KZEL ZRocks96.1 logo.png
Broadcast areaEugeneSpringfield, Oregon
Frequency96.1 MHz
Branding96.1 KZEL
FormatClassic rock
First air date
Call sign meaning
George ZELlner, station founder[1]
Technical information
Facility ID49822
ERP100,000 watts (horiz)
43,000 watts (vert)
HAAT333 meters (1,093 ft)
Transmitter coordinates
44°00′05″N 123°06′48″W / 44.00139°N 123.11333°W / 44.00139; -123.11333Coordinates: 44°00′05″N 123°06′48″W / 44.00139°N 123.11333°W / 44.00139; -123.11333[2]
Translator(s)96.7 K244DL (Cottage Grove)
99.3 K257EB (Riddle)
102.1 K271BL (Roseburg)
WebcastListen live
Listen Live via iHeart

KZEL-FM (96.1 FM) is a commercial radio station in Eugene, Oregon, in the United States. The station airs a classic rock music format.[3]

It has applied for a U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) construction permit to move to a taller tower (HAAT 451.9 meters) at the same site and increase the vertically polarized ERP to 100,000 watts.


KZEL-FM, along with short-lived KZEL-AM, was founded and funded in 1967 by Eugene lumberman George "Tirebiter" Zellner. When he purchased the stations, their call letters were KWFS.[4] Zellner changed the call letters to KZEL, for the FM and AM bands. KZEL-AM was briefly affiliated with the CBS network, and carried Frank Gifford's sports updates from CBS, along with broadcasts of Churchill High School sports and Eugene Bombers pro football. Zellner sold the station to Jay and Barbara West in 1971.[5]

The Wests led KZEL for most of the 1970s as a free-format station. Its studios were located in Glenwood, near Springfield. Disc jockeys included John Napier, Gary "The Wasted Potato" Palmatier, Stan "Harry 'Til 6" Garrett, Michael Waggoner, Sleepy John (Cuthbertson), JET, Tom Krumm, Chris Kovarik, Magic Mike, and Peyton Mays. Additionally, KZEL carried "Daybreak" in the morning and "News & Information" in the afternoon. News anchors included Melinda Coates, Rosemary Reed, Cal Turlock (real name Phillip Johnson) and Bryce Zabel.

In the 1970s the News department was headed by Matt McCormick [1], aided by Tim Helfrich [2], and Josh Marquis, all destined to become practicing lawyers.

KZEL-FM belongs to Cumulus Media, a nationwide owner of radio stations. In 2006, the program director, Mark Raney, locked himself in the station's control room for 10 days to protest the management's decision to abandon KZEL's classic rock format and replace it with country music. Raney, with support from his listeners, persuaded the station's management to retain the rock format.[6]

KZEL-FM then evolved from a classic rock format into an adult album alternative music format, adding newer artists and music to the playlist. Weekday personalities on the station still include Mark Raney and John Frederick in the morning, Emma at mid-day, and C.Y.D. in the afternoon. In December 2018, Mark Raney retired after 41 years in the radio industry.

On June 1, 2018 KZEL returned to classic rock.[7][8]


KZEL-FM programming is also carried on a series of broadcast translator stations to extend or improve the coverage area of the station.

Broadcast translators of KZEL-FM
Call sign Frequency
City of license ERP
Class FCC info
K244DL 96.7 Cottage Grove, Oregon 250 D FCC FM Query
K257EB 99.3 Riddle, Oregon 10 D FCC FM Query
K271BL 102.1 Roseburg, Oregon 62 D FCC FM Query


  1. ^ Nelson, Bob (June 2, 2009). "Call Letter Origins". Vol. 238. The Broadcast Archive. Archived from the original on February 18, 2016. Retrieved June 21, 2009.
  2. ^ "Radio locator: Eugene, Oregon". Theodric Technologies LLC. 2012. Retrieved March 10, 2012.
  3. ^ "Station Information Profile". Arbitron. Retrieved June 21, 2009.
  4. ^ The Register Guard, January 21, 1967
  5. ^ The Register Guard, March 12, 1971
  6. ^ The Register Guard, March 30, 2006
  7. ^ "96.1 KZEL Rocks - :15a".
  8. ^ "96.1 KZEL Rocks - :15b".