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KSL radio celebrates 90 years

Published: Friday, May 4 2012 5:39 p.m. MDT

KSL was the proving ground for such local radio icons as Danny Kramer, who was on the air at KSL from 1972 to 1984 and became one of Utah's best-known radio personalities. Bob Lee, who was a KSL host for more than 23 years starting in 1973, was once known as the "king of evening talk," and eventually moved to middays where he shared time with current KSL legend Doug Wright until 1996.

Over the years, KSL has developed several community-based fundraising programs, including the annual Radiothon benefiting Primary Children’s Medical Center and Quarters for Christmas to help needy children.

The horrific events of Sept. 11, 2001, brought the true importance of local news into view. KSL was the only local Utah station to send reporters to New York City's ground zero.

In addition, today KSL is known as the "Home of the BYU Cougars," and was also the first radio home of the Utah Jazz during the team's first five years in existence. And in 2002, KSL was honored to be the official radio station for the Olympic Winter Games.

On Sept. 3, 2005, KSL began simulcasting on 102.7 FM, making the station the first Utah radio news outlet on the FM dial and the first station in Utah to simulcast on both AM and FM.

In an effort to expand its audience demographic, the station launched two successful local talk shows —the Nightside Project in July 2006 and The Browser in October 2010.

Over the years, KSL has partnered with its television reporters to expand its reach and bolster its news coverage. It's something few other stations can boast, said John Hollenhorst, KSL-TV reporter and frequent KSL radio contributor

"I doubt there is another station that has the tradition of news that (KSL) has," he said. "It makes me proud that I've been part of a little piece of that."

Scott Seeger, co-host of "Utah's Afternoon News" along with Maria Shilaos, joined KSL in 1982. He said so much as changed over the years, but the guiding principle of the station has remained constant — providing a quality news product.

"In this business, you've got a font row seat to history," he said, recalling one of the first stories he ever covered, the implantation of the first artificial heart into Barney Clark at University Hospital.

"Hopefully, we can convey those things in a comprehensive way," Seeger said. "Just to be a part of that has been amazing."

Doug Wright, a 34-year KSL veteran, said, "Everyone (should) feel an ownership of, a connection with KSL. From day one, the goal of this broadcast facility — even as it has expanded into television and online — has been to serve the community … (so they can) have a voice, be entertained and always count on KSL being there."

E-mail: jlee@desnews.com, Twitter: JasenLee1

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