KDLR-AM 1240 Devils Lake ND 1983

KDLR was the station my grandmother listened to. Her kitchen radio was a 1950s vintage Philco tube unit with built-in clock. You’d always find it tuned to 1240. Both of my maternal grandparents grew up on farms near Devils Lake, so they considered KDLR to be their “hometown” station.

In 1983, KDLR was an AM/FM combo. KDLR-FM ran just 3,000 watts on 96.7. It was a 100% simulcast of the AM and had very limited range. The original FM bays are still there, side-mounted on the KDLR tower which has stood proudly in northeast Devils Lake for several decades. The following year, KDLR-FM became KDVL-FM with 100,000 watts on 102.5. The new FM transmitter was and is located appoximately 10 miles south-southwest of Devils Lake near Fort Totten.

Despite being only 250 watts on the “graveyard” Class IV frequency of 1240, KDLR-AM had amazing daytime coverage. With a good car radio, you could hear it for close to 100 miles to the north, south, and west. Range was somewhat less to the east, due to adjacent channel interference from KTRF-AM 1230 in Thief River Falls, MN. But even in that direction, it was good for about 70 miles or so. Currently, KDLR operates with 1,000 watts fulltime power.

KDLR’s format was best defined as Full Service Adult Contemporary in those days. Here, they transition from the Kinks’ “Come Dancing” (a current hit) to Joe Jackson’s “Steppin’ Out” (a recent hit.) Notice this is the album version of “Steppin’ Out” which segues seamlessly from the previous song “Target.” This means the DJ had to slip cue and pot up “Steppin’ Out” in order to make it sound bright and tight. He performs this flawlessly. Ah, the lost art of slip cueing a record! They taught us that at Brown Institute, remember?

This was recorded from my grandparents’ house in Michigan, North Dakota. Equipment used was a Pioneer AM/FM/cassette stereo portable unit. The source tape is a TDK D90.


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