To put up a brand-new radio tower for a new radio station is not easy. Engineering studies had to be done to determine a precise location. The right broadcast equipment had to be ordered.
For Mid-Coast radio there were special challenges. The tower had to be located in an area where broadcasting from it would not interfere with other radio/TV stations, and aviation radio channels.
After spending hours pouring over maps, and driving around Kansas City, Woody Crane (former chief engineer of radio and TV for WGN) found only a small area where the tower could be located on the border between Kansas City and Independence, Missouri.
After the potential site was located, a map was drawn in October, zoning yet had to be approved, and soil-studies had to be done.
KKFI’s transmitter site was originally located in an auto-salvage yard on Blue Ridge Boulevard, but moved to Blue Summit – an unincorporated area – after neighbors living across the street from the junk yard complained about the tower “hurting their property values”
After finding the site, the problem became erecting a building. Mid-Coast Radio’s Gil Werner came up with an innovative solution – using the trailer end of a semi, put up on cinder blocks for the transmitter housing. Throughout the years, this solution worked, except it required constant maintenance due to roof-leaks, air conditioning issues, and age.
Eventually, KKFI went on the air at 100,000 watts power, and would cover a large area from Topeka, Kansas; to St. Joseph, Missouri; to Columbia, Missouri.
In 2011, KKFI’s transmitter was on its last legs, and money was raised to replace it. A celebration was held at the KKFI studios at 39th and main, and the assistant mayor pulled the switch to dedicate the new equipment.
To raise some of the funds to pay for a new transmitter KKFI had fundraisers, including one with Jim Hightower who visited Kansas City to help with the efforts.