This station was put on FM by Stoner Broadcasting, owners of KSO, and was the first serious threat to KIOA since 1964. With FM radios becoming more common and the superior sound quality of FM stereo, top 40 radio was one of the first casualties on the AM band. KIOA tried to stay competitive, but with Stauffer Communications' KRNQ coming on air with a top 40 format as well, it was apparent that a change needed to be made soon.
In 1976 the decision was made to move the top 40 format to FM as KMGK and for KIOA to switch to an adult contemporary format. KIOA fell to the middle of the pack as far as ratings went and some long term personalities left or took jobs off the air with the station. The station was stagnant and looking for its niche when in 1984 Dic Youngs, a former on-air personality and currently a time salesman who had been with the station since 1966, started hosting the "Saturday Night Oldies Party". This feature became a hit immediately and helped to set the station in the right direction, and ran on KIOA through September 2007, when the show and host Youngs moved to sister station 1350 KRNT.
Due to the success of the "Saturday Night Oldies Party" the format was changed to oldies on a full-time basis in 1986. This move brought KIOA back to the glory it had once had and it has dominated the oldies market in Des Moines ever since. The lone challenge to KIOA's dominance of the oldies market was from KFMG which attempted to compete with KIOA from 1988-1992. KIOA counteracted this by having KDWZ switch to KIOA-FM and simulcasting the oldies onto FM. In 1988 KIOA moved into newly constructed studios at 5161 Maple Drive in Pleasant Hill, Iowa. In 1993 the station was purchased by Saga Communications and moved to its present location at 1416 Locust Street in downtown Des Moines.
In 1996 the station had its first call letter change ever, changing to KXTK, leaving KIOA and oldies programming to KIOA-FM exclusively. The new station was known as "Talk 940" and featured syndicated talk shows with no local news or programming. The station never took off and in 1999 it went back to simulcasting KIOA except for the morning drive which featured Don Imus.
In 2000, Michael Gartner, the owner of the Iowa Cubs, reached a lease agreement with Saga Communications to lease the station. The station retained the KXTK calls, but was now known as "Sports 940, The Big Ticket". During this time the studios were located at Sec Taylor Stadium at 350 SW 1st Street in Des Moines. "The Big Ticket" carried Sporting News Radio network programs, local talk shows with personalities such as Larry Morgan and Steve Deace, and I-Cubs, Drake Bulldogs, and Nebraska Cornhuskers games. During this time the station had competition from KXNO and KJJC. Des Moines proved to be too small a market for three sports stations and KXTK was the first casualty. This ended the lease arrangement and Saga Communications took control of the station again on September 3, 2002.
940 kHz Today
As of September 3, 2002 the station has been known as KPSZ, "Praise 940". It has a format of both national syndicated and locally produced religious talk along with Christian music. This has proven, from a ratings standpoint, to be the least successful station to occupy 940 kHz, with the station rarely appearing on the Arbitron books these days.
Personalities and programming
KPSZ airs syndicated shows such as America's Family Coaches with Dr. Gary and Barb Rosberg, Stan Johnson & The Prophecy Club, Woodrow Kroll, Jan Markell, J. Vernon McGee, David Jeremiah, and Irvin Baxter Jr., plus several local talk shows, including Update Today with Maxine Sieleman, The Words & Music Show with Don Thompson, as well as Christian music during other parts of the day.
- Des Moines Station Timeline, DesMoinesBroadcasting.com, accessed March 19, 2006
- KXTK Pulls the Plug on All-Sports Radio by Bryce Miller, Des Moines Register, August 7, 2002
- KPSZ Station Web site
- Des Moines Radio Group: KPSZ
- Query the FCC's AM station database for KPSZ
- Radio-Locator Information on KPSZ
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for KPSZ
- FCC History Cards for KPSZ