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City Des Moines, Iowa
Broadcast area Central Iowa
Branding Connecting Listeners with Christ
Slogan Teach, Defend, Evangelize
Frequency 1150 kHz
Translator(s) 94.5 K233BT (Des Moines)
First air date 1948
Format Catholic
Power 2,500 watts day
1,000 watts night
Class B
Facility ID 49099
Transmitter coordinates 41°27′09″N 93°40′52″W / 41.45250°N 93.68111°W / 41.45250; -93.68111
Affiliations EWTN, Ave Maria Radio, Westwood One
Owner Saint Gabriel Communications.
Webcast listen live
Website Iowa Catholic Radio

KWKY (1150 AM) is a radio station broadcasting a Talk/Personality format to the Des Moines, Iowa, United States, area. The station is owned by Saint Gabriel Communications and features programming from EWTN, Ave Maria Radio and Westwood One.[1] The station is also broadcasting on translator K233BT 94.5 FM in Des Moines.

Early years[edit]

KWDM signed on the airwaves at 1150 in 1948. The station was part of a trio of new stations that signed on that year in Des Moines which included KIOA and KCBC. The owner of KWDM, George Webber had an extensive musical library and KWDM was known for its eclectic mix of international music not heard elsewhere in Des Moines and talk shows. The station was never a huge ratings success, but had a devoted and loyal following of people who enjoyed their programming. In 1959 Mr. Webber sold the station to 3M. He would later bring KWDM back on the air at 93.3 in 1964. The call letters stood for "Keep Watching Des Moines".

Top 40 Challenge[edit]

Once 3M completed their purchase of KWDM the switched the call letters to KWKY. They then engaged in 48 hours of stunting by playing Earl Brown's record Pachalafaka for the entirety of the stunt with a countdown to "Quickie" and the legal ID of "KWDM Des Moines" inserted in between the song. They also when as far as attempting to purchase air time on KSO and KIOA to announce that "Quickie is coming". Once the stunting was done, KWKY was introduced as Quickie 1150 and was sporting a Top 40 format. Going up against two well established Top 40 stations with much stronger signals and a larger coverage area was not a successful decision, and by 1960 the station adopted a Middle of the Road format similar to KCBC. By 1961 they tried the Top 40 format again with similar results to the first attempt.

Country, success, and decline[edit]

In 1962 the format was again changed, this time to Country Music. This marked the fifth format change in 3 years. It was with this format that KWKY would reach its highest levels of success. They dominated the country market for the next ten years, as the only player in the market. The decline of KWKY started in 1972 when KSO switched from Top 40 to Country Music. With KSO's higher power and better coverage area, a problem of KWKY due to a complicated directional pattern. KWKY tried to compete for the next 4 years, but in the end conceded defeat to KSO and 3M sold the station to the Putbrese Family in 1976.

KWKY today[edit]

After the Putbrese family purchased KWKY the format was switched to an Evangelical Christian talk/music format along with some high school sports. The station became a user supported station at this time. A fire in 1977 caused $70,000 worth of damages to their Norwalk studios. After 30 years of Evangelical Christian programming a local group of Catholic business leaders and clergy purchased the station through their non-profit corporation, Saint Gabriel Communication. While the station still broadcasts religious programming, it is now targeted towards a Catholic listening base.


  1. ^ "KWKY Facility Record". United States Federal Communications Commission, audio division. 

External links[edit]