KXNO (1460 kHz) is a commercial AM radio station in Des Moines, Iowa. KXNO is owned by iHeartMedia, Inc., and airs a sports radio format. KXNO's studios are located in Des Moines, while its 3-tower transmitter array is located on Northeast Broadway Avenue near Capitol Heights.
Weekday mornings and afternoons feature local sports shows. In middays, syndicated shows from Dan Patrick and Colin Cowherd are heard. Nights and weekends, the station carries programming from the Fox Sports Radio Network. KXNO serves as the flagship station of the Iowa Wild in the American Hockey League (AHL). It broadcasts St. Louis Cardinals baseball games and Minnesota Vikings NFL games. It also carries Iowa State University women's basketball and coaches' shows.
The station's roots can be traced back to KSO ("Keep Serving Others"), which began broadcasting from Clarinda, Iowa, on November 2, 1925. On June 26, 1931, the Cowles family, publishers of the Des Moines Register and Tribune, bought KSO. They moved the station to Des Moines on November 5, 1932.
KSO became an NBC Blue Network affiliate, carrying its schedule of dramas, comedies, news, sports, soap operas, game shows and big band broadcasts during the "Golden Age of Radio. At that time, the station broadcast on 1370 kHz with 250 watts daytime and 100 watts at night and had its studios in the newspaper's building.
After several frequency changes during the station's early years, KSO moved from 1320 to 1430 AM on March 17, 1935. KRNT radio took over KSO's old frequency, while KSO replaced the Cowles-owned KWCR in Cedar Rapids. KSO changed frequencies one last time as part of the North American Regional Broadcasting Agreement of 1941, moving from 1430 to 1460 AM. KSO and KRNT were both owned by the Cowles family until 1944, when they sold KSO after the FCC ruled that one company could not own two radio stations in the same market.
In 1994, the station became KDMI, broadcasting religious and Spanish language programming. Clear Channel Communications acquired KDMI in 2000. On January 1, 2001, KDMI became KXNO and adopted its current sports radio format. KXNO had two direct competitors: AM 940 KXTK (now KPSZ, 940 AM) and FM 107.1 KJJC (now KNWI). Both stations changed formats by mid-2003. KXNO now competes with 1700 KBGG "The Champ," a CBS Sports Radio affiliate, and AM 1350 KRNT, known as ESPN Radio 1350 Des Moines.
On January 14, 2020, KXNO laid off its programming director, a producer, and four on-air personalities as part of a larger wave of layoffs by iHeartMedia due to a corporate restructuring. The layoffs included its morning hosts Travis Justice and Heather Burnside, and afternoon drive hosts Chris Williams and Ross Peterson. The layoffs were met with a negative response: in solidarity with their colleagues, fellow KXNO hosts Andy Fales and Keith Murphy protested the layoffs by cancelling their show for the day, and encouraged local sponsors to threaten boycotts of the station. Fales told Rolling Stone that the threat of the station's programming of local interest being replaced by nationally-syndicated personalities, with no adequate alternative available, was a disservice to the region's "passionate sports fans". The layoffs also generated criticism from listeners via social media.
On January 16, 2020, the station's general manager Joel McCrea announced that iHeartMedia had given him permission to reinstate the employees. In addition, it was announced that KDXA would drop its alternative rock format and become an FM simulcast of KXNO.
Larry Cotlar and Marty Tirrell Feud
During 2008 and 2009, a feud brewed between morning show host Larry Cotlar and afternoon drive host Marty Tirrell. Tirrell and his radio partner, Ken Miller, had been critical of Cotlar's perceived bias towards the Drake University Bulldogs. They were also critical of Cotlar's interview style of "lobbing softball questions" to his guests.
On March 20, 2009, things boiled over in the KXNO studios as Tirrell initiated a verbal tirade, using harsh words that was heard briefly on the air. They included the "F" word a dozen times, mostly by Tirrell, who at times seemed to be on the verge of a breakdown. The two were suspended for a week as a result, with The Dan Patrick Show temporarily taking its time slot.
On March 25, both hosts, as well as the board operator, Geoff Conn, were fired from their positions. FCC complaint reports were filed March 25 from an anonymous source. Tirell's weekly sports commentary for CBS affiliate Channel 8 KCCI, Mouth of the Midwest, was also cancelled. Cotlar later apologized to Clear Channel to and the station's listeners for the incident.
Cotlar's morning slot was filled by Jon Miller, the sports director of sister station WHO, and Steve Deace, who hosted an afternoon talk show on WHO and previously hosted an afternoon show on KXNO.
- KXNO's website
- KSO historical artifacts from DesMoinesBroadcasting.com
- Query the FCC's AM station database for KXNO
- Radio-Locator Information on KXNO
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for KXNO