In January 1955, the Federal Communications Commission granted permission to Pipestone Radio Corporation, C.B. Thomas, President, to construct a radio station with a power of 1,000 watts on 1050 kilocycles with the call letters of KLOH (“Land of Hiawatha”) In June of 1955, Dalton Nelson, station manager, put KLOH on the air.
In the early years, KLOH broadcast during daylight hours only. The first studio location was downtown Pipestone in a basement of a building next to the old Eagle Cafe. In 1961 the studio was moved to its present location west of Pipestone on Highway 30 at the twin towers site. In 1962, KLOH was purchased by Ingstad Corporation of Valley City, ND, Bob Ingstad Sr. President.
In 1965 Wallace Christensen took a position as an announcer, became Sales Manager, and then by 1972 was General Manager. In August 1976 he purchased the station from the Ingstads and is the present owner. During these years, KLOH has had major upgrades. One of the twin towers was moved and power was increased from 1,000 watts to 9,000 watts. Coverage was increased and KLOH started broadcasting in Stereo and 24 hours a day.
In 1980 a major building project was completed more than doubling the studio and office space. In May of 1998 a complete upgrade was done with the front office traffic and billing system computers.
In 2008 a major remodeling project made the building handicap accessible.
Original Announcers of KLOH AM
Dalton E. “Rob” Nelson
Rob started in radio some twenty years ago announcing. During the years he has written comedy for CBS shows, been an executive in advertising agencies and built a couple of radio stations. He attended the University of North Dakota and Northwestern University specializing in Merchandising.
Russ began radio in the navy announcing for an Armed Forces Radio station in Cuba. After his discharge he studied radio further in Minneapolis and then to Pipestone. He fancies himself a comedian of sorts.
R. J. “Dick” Britsch
Dick came from Minot, North Dakota, land of oil wells. He studied office management there at the University of North Dakota. He used to edit a newspaper shortly after World War II.
Del is another University of North Dakota man, plus DeVry Technical Institute, Cleveland Institute of Radio and American Institute of the Air. Also a ham operator.
Clarence worked at KWOA and KELO and KELO-TV as a transmitter engineer, and served as a signal corps telephone lineman during World War II. He still ‘commutes’ between Pipestone and Worthington.
Henry “Hank” Alstrup
Hank has spent most of his life as a photographer. He has the redeeming feature of having worked for the Pipestone Star. He graduated from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, and while there got his first taste of radio. He also happens to write occasionally and is a punster from way back. He’ll do most of his work outside the studio as a salesman.
James F. “Jim” Kauper
Jim began in the radio world by announcing. It wasn’t long after that when his talents showed up and took over as manager of his first station. Later, last year as a matter of fact, he joined the staff of WMFG Hibbing as their general manager. With a family of four children, he’s still looking for a house.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
KLOH was inducted into the South Dakota Rock & Roll Hall of Fame on Saturday, April 24, 2010!!
C.B. Thomas was granted a license to construct a radio station in Pipestone, Mn in 1955. They went on the air with 1,000 watts of power and initially broadcast during daylight hours only.
In the early 60’s they experimented with rock and roll, featuring a Saturday afternoon request show. That led to rock being played every weekday afternoon with local teenagers making up the majority of listeners.
Rock and roll was a staple at the station into the 70’s. Early DJs included Doug Wagner, Wally West, and 2009 SDRRMA hall of fame inductee Ken Mills.
Although located in Pipestone, MN, KLOH was a favorite station for many listeners in South Dakota. If you wanted to know where bands were playing, KLOH advertised for all the area ballrooms and dance halls.
In 1969 KLOH-FM was introduced and later the call letters were changed to KISD. Today the “True Oldies” station is still going strong and serves over 650,000 listeners in a three state area.