I’ve always been a big fan of Bismarck, North Dakota’s KFYR. Since my maternal grandparents lived near Devils Lake, I became familiar with this station at an early age. With the largest daytime coverage in the United States, KFYR’s massive signal footprint covered parts of 6 states and 2 Canadian provinces. The station boasted of 5 state coverage, but they were being modest by not counting Iowa. Having lived in Sioux City during the 1980s, I can tell you that KFYR was easily receivable in northwest Iowa. This amazing range was due to the combination of the incredible soil conductivity in the region plus the low dial position. Those AM radio waves have very long legs at 550Khz!
It wasn’t just the big signal that made KFYR special. More than anything else, it was the people and the personalities! KFYR sounded much larger than Bismarck, a city with a population of around 35,000 at the time. The talent and caliber of programming on this station would have been competitive in any large market. I grew up in Minneapolis, and I would rate KFYR as an equal with any of our four Top 40 outlets of the day: KDWB, WYOO, WDGY, and KSTP.
1975 marked the 50th anniversary of KFYR. R. David Adams held down the evening shift from 8:00PM-1:00AM. A few days ago, I stumbled across some YouTube videos which he had produced. The audio consists of airchecks which were made during the time of the anniversary celebration. The video features photos, newspaper clippings, and sales literature which was distributed by the station. As evidenced by the music being played, there are also a few segments from 1976. These videos offer a rare look/listen at KFYR’s glory days of the 1970s, so I wanted to include them here on RadioGeekHeaven.
Featured on this collection of KFYR aircheck videos:
Orly Knutson aka “The Happy Norwegian”: Mornings
Al Gustin: Farm/Ag News
Dan Brannan: Program Director & Middays
Sid Hardt: Afternoons
R. David Adams aka “The Dakota Mother”: Evenings
Black Jack Dave Novak: Overnights
Smokin’ Joe: Weekends
Finally, a big “THANK YOU” to R. David Adams for preserving these classic North Dakota radio history artifacts and making them available for us to enjoy!