KOZN is a sports talk station in Omaha, Nebraska. The station broadcasts at 1620 kHz on the AM dial. It is owned by NRG Media, headquartered in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Its studios are located at Dodge Street and 50th Avenue in Midtown Omaha, and its transmitter site is located in Bellevue, Nebraska.
|Broadcast area||Omaha, Nebraska|
|Branding||1620 The Zone|
|Slogan||Omaha's Sports Radio|
|Power||10,000 watts day|
1,000 watts night
|Callsign meaning||K Omaha ZoNe|
|Affiliations||Fox Sports Radio,|
CBS Sports Radio
|Owner||NRG Media |
(NRG License Sub, LLC)
|Sister stations||KMMQ, KOIL, KZOT, KQKQ-FM, KOOO, KOPW|
The station originally signed on as KAZP, an expanded band station of KOIL 1180, owned by Mitchell Broadcasting, in September 1999. KOZN carries Creighton University Basketball and Baseball, Westwood One NFL Football and NCAA Basketball and University of Nebraska-Omaha Basketball. KOZN originates and produces all game broadcasts of the NCAA Men's College World Series, held each June in Omaha, and distributed nationally by Westwood One. Play by play is provided by eight-time Nebraska Sportscaster of the Year Kevin Kugler. KOZN streams most of its programming on its website .
Some of the station's first local hosts were:
The original morning team of John Desjardins and Mike Steele, aka "Louie & The Animal" was called The Cage. It was replaced by the Bruno-Golic Morning Show when the station debuted the ESPN Radio full-time lineup. The current morning show is hosted by Gary Sharp and former Nebraska football I-Back Damon Benning.
The current afternoon show, Unsportsmanlike Conduct, began with Kevin Kugler and Bob Bruce in 2000, and has been on the air continually since. Mike'l Severe (former reporter for KETV Channel 7) was added after Bruce left the station. Kevin Kugler left the show in July 2012 to assume new duties with Westwood One and the Big 10 Network. John Bishop, formerly of sister station KLIN in Lincoln, Nebraska joined Mike'l Severe as co-host of "Unsportsmanlike Conduct" in August 2012. John Bishop and Mike'l Severe were named to the list of the "Top 30 Sports Talk Hosts in America" in 2012 by Radio INK magazine. Josh Peterson replaced Mike'l Severe when he left the station to join the Omaha World-Herald. Matt Schick, former host of the morning show "Schick and Nick" with former Creighton Bluejay Nick Bahe announced that he has taken a job with ESPNU. Nick Bahe is now the solo host of "Game Time" from 11:00am to 2:00pm weekdays.
Kugler is an eight-time recipient of the Nebraska Sportscaster of the Year award and is currently the play by play voice for Westwood One Radio Networks NFL Sunday Night Football, national NCAA College Game of the Week broadcasts and NCAA Basketball.
1620 The Zone broadcasts a number of local shows including the Great Outdoor Radio Show with Greg Wagner of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Saturdays from 9:00am to 10:00am; the Hitting the Hardwoods High School Basketball Show with Dave Shillinglaw and former Husker and NBA standout Erick Strickland during the high school basketball season; and The Golf Hour with Dave Shillinglaw during the summer.
As of February 1, 2011, 1620 The Zone discontinued its affiliation with ESPN Radio . It is now an independent station picking up a lot of programming from Fox Sports Radio, Compass Media Networks and Westwood One Radio Networks. Both the morning show Sharp and Benning, from 7:00am to 11:00 am, "Game Time with Nick Bahe, from 11:00 to 2:00pm and Unsportsmanlike Conduct, from 2:00pm to 6:00pm, will remain the foundation of the Zone's weekday schedule.
- Korbelik, Jeff. "Bishop leaving KLIN for Omaha station; Sharp returning to state". Newspaper. Lincoln Journal Star. Retrieved 2012-07-17.