Radio station in Columbia, Missouri
  • Columbia, Missouri
Broadcast areaColumbia and VicinityFrequency1400 kHzBrandingKFRU News Talk 1400 AM 98.9 FMProgrammingFormatNews/talkAffiliationsABC News Radio
NBC News Radio
Westwood OneOwnershipOwner
  • Cumulus Media
  • (Cumulus Licensing LLC)
Sister stations
First air date
January 1925Technical information[1]
Licensing authority
FCCFacility ID12396ClassCPower1,000 wattsTranslator(s)98.9 K255DJ (Columbia)Links
Public license information
  • Public file
  • LMS
WebcastListen LiveWebsitewww.kfru.com

KFRU (1400 AM) is a radio station located in Columbia, Missouri. Its programming format consists primarily of news, talk and sports. The station is licensed to Cumulus Media. The station is also audible on translator K255DJ 98.9 FM in Columbia.


KFRU was founded in Bristow, Oklahoma, by E.H. Rollestone, in January 1925. That fall, the station was purchased by Stephens College and moved to Columbia (with Rollestone going on to found KVOO, now KOTV).[2]

On September 24, 1935, the Federal Communications Commission approved transfer of the station from Nelson R. Darragh, of St. Louis, to Luther L. Hill, of Des Moines.[3] Several owners later, the station was purchased by the St. Louis Star-Times newspaper, mostly for its regional broadcast frequency of 630 kHz, later moved to its St. Louis radio station, KXOK. In 1940, KFRU became an affiliate of the Blue Network.[4] The station was assigned its current 1400 kHz frequency in 1941.

Mahlon Aldridge Jr. was appointed manager in 1945, purchasing the station in 1948 in partnership with the publisher of the Columbia Daily Tribune.[4] In 1957, the station's format consisted of a mixture of country music, news and sports.

Aldridge sold his interest to his partner's son in the 1980s, and competition caused the station's audience share to fall. After another change in ownership, KFRU was purchased by a local ownership group headed by Al Germond, who moved the studios into the broadcast complex with their KARO-FM (now KPLA) station. The group formed and purchased additional stations in the Columbia and Jefferson City markets under the name of Premier Marketing Group.

Logo before translator sign on

In 2004, KFRU and the other Premier Marketing Group stations were sold to Cumulus Broadcasting. In August 2017, KFRU applied for an FM translator at 98.9 as part of the FCC's AM revitalization project. The translator signed on for the first time on August 18, 2019.

Network affiliations

ABC Radio Network

When KFRU was purchased by the Star-Times, it became affiliated with the NBC Blue Network, now the ABC Radio Network. KFRU switched to Westwood One News in 2014. After Westwood One ended their newsfeed, KFRU returned to ABC News Radio on August 31, 2020.

Missouri Tiger Network

KFRU was the longtime flagship station of play-by-play broadcasts of Missouri Tiger football and basketball teams. On December 22, 2009, Mizzou Sports Properties (owned by Learfield Sports) announced it would move Tiger broadcasts to Zimmer Radio's mid-Missouri cluster, fronted by 99,000-watt KCMQ, starting in 2010.[5]

With KMOX-AM in St. Louis as a network affiliate, the network has had many regional and national broadcasters providing play-by-play and color commentary for MU sports broadcasts, including:

Former color commentators include Jim Kennedy and Rod Kelly.

St. Louis Cardinals Baseball Network

As of the 2012 Major League Baseball season, the station is no longer a St. Louis Cardinals radio network affiliate; Zimmer Radio's KSSZ replaced KFRU as the Columbia market affiliate. According to previous years' KFRU promotional advertisements, they had been affiliated with the Cardinals for at least 60 years.


  • Peabody Award for Public Service by a Small Station, 1940
  • Missouri Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism, presented to Mahlon Aldridge
  • KFRU awarded the Missouri Broadcasters Association 2015 Station of the Year award. This was the first ever Station of the Year award given by the MBA.
  • KFRU inducted into the Boone County Historical Society's Hall of Fame, October 8, 2015, just days after the station's 90th Anniversary.

Affiliation with the University of Missouri School of Journalism

Prior to the founding of university-owned station KBIA-FM in 1971, KFRU was a primary training ground for broadcast journalism students at the university. Even after this time, the station still employs students and recent graduates; many graduates list the station on their current employment biography pages.

Former KFRU employees in TV/radio

  • Dan Claxton, news director, 2001-2008 - currently features editor, Washington Missourian
  • Eric Engberg, news director, 1963-68 - retired CBS News Washington Correspondent
  • Ben Bradley, host, reporter and news anchor - currently WLS-TV general assignment reporter
  • Dave Hunziker, sports director - currently Oklahoma State Cowboys play-by-play
  • Chris Gervino, sports director - currently KOMU-TV sports director
  • Will Sterrett, board-op - currently KMBZ-FM morning co-anchor
  • Sean Kelley - sports director - currently New Orleans Pelicans play-by-play
  • Ed Kilgore - currently WGRZ-TV sports director
  • Mike Roberts - currently KRCG-TV chief meteorologist
  • Mark Reardon - currently KMOX-AM talk show host
  • John Carney - overnight board-op/host - currently KMOX-AM talk show host
  • Michael Calhoun - currently KMOX-AM news anchor
  • Amy Miller - currently local Morning Edition host at WDET
  • Joe Scialfa - currently Newsradio 620 WTMJ-AM, program director
  • Michael Putney, news director - currently WPLG-TV, Miami political reporter
  • Steve Moore - currently KMOX-AM, vice president of News/Talk, CBS Radio, director of programming and operations
  • Ellen Schenk - currently KMBZ-FM morning co-anchor
  • Larry Zimmer - retired KOA-AM sports director, University of Colorado play-by-play
  • Mark Becker - WSOC-TV reporter
  • Mark Davidson - KSNW-TV sports anchor/reporter
  • Matt Boltz - currently Houston Astros radio network producer/engineer
  • Kevin Larue - currently KSL-AM news and program director
  • RJ McAllister, news - formerly news director at KWTO
  • Jim Fry - currently at WFAA
  • Brian Sussman - currently host at KSFO
  • Paul Hannigan, news director - formerly reporter at KTRH-AM
  • Darren Hellwege - Host of "Morning Edition" and "Thinking Out Loud with Darren Hellwege" on KBIA-FM, Columbia; formerly of KCSC and WWLS, Oklahoma City.
  • Dick (Kettenbrink) Preston - Currently Morning and Noon news anchor at KRCG-TV Jefferson City, Mo.

Other former employees and program hosts

  • James Keown - state capital reporter and Sunday Morning Roundtable contributor - currently incarcerated in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts after being convicted of murdering his wife by poisoning her with antifreeze. Keown was arrested by the United States Marshal's Service in November 2005 during a commercial break on his “Partyline” program on sister-station KLIK in Jefferson City, Mo.[6]
  • Roger Gafke, news director
  • Scott Baker - currently press secretary for Rep. Kenny Hulshof
  • Rod Kelly - Missouri Basketball color commentator
  • Kathy Poppe (Watson)- Constituent Service Director, U.S. Senator John Boozman, former talk host/reporter (KWHN - Fort Smith, Arkansas)
  • Barry Bennett - Currently Director of Communications for Missouri House of Representatives
  • Brian Hauswirth, news director - currently public information officer with the Missouri Department of Corrections
  • Doug Ross
  • Dick Aldrich -Radio Communications for Missouri House of Representatives
  • Chris Lincoln - co-founder of Winnercomm; ABC Sports and ESPN commentator on Thoroughbred racing; former sports host of KTUL-TV, Tulsa
  • Dr. John Williams - host, The Pet Place
  • Bob O'Connell - host, The Garden Spot
  • Ray Rothenberger - host, The Garden Spot (deceased)
  • Stacy Allen - meteorologist
  • Brendan Cosgrove - news - currently Broadcast Associate at Northwestern University
  • Greg Crain - sports (deceased)
  • Leslie Callison - news
  • Judd McIlvain - consumer reporter, worked at KRCG, KTTV, KCBS-TV and CBS 48 Hours.
  • Ara Ayer - reporter for WAAY-TV; producer for Dateline NBC, NBC Nightly News; conflict photographer: World Picture News; commercial director, DP, filmmaker for PBS, Bloomberg TV
  • Anne Steffens - formerly with KMOV, now Director of the Office of Communications of the Archdiocese of St. Louis
  • John Fougere, sportscaster - currently Press Secretary to Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon
  • Robert Loggia - actor
  • Brad Whitworth - sportscaster/announcer - now Sr. Comms Mgr, Strategic Alliances at Cisco Systems
  • Kevin M. Gray - sportscaster and sports director - now President of the Kansas City Sports Commission
  • Tony Messenger - evening show host; was concurrently a Columnist with the Columbia Daily Tribune - now Editorial Page Editor of the Springfield News-Leader
  • Chris Kelly - evening show host; former local and state politician; resigned to accept appointment as Boone County associate circuit judge (retired) - now Democratic candidate for Missouri House of Representatives 24th District
  • Mike Kelly - Morning sports reports; Missouri Men's Basketball play-by-play; Left his full-time job as Missouri Athletic Department Director of Broadcast Operations on May 30, 2007, to join The Insurance Group sales department [1], but will remain as play-by-play announcer. During the David Lile Show on June 29, 2007, it was announced that it was his last day "due to budgetary reasons" with the Cumulus stations (he also provided reports for Jefferson City station KLIK-AM)
  • Dave Schmidt - Weatherman for KOMU TV in Columbia, Mo.
  • Steve Lager- 25 year radio career in Kansas City including mornings at KCIY
  • Dusty Rhodes-the Midnight Mayor
  • Bob Pollack - Sports Director
  • Brad Stephenson - news anchor/reporter

Richard M. Cottam (deceased) - news anchor/reporter 1957–1963; Instructor Dept. of Journalism Univ. of Missouri- Columbia 1956-1963; Co-host "Conversations with Dick and Doris" 1961–1963; NBC News associate Producer Huntley-Brinkley Report 1963–1967; NBC News Election unit 1968-1971


  1. ^ "Facility Technical Data for KFRU". Licensing and Management System. Federal Communications Commission.
  2. ^ Tulsa Radio: KVOO-AM
  3. ^ "KFRU Changes Hands" (PDF). Broadcasting. October 1, 1935. Retrieved 4 November 2014.
  4. ^ a b "KFRU Sale" (PDF). Broadcasting. December 13, 1948. p. 63. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  5. ^ "Mizzou Sports Properties Announces New Mid-Missouri Radio Home For the Tigers: Zimmer Radio Group's KCMQ-FM, KTGR-AM, KWOS-AM, KFAL-AM, KKCA-FM to Carry Games, Coaches' Shows, Other Mizzou Programming for Five Years". CSTV.com. 2009-12-22. Retrieved 2009-12-26.
  6. ^ "DJ charged with murder". Archived from the original on 2015-02-04. Retrieved 2007-08-28.

External links

  • History of KFRU[permanent dead link]
  • Facility details for Facility ID 12396 (KFRU) in the FCC Licensing and Management System
  • KFRU in Nielsen Audio's AM station database
  • Facility details for Facility ID 200847 (K255DJ) in the FCC Licensing and Management System
  • K255DJ at FCCdata.org
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List of radio stations in Missouri
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News/Talk radio stations in the state of Missouri
  • KDKD – Clinton
  • KUKU – Willow Springs
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adult contemporary
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top 40
other radio stations in Missouri
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38°57′52″N 92°18′26″W / 38.96444°N 92.30722°W / 38.96444; -92.30722