Call Letters: KLRX
City of License: Lee's Summit, MO
Format: Sat. Contemporary Christian (K-Love)
Owner: Educational Media Foundation
WIBW-FM 1986 legal ID
1961-196? - WIBW-FM - Country/Farm/Classical - Licensed to Topeka, KS
WIBW-FM existed from 1947 to 1950, and possibly beyond, on 102.5 mHz. The station signed on 97.3 mHz September 1, 1961, under Stauffer's ownership. WIBW-FM partially simulcasted its AM station, for farm programming. WIBW-FM signed on at 6am, and signed off at midnight. They also played classical music for a time. The original general manager said they just wanted to secure the frequency, not knowing FM would become more profitable eventually.
1960s-1989 - WIBW-FM - Top 40 - "Rock 97 / 97 FM" - Licensed to Topeka, KS
WIBW-FM ran the automated TM Stereo Rock format in the 1970s as "Rock 97." This automated format only required two reel-to-reel sources if small radio stations were under budget constraints. WIBW-FM had a pretty good following as a Top 40 station, but there were three others in the small Topeka market at the time.
1989-2002 - WIBW-FM - Country - "97 Country" - Licensed to Topeka, KS
The following for WIBW-FM became even bigger when they flipped to country in 1989. WIBW-FM scored wide margins at the top of the ratings, sometimes doubling up the competition. Morris Communications bought the station in 1994. In order to get 97.3 KCSX from Moberly, MO, into the Kansas City market, WIBW agreed to move to 94.5, which they did in September 2002.
2003-2005 - KZPL - Adult Alternative "97.3 the Planet"
After many delays, KCSX finally signed on in January of 2003 with a Beatles stunt, then the Rolling Stones, and many other artists. At midnight on February 10th, KCSX signed on the real format in a very unassuming fashion. Union Broadcasting of Kansas City and First Broadcasting of Dallas bought joint ownership in the station, with Union as the majority owner. The FCC approved the KZPL calls a few weeks after sign-on. The start-up didn't come easy, with the computer in Dallas often switching to its own program cluster (like hip-hop, Aerosmith, and liners for "Metal 97.3" all at once). Randy Miller started doing mornings, and castoffs from other area stations filled in the rest. Miller eventually left. Union quickly bought full control of the station. When Union obtained Royals broadcasts for WHB, they used KZPL to simulcast games beginning at 7:00 or later.
The format itself drifted between Modern AC, Adult Alternative, and straight-ahead alternative before settling on a younger-leaning Adult Alternative (if that makes sense) with the slogan "World Class Rock". KZPL used the consultants of KBCO, KINK and other AAA stations. With the Planet hanging around at 19th in the 12+ ratings, one could tell it wouldn't last. The station became an exclusively online entity after the 2005 format change.
2005-2007 - KCXM - Hard Album Rock "97.3 Max FM"
On September 16th, KZPL flipped to a hard classic AOR format, sort of a combination of the gold elements of KQRC and a lot of KYYS. They began airing Mancow's syndicated show ten days after the format flip. Murphy Wells, formerly of KQRC, landed at KCXM as well. Under the previous format, Union simulcasted Royals games that started at 7:00 or later. Under the new format, this continued. However, the rock format lasted fewer days than the previous format. When the calendar reached 2007, the wheels were already in motion for another change.
2007-2007 - KCXM - ESPN Sports
On January 3rd, KCXM played "Selling the Drama" by Live, then aired the Sugar Bowl. That was their flip to ESPN Sports. The only local hosts retained were Kenny and Ozone for afternoons.
2007-current - KLRX - Sat. Contemporary Christian (K-Love)
ESPN didn't last a full year. The Educational Media Foundation bought KCXM in late November 2007 and assumed control December 1st. Union Broadcasting briefly resurrected 97.3 the Planet for a few hours on November 30th before joining the K-Love network at midnight. KLRX has a local public affairs program on Sunday at 7:30 p.m.