KGFX History



Our History


August 13, 1912 Dana McNeil, a career railroad man, is awarded a Class 5, Special Amateur License for a land radio station assigned with  call letters 9ZP.  Authorized for using a spark gap for code transmissions.




Dana McNeil’s General Amateur Radio License awarded June 1, 1916.  Assigned call letters 9CLS.  Occasional voice transmissions begin.





Station 9CLS is located, in the McNeil home, on West Pleasant Drive in Pierre. Also, Dana marries Ida Anding.


The McNeils move into a home, in 1924 at 203 West Summit (now Broadway) in Pierre and relocate the 9CLS transmitter to that location.


September 26, 1924


9CLS is “officially” licensed for voice and code transmissions.



August 15, 1927 Call Letters KGFX awarded.  Operation of 1180 kilocycles with the power of 200 watts from 6 AM to 6 PM only.


The Federal Radio Commission is established by the Radio Act of 1927.  Prior to the FRC, all licenses were issued by the United States Department of Commerce. 



Undated photos of Ida McNeil, Dana’s wife, sitting behind the KGFX microphone in the early years.


Ida McNeil starts her now famous HOSPITAL REPORTS.


November 11, 1928


Operating frequency is changed to 580 kilocycles.




Bert Nieber, an 8th grader from Pierre, becomes, arguably, the youngest regular advertiser on KGFX and on radio anywhere, at the time.  He trades weekly issues of the Saturday Evening Post, Ladies Home  Journal, and the Country Gentleman to Mrs. McNeil in exchange for a review of the magazine on the air with a name mention.



The National Weather Bureau closes the Pierre Reporting Station.    KGFX takes over the reporting of weather conditions, sending them to Chicago.  Balloons are flown for ceiling measurements and dew points are calculated, wind speed, relative humidity, barometric pressure, and temperature are included with each report.  Reports were made every 6 hours.  


October, 1931


A request to change the frequency to 630 kilocycles is filed and granted.


KGFX becomes a full fledged commercial radio station.  Broadcast day includes music, news, and weather.  Sells advertising time for the first time.  A full-time operator and engineer was now a requirement for the station. 





KGFX begins broadcasting all home games of the Pierre Junior League baseball team. 

The Federal Communications Commission is established by the Communications Act of 1934, replacing the FRC as the regulatory body for radio.. 


October 15, 1936


Dana McNeil passes away, leaving Ida as the sole owner/manager of KGFX.

KGFX assists the Military Air Base in Pierre in getting planes home during poor weather.  



Governor Harlan Bushfield and two unidentified men on KGFX. (1940)

McNeil Home/KGFX in 1949.



KGFX is awarded for it’s 40 years in broadcasting, by United Press in 1956.


Undated photo of Ida McNeil behind the KGFX microphone. 




KGFX Radio is sold to Black Hills Broadcasting Companyowned by Art Jones of Rapid City.   Studios and offices are moved from the house  to the newly-converted 2-stall garage.  A couple of the rooms in the basement of the house are converted into sales offices.


KGFX raises power to her present day output. (10,000 watts) and is  given it’s present day frequency of 1060 kilohertz DA-D.  Transmitter site moved south of Ft. Pierre and two towers are constructed.  




KGFX moves from the former McNeil home to the Sahr Building on the corner of East Capital and Highland.




KGFX Radio is sold to James River Broadcasting, owned by Robert Ingstad.




KGFX Radio makes the move to it’s current home, 214 West Pleasant Drive in Pierre.

1976 KGFX Radio starts broadcasting 24 hours a day (10k-sunrise/1k-sundown) and constructs two additional towers at the transmitter site.



KGFX celebrates her 70th anniversary of serving Central and Western South Dakota in 1986 .  (Chamber of Commerce Business after Hours)


September 1994


KGFX, following her sister stations, “go digital” with the Audiovault audio delivery system.

KGFX starts webcasting sports and special events on the internet in  2004.



KGFX celebrates her 90th anniversary in 2006.