History of KMAJ

In 1945, S. H. Patterson applied to construct a new station in Topeka on 1440. His initial application was for 1,000 watts daytime, 500 watts night. The application was subsequently changed to 5,000 watts fulltime, with a directional antenna. The FCC approved the application in April 1947, but requested that he reduce nightime power to 1,000 watts. The approval was also condition on Mr. Patterson divesting himself of KVAK in Atchison, and they could not operate the station until KVAK moved from 1450 to 1470. KVAK would move to 1470 in August of 1948, and KJAY would sign onto 1440 in March 1949, with a “Middle of the Road” music format. The Studios were established at 908 Kansas Avenue in Downtown Topeka.

In 1955, Patterson sold the station to Robert Rohrs. Rohrs would create a corporation to operate the station, then transfer control of the corporation to Dale Helmers, Edwin Schulz, Joseph McCoskrie, and D. William Overton. In 1960, Helmers purchased Shulz’s share of the corporation, and, in 1961, would sell the station to the Midland Broadcasting Company. Under Midland’s control, KJAY would change call letters to KEWI and adopt a Top-40 format. The studios would move up the street to 700 Kansas Avenue by 1964.In 1970, the studios would be moved out to 7th and Gage Boulevard.

On May 3, 1974, the Coordinating Committee of the Black Community filed petitions to deny renewal of the licenses for all of the commercial radio and television stations in Topeka, including KEWI, KTOP, WREN, and WIBW, on charges of discrimination in hiring and the lack of programming for the Black Community. The FCC dismissed all of the petitions and granted all renewals for the stations on June 19, citing the lack of specific evidence. CCBC would petition for reconsideration on July 22, 1974. The petition for reconsideration was denied on March 4, 1975.

In 1980, the station changed calls to KSKX and adopted a Country format. In 1986, the adopted the KEWI calls again, this time with an Oldies format. In 1990, they adopted the KMAJ calls of their FM counterpart and began a news/talk format.

In 1998, Midland would sell its stations to Cumulus.

FM History

KSWT went on-air July 1, 1971. Calls changed to KMAJ c. 1981. Became KMAJ-FM when AM station adopted KMAJ calls.

During the 2000s, Cumulus attempted to enter the Kansas City market by moving KMAJ-FM. At first, they applied to move the tower to Leavenworth county, but the FCC rejected the move on the grounds that it would no longer cover the city of license. Cumulus corrected the defect by applying to change the 107.7 MHz allocation to the Kansas City suburb of Shawnee. The FCC approved the new city of license. However, subsequent to the approval, KMAJ purchased Susquehanna radio, which owned several stations in the Kansas City market. The Susquehanna acquisition eliminated the reason for moving KMAJ-FM. and placed Cumulus over the ownership limits for Kansas City, requiring them to place the station in a trust. To place KMAJ-FM back in the Topeka market, they applied to change the city of license of KMAJ-FM to Carbondale and to change the city of license for KCMO-FM to Shawnee. Both Stations were re-licensed to their respective cities, and KMAJ-FM moved to a new transmitter site, on June 25, 2009.

Technical Facilities

5000 W day, 1000 W night, different directional patterns day and night. Transmitter located near Southeast 29th and Ratner Road southeast of Tecumseh. Studios located at 825 South Kansas Avenue.