History of Algona Radio
In 1956, KLGA AM 1600 began broadcasting under the management of Jim Wycore. 5 years later, in 1961, the radio station was purchased by George Allen who would go on to own and operate KLGA for 32 years. Under Allen’s management, KLGA grew into the staple of our community that has been a part of the lives of generations of listeners across the region. Allen purchased an FM transmitter and obtained FCC licensing to broadcast and in 1970, KLGA 92.7 FM went on the air. The next year, Allen hired a young broadcasting school student named Al Lauck, who would be the voice of Kossuth County for 50 years and still hosts the morning programming today.
Upon Allen’s retirement in 1993, the station was purchased by Mark Hedberg of Hedberg Radio Group, Mason City, Iowa, and was managed by Bob Ketchum who stayed with KLGA until his retirement in 2017. Under Ketchum’s leadership, KLGA saw a change to an Adult Contemporary music format on 92.7 FM and a Classic County format on 1600 AM, as well as the addition of staff members Bernie Merrill in 1994 and Mary Ludwig in 1999. Ludwig has remained with KLGA since that time, and currently serves as the company’s sales manager. Merrill left KLGA in 1997 to take the position of news director at KDSN radio in Denison, Iowa.
The radio station was purchased from Hedberg Radio Group in 1999 by Norman Waitt, Jr., of Waitt Radio, a division of Gold Circle Entertainment, Omaha, NE. In 2004, Waitt Radio merged with NRG Media, Cedar Rapids, IA.
During NRG’s ownership, Bob Ketchum recruited Brian Wilson in 2008 as the station’s sports director. Wilson went on to become the station’s news director, and continues to provide timely, trustworthy news coverage for KLGA. Also in 2008, the company launched algonaradio.com which provides news, weather, sports, and community information, and offers live streaming of their broadcasts. Bernie Merrill returned to KLGA in 2011 as a marketing specialist. Wanting to expand their listenership, in 2015, the company launched KLGZ 98.5 FM/1600 AM Home Country Radio and switched to a Hot Country format.
Doyle and Carolyn Becker of Riverfront Broadcasting, Yankton, SD, purchased the stations from NRG Media in 2015, and brought many exciting changes to the company. That same year, Tasha Bierstedt was hired as the sales assistant, and Mike Vandenhemel began as an announcer hosting the afternoon radio programming. The Beckers made the decision in 2017 to move the radio station from its former site 3 miles west of Algona to the renovated location where the offices and studios currently reside at 311 E Nebraska Street in downtown Algona. Later that year, Bob Ketchum retired, and Bernie Merrill was promoted to the position of general manager. KLGA/KLGZ’s newest on-air talent, sports director Tyler Lance, joined the company in 2020.