Those who grew up in Lewistown, Montana when I did will definitely recognize those call letters, although we listed to the AM version back then (AM 1520).
Here's a little detail from the KOMA website that should shake up some memories in you Lewistown boomers.
During the 1950’s, television was forcing radio into a period of change. The old radio shows were quickly fading into the past. Something called “Top 40” with “Rock ‘N Roll” music was the latest trend in radio. Changing with the times was KOMA. On May 1,1958, KOMA ended its long affiliation with CBS. The station affiliated for a brief period with NBC, but station management decided KOMA would be more effective as an independent.
KOMA began the first mobile news coverage by a radio station in Oklahoma City in 1958, and also became a true “Rock” radio station during this time when it was purchased by the Storz Broadcasting Company. It is interesting to note some important points about Storz Broadcasting, the “top 40” concept of radio, and the format system employed by most successful radio stations was developed by Todd Storz and Gordon McClendon who owned stations all over America including KLIF in Dallas and KILT in Houston.
Todd Storz became the President of Storz Broadcasting Company until his death in 1964. His innovative spirit and feeling for the public was carried on by corporation president, Robert B. Storz. The Storz chain of stations consisted of KOMA, Oklahoma City, WHB, Kansas City, WTIX, New Orleans, WDGY, Minneapolis, KXOK, St. Louis, and WQAM, Miami. All of these radio facilities served their communities with the finest in contemporary broadcasting.
In 1961, the KOMA studios and transmitter were permanently combined at one site on the south side of Oklahoma City. KOMA then became a pioneer totally automated station for a period of three years. In 1964, it was determined that KOMA could better serve the public by returning to “live” programming. Automation proved to be too sterile and impersonal, so “personality” was returned to KOMA.
Throughout the 60’s and 70’s, KOMA was the favorite of teens all across the western US. With the big 50,000-watt signal and the relatively few rock-n-roll radio stations across the plains, KOMA was the main station for the hits. KOMA (along with handful of other legendary stations including 890 WLS, Chicago; 1090 KAAY, Little Rock; 1060 WNOE, New Orleans; 770 WABC, New York; 800 CKLW, Windsor/Detroit; and 1100 WKYC, Cleveland) could be heard on car radios, in homes, and everywhere a kid could tune in. Often teens in New Mexico, Arizona, Wyoming, Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska, and other western states would eagerly await sunset when the mighty 1520 would come booming through with the newest hits of the day. They would sit in their cars on hilltops, turn it up at parties, or fall asleep with the radio next to their beds as they listened to Chuck Berry, the Supremes, Paul Revere and the Raiders, and the Beatles. Soldiers in Viet Nam even reported tuning in KOMA to give them a little feeling of being back home.
Led through the 60’s by Program Directors Dean Johnson, Dale Wehba, and Perry Murphy, some of the best-remembered DJ’s spun the hits each day and night. Charlie Tuna, Dale Wehba, Don McGregor, Paul Miller, John David, Chuck Dann, J. Michael Wilson, Johnny Dark, Buddy Scott, John Ravencroft, and many others were among those who played the hits from the studios in Moore, Oklahoma. And everyone remembers “Yours Truly KOMA” and the “kissing tone.” This was definitely an era where radio was fun. It was more than just the music. It was a magical blend of personality, jingles, contests, and fun mixed with the greatest music that defined the era and continues to live today.
These were considered by many to be the best years of radio. And for baby boomers across the western US, KOMA was king.