A Local Radio Monopoly Brings a Brand Resurrection


On May 15, a Hays, Kan.-based broadcast company led by Kurt David agreed to pay $160,000 for an AM with an FM translator in St. Joseph, Mo.

Now, the deal has successfully closed — giving Eagle Communications an audio media monopoly in the city.

The other media in St. Joseph’s — TV and print — couldn’t create a monopoly when it attempted to do so.

And, with the sale of this AM/FM translator combo, a very familiar Kansas City radio brand has been resurrected.

Orama Inc. this week completed the sale of KGNM-AM in St. Joseph, Mo. to Eagle Communications. The transaction also includes the transfer of K273BF in St. Joe’s by Good News Ministries.

With KGNM, Eagle will have ownership of four radio stations in St. Joseph, as it already owns KESJ-AM, KFEQ-AM and KKJO-FM. As such, Eagle would own every local AM station; other stations audible on the AM dial serve the Kansas City market, or Topeka, Kan.

The three AMs have FM translators serving St. Joseph, while KKJO is a highly regarded Top 40 station with a 100kw signal audible in Kansas City — and is the lone commercial FM that is locally based.

While this deal effectively gives Eagle a monopoly in St. Joseph, NPG famously operates the local newspaper and every TV network affiliate except that of ABC in the market. That’s not to say NPG didn’t want the ABC affiliate, KQTV-2.

The Third Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals’ Sept. 23, 2019, decision to vacate and remand the FCC’s cross-ownership rules effectively led to the nix of an April 2019 deal that would have seen Heartland Media sell KQTV-2 to News-Press & Gazette Company for $13,650,000.

With the change in ownership, Classic Hits is gone. In its place is a reincarnated “KY•102.

From July 1, 1974 through early 1992, the KY-102 brand was a hallmark of Kansas City’s rock n’ roll radio scene, at KYYS-FM. In 1997, the KY-102 era died with a change to Pop/Alternative programming as the original home of the “Zone.” Today, the facility is KCKC-FM, owned by MGTF Media Company of Pittsburgh.

On June 14, the KY-102 brand was brought back, using KGNM and K273BF, at 102.5 MHz. Its 250-watt signal covers all of St. Joseph’s, and even the northern fridge of metropolitan Kansas City.