|Broadcast area||Columbia and Vicinity|
|Repeater(s)||K255DJ 98.9 FM (Columbia)|
|First air date||January 1925|
|Power||1,000 watts |
99 watts (K255DJ)
|Affiliations||Cumulus Media Networks|
|Owner||Cumulus Media |
(Cumulus Licensing LLC)
|Sister stations||KBBM, KBXR, KJMO, KLIK, KOQL, KPLA|
KFRU (1400 AM) is a radio station located in Columbia, Missouri. Its programming format consists primarily of news, talk and sports. The station is licensed to Cumulus Media. The station is also audible on translator K255DJ 98.9 FM in Columbia.
- 1 History
- 2 Network affiliations
- 3 Awards
- 4 Affiliation with the University of Missouri School of Journalism
- 5 Former KFRU employees in TV/radio
- 6 Other former employees and program hosts
- 7 References
- 8 External links
KFRU was founded in Bristow, Oklahoma by E.H. Rollestone, in January 1925. That fall, the station was purchased by Stephens College and moved to Columbia (with Rollestone going on to found KVOO-AM, now KFAQ).
On September 24, 1935, the Federal Communications Commission approved transfer of the station from Nelson R. Darragh, of St. Louis, to Luther L. Hill, of Des Moines. Several owners later, the station was purchased by the St. Louis Star-Times newspaper, mostly for its regional broadcast frequency of 630 kHz, later moved to its St. Louis radio station, KXOK. In 1940, KFRU became an affiliate of the Blue Network. The station was assigned its current 1400 kHz frequency in 1941.
Mahlon Aldridge, Jr. was appointed manager in 1945, purchasing the station in 1948 in partnership with the publisher of the Columbia Daily Tribune. In 1957, the station's format consisted of a mixture of country music, news and sports.
Aldridge sold his interest to his partner's son in the 1980s, and competition caused the station's audience share to fall. After another change in ownership, KFRU was purchased by a local ownership group headed by Al Germond, who moved the studios into the broadcast complex with their KARO-FM (now KPLA) station. The group formed and purchased additional stations in the Columbia and Jefferson City markets under the name of Premier Marketing Group.
In 2004, KFRU and the other Premier Marketing Group stations were sold to Cumulus Broadcasting. In August 2017, KFRU applied for an FM translator at 98.9 as part of the FCC's AM revitalization project. The translator signed on for the first time on August 18, 2019.
ABC Radio Network
Missouri Tiger Network
KFRU was the longtime flagship station of play-by-play broadcasts of Missouri Tiger football and basketball teams. On December 22, 2009, Mizzou Sports Properties (owned by Learfield Sports) announced it would move Tiger broadcasts to Zimmer Radio's mid-Missouri cluster, fronted by 99,000-watt KCMQ, starting in 2010.
With KMOX-AM in St. Louis as a network affiliate, the network has had many regional and national broadcasters providing play-by-play and color commentary for MU sports broadcasts, including:
- Jack Buck (member of the Baseball and Radio Hall of Fame)
- Harry Caray (member of the Baseball Hall of Fame)
- Bob Starr
- Bob Costas (NBC Sports)
- Kevin Harlan (CBS Sports)
- Tom Dore (Chicago Bulls)
- Joe Buck (Fox Sports)
- John Rooney (Chicago White Sox, St. Louis Cardinals)
- Bill Wilkerson
- Kellen Winslow (Fox Sports Net) (member of the College Football Hall of Fame and Pro Football Hall of Fame)
- Dan Kelly (member of the Hockey Hall of Fame)
- Jon Sundvold
- Kevin Calabro
Former color commentators include Jim Kennedy and Rod Kelly.
The current broadcast teams through the 2011-12 season are:
- Football - Mike Kelly (play-by-play), Howard Richards (color commentary) and Chris Gervino (sideline)
- Men's Basketball - Mike Kelly (play-by-play) and Gary Link (color commentary)
- Women's Basketball - David Lile or Will Palaszczuk (play-by-play) and Gary Link or Michael Porter (color commentary)
St. Louis Cardinals Baseball Network
As of the 2012 Major League Baseball season, the station is no longer a St. Louis Cardinals radio network affiliate; Zimmer Radio's KSSZ replaced KFRU as the Columbia market affiliate. According to previous years' KFRU promotional advertisements, they had been affiliated with the Cardinals for at least 60 years.
- Peabody Award for Public Service by a Small Station, 1940
- Missouri Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism, presented to Mahlon Aldridge
- KFRU awarded the Missouri Broadcasters Association 2015 Station of the Year award. This was the first ever Station of the Year award given by the MBA.
- KFRU inducted into the Boone County Historical Society's Hall of Fame, October 8, 2015, just days after the station's 90th Anniversary.
Affiliation with the University of Missouri School of Journalism
Prior to the founding of University-owned station KBIA-FM in 1971, KFRU was a primary training ground for broadcast journalism students at the University. Even after this time, the station still employs students and recent graduates; many graduates list the station on their current employment biography pages.
Former KFRU employees in TV/radio
- Eric Engberg, news director, 1963-68 - retired CBS News Washington Correspondent
- Ben Bradley, host, reporter and news anchor - currently WLS-TV general assignment reporter
- Dave Hunziker, sports director - currently Oklahoma State Cowboys play-by-play
- Chris Gervino, sports director - currently KOMU-TV sports director
- Will Sterrett, board-op - currently Rockcastle Media Networks president/CEO
- Sean Kelley - sports director - currently New Orleans Pelicans play-by-play
- Ed Kilgore - currently WGRZ-TV sports director
- Mike Roberts - currently KRCG-TV chief meteorologist
- Mark Reardon - currently KMOX-AM talk show host
- John Carney - overnight board-op/host - currently KMOX-AM talk show host
- Michael Calhoun - currently KMOX-AM news anchor
- Amy Miller - currently local Morning Edition host at WDET
- Joe Scialfa - currently Newsradio 620 WTMJ-AM, Program Director
- Michael Putney, news director - currently WPLG-TV, Miami Political Reporter
- Steve Moore - currently KMOX-AM, Vice President of News/Talk, CBS Radio, Director of Programming and Operations
- Ellen Schenk - currently KMBZ-AM morning co-anchor
- Larry Zimmer - retired KOA-AM sports director, University of Colorado play-by-play
- Mark Becker - WSOC-TV reporter
- Mark Davidson - KSNW-TV sports anchor/reporter
- Matt Boltz - currently Houston Astrosradio network producer/engineer
- Kevin Larue - currently KSL-AM news and program director
- RJ McAllister, news - formerly news director at KWTO
- Jim Fry - currently at WFAA
- Brian Sussman - currently host at KSFO
- Paul Hannigan, news director - formerly reporter at KTRH-AM
- Darren Hellwege - Host of "Morning Edition" and "Thinking Out Loud with Darren Hellwege" on KBIA-FM, Columbia; formerly of KCSC and WWLS, Oklahoma City.
- Dick (Kettenbrink) Preston - Currently Morning and Noon news anchor at KRCG-TV Jefferson City, Mo.
Other former employees and program hosts
- James Keown - state capital reporter and Sunday Morning Roundtable contributor - currently incarcerated in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts after being convicted of murdering his wife by poisoning her with antifreeze. Keown was arrested by the United States Marshal’s Service in November 2005 during a commercial break on his “Partyline” program on sister-station KLIK in Jefferson City, Mo.
- Roger Gafke, news director
- Scott Baker - currently press secretary for Rep. Kenny Hulshof
- Rod Kelly - Missouri Basketball color commentator
- Kathy Poppe (Watson)
- Barry Bennett - Currently Director of Communications for Missouri House of Representatives
- Brian Hauswirth, news director - currently public information officer with the Missouri Department of Corrections
- Doug Ross
- Dick Aldrich -Radio Communications for Missouri House of Representatives
- Chris Lincoln - co-founder of Winnercomm; ABC Sports and ESPN commentator on Thoroughbred racing; former sports host of KTUL-TV, Tulsa
- Dr. John Williams - host, The Pet Place
- Bob O'Connell - host, The Garden Spot
- Ray Rothenberger - host, The Garden Spot (deceased)
- Stacy Allen - meteorologist
- Brendan Cosgrove - news - currently Broadcast Associate at Northwestern University
- Greg Crain - sports (deceased)
- Leslie Callison - news
- Judd McIlvain - consumer reporter, worked at KRCG, KTTV, KCBS-TV and CBS 48 Hours.
- Ara Ayer - reporter for WAAY-TV; producer for Dateline NBC, NBC Nightly News; conflict photographer: World Picture News; commercial director, DP, filmmaker for PBS, Bloomberg TV
- Anne Steffens - formerly with KMOV, now Director of the Office of Communications of the Archdiocese of St. Louis
- John Fougere, sportscaster - currently Press Secretary to Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon
- Robert Loggia - actor
- Brad Whitworth - sportscaster/announcer - now Sr. Comms Mgr, Strategic Alliances at Cisco Systems
- Kevin M. Gray - sportscaster and sports director - now President of the Kansas City Sports Commission
- Tony Messenger - evening show host; was concurrently a Columnist with the Columbia Daily Tribune - now Editorial Page Editor of the Springfield News-Leader
- Chris Kelly - evening show host; former local and state politician; resigned to accept appointment as Boone County associate circuit judge (retired) - now Democratic candidate for Missouri House of Representatives 24th District
- Mike Kelly - Morning sports reports; Missouri Men's Basketball play-by-play; Left his full-time job as Missouri Athletic Department Director of Broadcast Operations on May 30, 2007 to join The Insurance Group sales department , but will remain as play-by-play announcer. During the David Lile Show on June 29, 2007, it was announced that it was his last day "due to budgetary reasons" with the Cumulus stations (he also provided reports for Jefferson City station KLIK-AM)
- Dave Schmidt - Weatherman for KOMU TV in Columbia, Mo.
- Steve Lager- 25 year radio career in Kansas City including mornings at KCIY
- Dusty Rhodes-the Midnight Mayor
- Bob Pollack - Sports Director
- Brad Stephenson - news anchor/reporter
Richard M. Cottam (deceased) - news anchor/reporter 1957-1963; Instructor Dept. of Journalism Univ. of Missouri- Columbia 1956-1963; Co-host "Conversations with Dick and Doris" 1961-1963; NBC News associate Producer Huntley-Brinkley Report 1963-1967; NBC News Election unit 1968-1971
- Tulsa Radio: KVOO-AM
- "KFRU Changes Hands" (PDF). Broadcasting. October 1, 1935. Retrieved 4 November 2014.
- "KFRU Sale" (PDF). Broadcasting. December 13, 1948. p. 63. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
- "Mizzou Sports Properties Announces New Mid-Missouri Radio Home For the Tigers: Zimmer Radio Group's KCMQ-FM, KTGR-AM, KWOS-AM, KFAL-AM, KKCA-FM to Carry Games, Coaches' Shows, Other Mizzou Programming for Five Years". CSTV.com. 2009-12-22. Retrieved 2009-12-26.
- DJ charged with murder
- History of KFRU
- Query the FCC's AM station database for KFRU
- Radio-Locator Information on KFRU
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for KFRU