Delilah, the well-known syndicated radio personality, started her career at KDUN in the mid-1970s. On a mission to give back to the community where she grew up, her company Big Shoes Productions acquired the Reedsport, Ore. station from Post Rock Communications.
After months of silence due to technical issues, on Labor Day, Sept. 6, 2021, KDUN officially returned to the airwaves with an oldies format that focused on local news and information.
Now, exactly one year later, the station is celebrating its anniversary all month long with a series of community events, like a wine tasting and music festival, as well as philanthropic endeavors, like an academic fundraiser and suicide prevention walk.
KDUN General Manager Rhonda Grant said the station has brought a much-needed community service to Reedsport, as the small coastal town lacked basic news outlets to serve its 4,100 residents.
“Everybody has been super supportive,” said Grant. “This area has had a really hard time with communications. There’s no newspaper here.”
[Related: “Delilah Revels in Rediscovering Her Roots“]
In the past year, Grant says KDUN has become an integral part of its community, hosting the first of its women’s conferences, highlighting restaurants in the area, broadcasting from the town’s Christmas parade and getting ready to broadcast the local high school’s football games.
“It’s just been a year of blessings for us and for the community. Financially, we are doing okay. Consistently climbing and increasing speed everyday.”
For a small-town AM station, Grant says KDUN’s reach is a lot bigger than you’d expect. The nondirectional, Class B station is licensed at 1030 kHz for 50 kW daytime and 630 watts at night.
When asked about the challenges that are facing all AM stations now — whether it be the perception that AM radio is dying or a lack of sponsor interest — she said those issues haven’t been “that big of a deal” at KDUN.
“It’s funny because our competitors that are on the FM ask us ‘Why are you even on that [AM] station?,'” said Grant. “But with Delilah’s reach and because people can stream things now — they can stream us on iHeart — despite the fears I had about working with an AM station, I haven’t really run into that many issues.”
“We would love to have an FM signal,” Grant continued, “but even the FM signals that come into Reedsport and Winchester Bay, their signals aren’t any stronger than ours. We have lots of mountains [in our area] and the FM signal doesn’t travel over them as well as the AM signal travels over them.”
Having worked at a large radio cluster before coming to KDUN, Grant says it’s the “community feel,” personal touches and hard work that have lifted the station off the ground. She said the success of this past year prove that a lot of big work can be done with a very small team — in this case, just 10 people.
“People say ‘What are you doing there?’ and I say ‘Well I retired big radio and moved here to change the world with Delilah.'”