February 16, 2023
A Century of News, Ag, Talk and Sports with KFEQ
DEFINITION: talking in an educated and refined manner.
In February, more than a century ago, one of our city’s longest-running storytellers was born.
KFEQ, established by the Department of Commerce on Feb. 16, 1923, took to the radio air that same week with an afternoon broadcast to kick off its decades of service, news, talk and community to the St. Joseph region.
In fact, KFEQ has been a presence for so long that its 200-watt transmitter predates even the creation of the Federal Communications Commission.
It’s a name that’s come to mean talk, sports and news, as well as the farm reports, with trusted honesty and consistency. Founder John Scroggin isn’t one of St. Joseph’s own, but was an engineering student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. When a case of the measles meant he had to return home to Oak, Neb., Scroggin started having some creative fun with this new platform they called radio. The broadcasts Scroggin shared were part of a homemade ham radio, and later his home, where he featured ag, news and music.
Three years after its founding, a few St. Joseph area legendary businesses – namely, the St. Joseph Grain Exchange and the St. Joseph Livestock Exchange, working with the St. Joseph Booster Club, talked Scroggin into planting that station here in St. Joseph.
The rest, as they say, is history. But it’s also the future.
Fast forward several decades and several hundred watts. KFEQ operates today with a 5,000 watt directional antennae at 680 AM that serves not only listeners in St. Joseph, but across northwest Missouri, northeast Kansas, southeast Nebraska and southwest Iowa. The show lineup features well-known names: Red Eye Radio, America in the Morning, Dave Ramsey, Agriculture of America and the Midday Farm Report. From the KFEQ website, listeners can tune in live all day long, and enjoy access to weather, contests and community happenings that would have put Mr. Scroggin in a complete information tizzy.
KFEQ has served as the voice of so many core stories of our region, ranging from Missouri Western State University, the Kansas City Chiefs and the Kansas City Royals. The KFEQ Hotline, with Barry Birr as the show’s host, has remained a popular part of the programming, too.
It’s about communication. It’s about the magic of radio. It’s about history and dedication. But mostly, it’s about community. Thank you for a century of service, KFEQ, and all you uncommon characters who tune in daily.
Soon guests and residents could enjoy even more, both inside and outside, as a 1/2 cent sales tax increase hits the ballot, with revenues dedicated to renovation and enhancements of the city’s parks system. If approved, the tax increase would generate an additional $5 to 6 million dollars per year and could be shared across dozens of projects.
Born in 1783 to a St. Louis family of merchants and fur traders, Joseph Robidoux would become the founder of St. Joseph, MO.
When it’s time for a coffee fix, St. Joseph’s options range from the eclectic to the trendy to the fast and familiar. The coffee culture in St. Joseph continues to expand and thrive, fueled by historic roasters, young entrepreneurs and locals who want to open the doors to a comfortable piece of the city’s relaxed vibe.
What does the road to a dream look like? If it’s a sports dream, there are early, dark mornings – lacing up shoes before any lights flicker on the block. There are late nights, pushing past physical and emotional limits, even when it seems out of reach. There are countless sacrifices at every turn. And there are often amazing mentors and coaches, right there to say, “We don’t quit. Not today.”
It’s not paintball. It’s not even a water balloon fight. It’s foam warfare, and there’s a good chance you’ll want to join the fun.