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FM Radio Coming to Rugby

By Staff | Jan 22, 2016

KZZJ owner Lila Harstad is bringing Rugby its first FM radio station.

Lila Harstad, owner of Rugby Broadcasters and KZZJ-AM 1450, is bringing Rugby its first FM radio station. Harstad has purchased the allocation and construction permit for KKWZ-FM 95.3 and plans to have the new station on the air this spring.

Harstad purchased the FM station to give area listeners another music choice and to provide the region with more local sports coverage. “With sports, our primary focus has been on covering Rugby athletics,” Harstad said, “but with two stations there will be times when we can cover sporting events in two places at once, in towns like Leeds, Towner, Maddock, Rolla, Rolette and Velva.”

The KKWZ-FM music format will be adult contemporary, featuring artists like Adele, Billy Joel, Maroon 5, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry and Bruno Mars. KZZJ-AM primarily airs country music.

News, sports and weather programming on KKWZ-FM will have the same local focus as KZZJ-AM. Harstad said some local programming will be shared and some will be exclusive to each station.

For advertisers, Harstad said the combined AM-FM stations will potentially double listening audiences. Advertising will be sold as a package on both stations. Pricing is yet to be determined.

Harstad paid $80,000 for the allocation and construction permit and will invest over $100,000 in an FM antennae, transmitter, transmission lines and broadcast studio. The antennae will be installed on the existing KZZJ-AM tower. She anticipates staffing the new station will require up to five new employees.

When Harstad signed the purchase agreement with Edward Paul De La Hunt this month, she concluded a nine-year quest to bring FM radio to Rugby. The FCC first offered an FM construction permit in Rugby nine years ago. Harstad bid on the permit, but was outbid by De La Hunt, who got FCC permission to move the permit to Crary, N.D.

De La Hunt didn’t use the permit to build a station and eventually offered to sell the permit to Harstad. As a condition of the sale, De La Hunt arranged with the FCC to have the construction permit returned to Rugby.

Harstad, who joined KZZJ-AM as general manager in 1999, purchased the station in 2001. She has 20 years of experience in broadcast radio.

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