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KOA (850 kHz) is a commercial AM radio station licensed to Denver, Colorado. Owned by iHeartMedia, it serves the Denver-Boulder media market. KOA broadcasts a News/Talk/Sports radio format, and is also the flagship station of the Denver Broncos, Colorado Rockies, and Colorado Buffaloes. KOA has studios in Southeast Denver, while the transmitter site is off South Parker Road in Parker.
|Broadcast area||Denver-Boulder, Colorado|
|Slogan||The Voice of Colorado|
|Translator(s)||94.1 K231BQ (Golden)|
94.1 K231AA (Boulder)
|First air date||December 15, 1924|
|ERP||250 watts (translator)|
|Callsign meaning||Klear Over America or KOlorAdo|
|Affiliations||ABC News Radio|
(Citicasters Licenses, Inc.)
|Sister stations||KBCO, KBPI, KHOW, KDFD, KPTT, KRFX, KTCL|
KOA is a Class A clear-channel station, broadcasting at 50,000 watts non-directional, the maximum power permitted by the Federal Communications Commission for AM stations. By day, the station is easily heard around Eastern Colorado, including cities such as Colorado Springs, Pueblo and Fort Collins. With a good radio at night, the signal can be heard over the Central and Western United States, and parts of Canada and Mexico. KOA is nicknamed "the Blowtorch of the West". It is Colorado's primary entry point station for the Emergency Alert System.
As of November 1, 2015, KOA is also heard on 94.1 MHz K231BQ, which is licensed to Golden, Colorado as an FM translator of KBCO-HD3. In addition, KOA also simulcasts on translator K231AA (also on 94.1 MHz), licensed to Boulder.
KOA was first owned by General Electric and began broadcasting on December 15, 1924. The station started with 5,000 watts, and in 1927, increased to 12,500 watts. KOA became an NBC affiliate in 1929, and the network took over operation of the station from GE shortly thereafter. On July 7, 1934, power was raised to the current level of 50,000 watts. In 1941, NBC, which had been operating the KOA and KGO in San Francisco for GE since October 1, 1929, also took over ownership of the stations. NBC continued to own KOA until June 1953 when it sold the station to Metropolitan Television Company, whose principal stockholder was Bob Hope. GE repurchased the station in 1968 and continued to own it until 1983, when it sold KOA to Belo Corporation. In 1987 Jacor Communications purchased the station; Jacor was purchased by Clear Channel Communications in 1999.
Current weekday programming/lineup: "Colorado's Morning News" 5AM-9AM with Co-Hosts/Co-Anchors April Zesbaugh (23 years at KOA) and Colorado native Marty Lenz (previously of KCBS Radio San Francisco), featuring John Morrissey Traffic, Mike Rice Sports, and Pat Woodard Business/Money News. "Logan & Lewis" 9AM-12PM (Dave Logan & Rick Lewis, with longtime Producer/Host Kathy Lee). "Mandy Connell" 12PM-3PM. "Big Al & Jojo" 3PM-7PM https://www.westword.com/news/alfred-williams-koa-show-preview-11464367 "Broncos Country Tonight", with Ryan Edwards & Benjamin Allbright 7PM-11PM. "Coast-to-Coast AM" With George Noory 11PM-3AM. "This Morning" With Gordon Deal 3AM-5AM.
Former Rocky Mountain News columnist Mike Rosen, who retired at the end of 2015, was the long running host of the 1 to 3p.m. show. Rosen is a fiscal conservative and social libertarian who occasionally was a substitute host for Rush Limbaugh. Common Rosen-isms are "tell me where you sit before you tell me where you stand" and "a politician asks what you want, an economist asks what you want more." Rosen's philosophy is reflected in his recommended reading list which includes Ayn Rand, Adam Smith, Paul Johnson and Thomas Sowell.
Other well-known local voices previously heard on KOA include Bob Martin, Don Zimmer, Gus Mircos, Alex Stone, and Steffan Tubbs, Rollye James and George Weber. The late Rick Barber was heard for 30 years on KOA. Consumer advocate Tom Martino and former FEMA official Michael D. Brown were KOA hosts until they switched to sister station KHOW.
Radio host Alan Berg broadcast his talk show from the station, but was shot and killed by members of the white supremacist group The Order on June 18, 1984. Another host from an earlier era was Leigh Kamman, who hosted jazz programs during World War II. Kamman returned to his home state of Minnesota after the war. The Sports Zoo with Dave Logan and Scott Hastings ran for 12 years until Hastings left in April 2005 for the Altitude Sports and Entertainment network. Hastings resumed sports radio broadcasting on KKFN in January 2006 alongside former Denver Broncos lineman Alfred Williams. Ken Hamblin, "The Black Avenger," also hosted a popular and long-running show during the 1980s.
Also in the 1980s, during the weekend evening hours on KOA, Larry Cox, and his dog Wilbur, would host the radio program, The National Recovery Act, a listener-friendly call-in show. A certain topic was announced and people from all over the nation, picking up the KOA signal at night, would call in with their memories. Big band music from the 1930s and 1940s was also played. The program would always end with the song "And So To Bed". In December 1987, Cox began a new radio program, No Place Like Home, broadcast from his home on Chicago Creek. Listeners would often hear the fireplace crackling and Cox's dog, Wilbur, snoring.
In August 2019, KOA announced a series of major changes to its programming launching September 3, 2019, anchored by the new afternoon drive sports program Big Al & JoJo, which is hosted by former Denver Broncos player Alfred Williams (who moved from KKFN). Other local programs on KOA were pushed to different time slots, and Rush Limbaugh's show moved exclusively to recently-launched conservative talk sister station KDFD. As a result of the changes, KOA concurrently dropped the "NewsRadio" branding and began marketing itself as "The Voice of Colorado".
The station was one of ten stations honored at the 2007 NAB Crystal Radio Awards for public service awarded by the National Association of Broadcasters. Winners were honored at the Radio Luncheon on April 17, 2007, during the NAB Show in Las Vegas. The station was named Large Market Station of the Year at the 2008 National Association of Broadcasters' Marconi Radio Awards.
- "KOA-AM Radio Station Coverage Map". radio-locator.com. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
- "KOA is now simulcasting, taking over 94.1FM". The Denver Post. November 1, 2015. Retrieved 28 November 2015.
- http://hdradio.com/station_guides/widget.php?id=22 Archived 2016-08-29 at the Wayback Machine HD Radio Guide for Denver
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1977 page C-24
- "KOA Dedicates 50 Kw" (PDF). Broadcasting. July 15, 1934. Retrieved 7 December 2014.[permanent dead link]
- "KOA Completes Schedule Revamp With Long Awaited Addition Of Alfred Williams". RadioInsight. 2019-08-28. Retrieved 2019-11-05.
- "NAB Announces Crystal Radio Awards Winners". National Association of Broadcasters. 2007-04-17. Archived from the original on 2015-11-07. Retrieved 2018-09-04.
- "KOA-AM NAMED LARGE MARKET STATION OF THE YEAR". National Association of Broadcasters. September 18, 2008. Archived from the original on November 7, 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-27.