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|City||St. Louis, Missouri|
|Broadcast area||Greater St. Louis|
|Affiliations||Bible Broadcasting Network|
|Owner||Bible Broadcasting Network, Inc.|
First air date
|September 19, 1938 (as KXOK)|
Former call signs
Call sign meaning
|You Find Inspiration|
KYFI (630 AM) is a Christian radio station broadcasting from St. Louis, Missouri. KYFI is owned and operated by Bible Broadcasting Network, Inc. KYFI's transmitters are located near Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Illinois.
The 630 frequency had previously been KXOK, which in the 1960s was one of the leading radio stations in St. Louis, and religious station KJSL from 1994 to 2013.
Construction of KXOK
In 1935, Elzey Roberts, publisher of the St. Louis Star-Times, applied for a license to put a new radio station on the air. He already owned station KFRU in Columbia, and wanted a station in the larger St. Louis market. But his license request was challenged by two other stations in the market, KSD and WIL; the legal battle dragged on until late 1937, when the court granted Roberts' request and the FCC assigned the KXOK call letters. WIL attempted to appeal the case to the Supreme Court of the United States, but in late March 1938, they lost when the court refused to review the case, affirming the FCC's grant; KXOK was given permission to begin building the new station. General manager Ray V. Hamilton announced the station would be dedicated in mid-August 1938, but there were further delays in building it. KXOK finally made its debut on September 19, 1938. Allen Franklin was the first program director; he came from station WLW in Cincinnati. Among the air staff was Paul Aurandt, who came there from KOMA in Oklahoma City and would later become famous as Paul Harvey. KXOK began its life at 1250 kHz and was affiliated with the Mutual Broadcasting System; however, on October 26, 1940, it moved to the 630 location on the AM dial and became affiliated with NBC Blue (later called the Blue Network). The KXOK shift to 630, which also saw the station move from Venice, Illinois to its site at Madison, also benefited Roberts's station in Columbia, which went full-time on 1270 kHz, and WGBF of Evansville, Indiana, which ceased sharing time with KFRU and went full-time on 1250. Elzey Robert continued to own the station until 1954, when his son, Elzey Roberts, Jr., and an associate, Chester L. Thomas, took it over, doing business as KXOK Broadcasting, Inc.
Change of ownership
In early November 1960, the station changed hands, when Roberts and Thomas sold the station to Robert and Todd Storz, for the sum of $1.5 million. The station changed format not long after to a new Top 40 sound. Nicknamed "The Sound and the Spirit of St. Louis" and "The Fun Spot," KXOK became part of the Storz family of stations (other stations in the group included WHB across the state in Kansas City, WQAM in Miami, WTIX in New Orleans, KOMA in Oklahoma City, and WDGY in Minneapolis-St. Paul). During the mid-60s, KXOK was one of the two dominant radio stations in the St. Louis market, along with KMOX. KXOK was so successful during this period, that its Top 40 competitor, WIL (AM 1430) dropped pop music in 1967, and switched to country music; it helped that WIL refused to play The Beatles.
Top 40 DJs
A number of legendary air personalities graced the KXOK airwaves during the station's glory years, including Ed Bonner, Ray Otis, Bill Addison, Mort Crowley, Danny Dark, Ron Elz aka Johnny Rabbitt, British DJ Paul Martin, Shad O'Shea, William A. Hopkins, Don Pietromonaco aka Johnny Rabbitt, Don Shafer, Delcia Devon, Louise Harrison Caldwell (George Harrison's sister), Lou Cooley, Davey O'Donnell, Peter Martin, Keith Morris, Richard Ward Fatherley and Bob Shannon.
Other outstanding personalities of the 1970s included Jerry Butler, Mason Lee Dixon, Jack Mindy, Craig Roberts and Scott Sherwood. The news staff included veteran reporters Bob Shea, Robert R. Lynn and Steven B. Stevens. It was under the leadership of Station Operations Manager Bud Connell and program directors Ray Otis and Mort Crowley that KXOK became one of the highest-rated stations in the country.
It was quite common for the DJs such as Rabbitt and Otis to travel to various teen venues with their specially selected escort bands to gage their audiences' interest in music and to make personal contact with their fans. The KXOK Sound Waves of Centralia, Illinois, were a fan favorite featuring members Ron Bousman, Mike Atchison, Greg Flanigan, Tommy Lee, and Joey Rhodes. Rhodes went on to become a Nashville recording artist and songwriter.
Many of the station's DJ's over the years went on to successful careers as national talk show hosts, television news anchors, actors and nationally known freelance talent. Danny Dark became the voice of NBC-TV, a post he held for an entire generation. Craig Roberts continues to work as a national television voice actor and announcer, still heard locally in St. Louis as the "voice" of ABC 30.
Talk and news
With the departure of key air talents and the advent of Top 40 music on FM—most notably from KSLQ (now known as KYKY)—KXOK went through several format changes toward the end of the 1970s The music format ended in April 1983, when KXOK flipped to talk. and oldies. After being sold along with KHTK to Legends Broadcasting for $6.5 million in 1989, KXOK went to an all-news format, calling itself "All News 630".
Religion as KJSL
Mornings with Tim & Al aired from 1994 to 2005 in morning drive. Hosted by Al Gross and Tim Berends, the show was often pre-recorded and mixed in as a live broadcast. The hosts were on-air teachers of evangelism, frequently interviewing celebrities and sharing the Gospel with them. The station attempted to promote the show to non-Christian listeners with a 1998 billboard that read "Hell Hates Tim & Al", trimmed in flames. Debra Peppers hosted one of the longest-running live radio programs on KJSL from 1996 through May 2006 titled Talk from the Heart, a two-hour call-in interactive radio program with uplifting Christian topics.
The station's emphasis shifted briefly towards Contemporary Christian music in April 2006 in morning and evening drive time as well as morning commute in an effort to draw in a broad audience.
Sale to BBN
Crawford opted to spin off the stronger of its two St. Louis stations, KXOK, to the Bible Broadcasting Network in 2013. BBN paid $2 million and shuttered the station's local operations to carry the network feed from its headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina.
- BBN Stations – KYFI BBN Radio. Accessed October 28, 2013
- "Star Times Gets Station as Supreme Court Rules" (PDF). Broadcasting. April 1, 1938. p. 26. Retrieved September 21, 2019.
- "New St. Louis Station, KXOK, to Be Dedicated by Star-Times in August" (PDF). Broadcasting. June 15, 1938. p. 42. Retrieved September 21, 2019.
- "Opening of KXOK Climaxes Three Years of Effort". St. Louis Star-Times. September 19, 1938. Retrieved September 21, 2019.
- "KXOK in St. Louis to Debut September 19" (PDF). Broadcasting. September 15, 1938. p. 26. Retrieved September 21, 2019.
- "Promotion Drive for KXOK Shift" (PDF). Broadcasting. December 1, 1940. p. 74. Retrieved September 21, 2019.
- "KXOK Shifts Over to 630 Kilocycles With More Power". St. Louis Star-Times. p. 1. Retrieved September 21, 2019.
- "Changing Hands" (PDF). Broadcasting. November 14, 1960. p. 62. Retrieved September 21, 2019.
- Tighe, Theresa (February 16, 1979). "The Rabbitt Revisited". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. pp. 3D, 9D. Retrieved September 21, 2019.
- Mink, Eric (April 7, 1983). "KXOK Radio Going All-Talk". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved September 21, 2019.
- Gallagher, Jim (December 4, 1989). "Sound Strategy: Stations Play With Formats To Survive In Jammed Field". pp. 18BP, 26BP. Retrieved September 21, 2019.
- Caesar, Dan (July 7, 1989). "All-Star Telecast Gets Presidential Treatment". p. 3C. Retrieved September 21, 2019.
- Berger, Jerry (April 14, 1994). "Alton Belle May Link With Fairmount Park". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved September 21, 2019.
- Call Sign History fcc.gov. Accessed October 28, 2013.
- McGuire, John M. (August 4, 1998). "Stations spread The Word up and down the dial". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. pp. 1D, 5D. Retrieved September 21, 2019.
- "St. Louis religious AM changing hands". RBR. July 26, 2013. Retrieved September 21, 2019.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to KJSL.|
- KYFI official website
- KYFI in the FCC's AM station database
- KYFI on Radio-Locator
- KYFI in Nielsen Audio's AM station database