KFAB (1110 AM) is a 50,000 watt clear channel news and talk radio station licensed to Omaha, Nebraska. The station is owned by iHeartMedia, Inc.. It provides a strong signal to most of eastern Nebraska during the day, and at least grade B coverage as far as Kansas City, Topeka, Sioux City and Des Moines. At night, the station's signal reaches most of the western half of North America. KFAB's transmission towers are located southeast of Papillion, while its studios are located on Underwood Avenue in Omaha.
KFAB is licensed by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to broadcast in the HD Radio (hybrid) format.
KFAB was licensed in Lincoln in 1924. The station's call sign was issued sequentially by the United States Department of Commerce and has no meaning. The station operated on 770 kHz and then 780 kHz, in an unusual shared-time arrangement with Chicago's co-channel WBBM.
KFAB switched network affiliation from NBC to CBS the week of January 5, 1932. Beginning in 1939, both stations synchronized their carrier frequencies via a telephone line that ran from the WBBM transmitter outside Chicago to the KFAB site near Lincoln, thus providing a nearly coast-to-coast CBS signal on that frequency.
In 1948, the station moved to Omaha and to the 1110 kHz frequency so that WBBM could boost its power to 50,000 watts on 780 kHz. KFAB also boosted its power to 50,000 watts, allowing it to still be heard with city-grade strength in Lincoln. However, at night it only provides a grade B signal to the Iowa side of the Omaha market because it must direct its signal north-south (via a three-tower array) to protect WBT in Charlotte, North Carolina, another clear-channel station located on the same frequency. Even with this restriction, it still reaches most of the western United States.
It became Nebraska's first 24-hour radio station in 1951. In 2005, KFAB became the first Nebraska radio station broadcasting in HD.
In 1948, while still an undergraduate at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Johnny Carson worked at KFAB writing and doing shows.
KFAB is host to such national shows as Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Buck Sexton and Coast-to-Coast AM. KFAB also broadcasts local radio shows hosted by Gary Sadlemyer, Jim Rose, Scott Voorhees, Chris Baker, and Thor Schrock.
From the beginning, KFAB has delivered news, weather, ag information and traffic reports. In the station's hey day of the 1960's and 70's, it was made famous by legendary newscaster Walk Kavanaugh's school closing reports. It was believed that virtually every school aged child in the area would listen intently as Kavanaugh reported which districts were cancelled and which were not on snowy mornings.
For most of the 60's, 70's, 80's and 90's, KFAB dominated the Omaha market and according the most publications had a larger audience share than any medium, large or major market station in the USA.
From 1926 to 2015--except for a short break from 1996 to 2001--KFAB was the home of Nebraska Cornhuskers sports. After 1948, it shared flagship status with Lincoln's KOLN/KLIN. However, in February 2015, the University and its marketing partner moved the broadcasts to KXSP. School officials had long felt chagrin that KFAB was not willing to air all Olympic sports frequently moving the non football and men's basketball games to KFFF-FM KFFF. Unlike KXSP, KFAB continues to be the highest rated station in the Omaha/Council Bluffs/Lincoln markets as measured by persons 12+ In addition, KFAB and its parent company insisted that they be allowed to carry the game broadcasts on its digital stream, KFAB.com which was something the University would not allow any of its affiliated radio stations.
In addition to Johnny Carson, KFAB was and continues today to be the home of the state's most popular personalities. From "Mr. Football" Lyell Bremser, Ken Hedrick, John Coleman, Walt Kavanaugh, "Texas" Mary, Gary Sadlemyer and Jim Rose, most if not all are inducted into the Nebraska Broadcasters Hall of Fame.
Sadlemyer, a Minnesota native celebrated his 40th anniversary on the station in December, 2016 and continues as the legendary morning show host. One of the most respected and liked media personalities in Nebraska, Sadlemyer is best known for his quick wit and authentic impersonations of local and national celebrities and politicians.