Happy Birthday to Grand Junction’s 99.9 KEKB
Today, (May 23) is a special day for a number of people who may not even realize it. I'll admit I was one of them. This day marks the 33rd birthday of radio station KEKB-FM.
I won't bombard you with all the details of the last 33 years, but a few tidbits of information are important.
KEKB signed on the air on May 23, 1984, under the ownership of Dick and Jan Maynard. The station's call letters, except for the required K as the first letter, are the first initials of Maynard's three daughters, Erin, Krista, and Becca.
The original 600 square foot studio was in a small strip mall along the highway in Fruita. There were less than 10 employees when the fledgling station went on the air.
According to a Facebook post for the station's 30th anniversary in 2014, owner Dick Maynard said,
Starting out 350k in debt, 6 months later, through my enlightened leadership, we were 650k in the hole. It all worked out. Thanks to an incredible staff KEKB grew to be one of our country's great small market radio stations."
Over the years, KEKB has been recognized numerous times locally, statewide, and nationally for community involvement and entertainment.
My personal story starts in January 1986 as a Mesa State College senior intern during my final semester before graduating. Before the semester ended, Dick and Jan Maynard offered me a full-time position then mentored and taught me how to have a successful radio career. There's a lot more, but I will save that for another day.
As KEKB flourished, it was necessary to move from the small Fruita location to the building that currently houses the station at 315 Kennedy Avenue. The original building consisted of only what is now the studios and a few offices.
Wanting to bring more great radio to Grand Junction, the Maynards signed on KOOL 107.9 (KBKL-FM) in 1993 and a couple of years later, Mix 104.3 (KMXY-FM).
As the operation grew over the years, so did the need for space. Rather than move, the facility has had a number of remodels and expansions. One of those included building a large reception area to link the existing building to one next door.
The Maynards had the opportunity to sell the stations in 1998 and by 1999 the three stations were owned by Cumulus Media who also purchased two additional Grand Junction stations, KEXO-AM and KKNN-FM (95 Rock).
In 2012, Townsquare Media who currently own the five stations purchased them from Cumulus.
As for me, I'm blessed to have been a part of many of the years KEKB has been on the air. These days, I focus primarily on KOOL 107.9, a station I'm excited to say I helped get on the air.
Still, KEKB has a special place in my heart. It was my first real radio job and working for and learning from owners Dick and Jan Maynard gave me the passion for making this my career.
There are many other great people who have graced the stations both on and off the air over the years who have been friends and mentors. Some have moved to other places around the world, taken other jobs both in and out of radio, and a few who's time on earth has passed.
They are all a part of the 33-year history and legacy of KEKB-FM. Happy birthday. I'm proud to still be a part of it.