From the fifties through the sixties, KRMG featured big band music and news. In the late 1970’s the station moved to a full-service adult contemporary sound. It was in the 80’s that KRMG began to add talk shows at night and by the 90’s the station dropped music altogether and the transition to the current news/talk format. And now in 2020 the station is still the news leader in the Tulsa radio market.
KRMG was founded by Kerr-McGee Oil Company partners Robert S. Kerr and Dean McGee on December 31, 1949. The call sign was chosen to take two letters from the names of the founding owners, KerR and McGee. Kerr was a U.S. Senator who wanted a station that could cover both Tulsa and Oklahoma City. The station was powered by 50,000 watts in the daytime and originally reduced to 10,000 watts at night.
D-Day: Mission Liberation with Richard Dowdell
In preparation for the 50th anniversary of the World War II D-Day invasion, KRMG’s Richard Dowdell traveled to Normandy, France in October 1993. While there, he toured key locations the Allies targeted in the effort to breach Adolf Hitler’s “Atlantic Wall”. Those locations included Utah, Omaha, Gold, and Sword Beaches.
Dowdell was also able to interview veterans and French civilians who experienced that historic day June 6th, 1944.
Upon his return to Tulsa, Dowdell began a months-long search for Oklahoma D-Day vets. He recorded dozens of detailed stories from numerous points of view.
Dowdell reported, wrote, anchored and directed the hour long special that first aired on KRMG on June 6th, 1994. The finished report was enhanced by the technical know-how of KRMG’s Joe Riddle.
Among other honors, D-Day: Mission Liberation earned a special recognition award from the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters.
Oklahoma City Bombing
Tom Hall, a survivor of the Oklahoma City Bombing, April 19, 1995, broke his silence after one year and told us about his experience at the moment of the bombing, his injuries, and his rehabilitation.
KRMG Newsman John Durkee speaking from the scene of the Oklahoma City Bombing, the day after the bombing which happened on April 19th, 1995.
A few days after the bombing, a civil engineer described the cleanup operation as the media viewed the scene from across the street in the Journal Record building.
Paul Harvey talks about the Salvation Army and his hometown of Tulsa.
1959 KRMG Advertisement
A 1959 advertisement promoting sales opportunities for KRMG’s coverage of the University of Oklahoma Sooner football games. The ad was in a sales magazine called “Sponsor”.
KRMG 1950 RCA Edition of AM-FM Broadcast Equipment
On page 46 in the 1950 RCA edition of “AM-FM Broadcast Equipment”, we find “KRMG, Tulsa’s New “Fifty”. KRMG went on the air December 23, 1949, and was owned by All-Oklahoma Broadcast Company. Oklahoma’s Senator Robert Kerr and D. A. McGee of the Kerr-McGee Oil Industries, Incorporated were the principal stockholders. The actual construction period took only four and a half months, creating an antenna system, installing a transmitter and building the transmitter studio, using the very latest in RCA equipment. Those interested in radio stations and in particular KRMG, will find intriguing, detailed information.
KRMG was the dream of Senator Robert Kerr. He requested the station signal be directed toward western Oklahoma, covering 63 of the state’s 77 counties. The Senator died January 1, 1963, but if he were alive today, he would be proud of the technological advances made by the station and the strong position KRMG enjoys in the community today.
USS Oklahoma – WWII KRMG News Series
The USS Oklahoma news series tells the story of the World War II battleship, USS Oklahoma, from its christening to sinking (oddly enough, not at Pearl Harbor as many think). Only the USS Arizona had a higher loss of life. The Oklahoma Survivors held a reunion and John Durkee met with them to gather their fascinating stories. This was before a memorial was created at Pearl Harbor for the USS Oklahoma. One of the survivors featured, Paul Goodyear, later credited the series with sparking Sooner State support in creating a memorial.
The news series, which was written and produced by News Director John Durkee, won a national award from the Radio and Television News Directors Association, and awards from the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters, the Associated Press, and the Oklahoma Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. It aired during morning drive newscasts and during Mid-Day Oklahoma in 2004
June 8, 1974 Tornadoes
June 8, 1974, is a date that lives on in the minds of Oklahomans who lived through the onslaught of tornadoes that ravaged the state.
Tulsa and the surrounding communities felt the effects of the outbreak with 16 deaths being reported in Drumright and two in Tulsa. Including the flooding, these storms produced the costliest natural disaster in the city’s history up to that time.
One of our website listeners has made available this rare recording of KRMG’s coverage.
COVERAGE RECORDING 1974:
Photos: Tulsa World
Glen Condon was the news director for KRMG when it went on the air Christmas Eve, 1949. He was also associated with KAKC in Tulsa-with the “C” standing for Condon. In addition to broadcasting he worked for various newspapers including the Tulsa World. He was involved in many areas of Tulsa civic life including the Parks Department, Tulsa State Fair Board, Tulsa Press Club, the Rotary Club and was a popular public speaker.
This rare recording is of a news broadcast which was heard on what was then KTUL radio in Tulsa, March 8, 1943, the day of the lifting of the ban on pre-sliced bread.
Baseball in Tulsa
Joe Knight of the Spinning Round Table – flashback to when baseball came to Tulsa. 1934
KRMG Old Studio
Newsman Ed Brocksmith says goodbye to the old KRMG studio in the Akdar/Cimarron building.
October 24, 1982 – First newscast from the new KRMG studios at 71st and Yale in Tulsa. Includes the obituary of newsman Don Cummins.
KRMG 50th Anniversary – 1999
Vignettes highlighting the story of the station.
Former KRMG news man who went on to ABC
While this website is not affiliated with the broadcast legend KRMG, it is a tribute to the station and all who worked there during the 1970’s through the early 2000’s
Thanks for the memories!
Awesome. Thanks for sharing!