|Broadcast area||Columbia and Vicinity|
ABC News Radio
|Owner||Cumulus Media |
(Cumulus Licensing LLC)
|KBBM, KBXR, KJMO, KLIK, KOQL, KPLA|
First air date
|Translator(s)||98.9 K255DJ (Columbia)|
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.
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, now KTSB).
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.
When KFRU was purchased by the Star-Times, it became affiliated with the NBC Blue Network, now the ABC Radio Network,. KFRU switched to the Westwood One/CNN news feed in 2012. After Westwood One ended their newsfeed, KFRU returned to ABC News Radio on August 31, 2020.
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:
Former color commentators include Jim Kennedy and Rod Kelly.
The current broadcast teams through the 2011-12 season are:
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.
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.
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