December 3rd, 2019 marks the 60th Anniversary of KJAM Radio!
With the determination and the foresight as to what a broadcast station can do for a community to make it grow and prosper, Dr Joseph A Muggly and his wife, Catherine Muggly, were the founders of KJAM-AM and later KJAM-FM. All radio stations west of the Mississippi start with the letter K and the search was on for the other three letters. KMAD (for Madison) was the first choice but was rejected by the FCC. KJAM was accepted and broadcasting started December 3, 1959, with the studio above Collignon’s Hardware Store. The station’s first managers were Don Vanderhoof and his wife, Ann, followed by Clare Dekoster and Bruce Normandin. The Muggly’s appointed John A. Goeman, who started as an engineer-announcer before it went on the air and helped build it, at age 29, was appointed manager by the Muggly’s in 1967. KJAM was growing. In December of 1968, KJAM-FM went on the air and was the third commercial FM station on the air in South Dakota.
June 29, 1969 brought the President of the United States to Madison for the dedication of the Karl Mundt Library on the Dakota State University Campus. KJAM fed the broadcast to 26 various radio stations across the upper Midwest.
Studios were moved to their present location at 101 South Egan in October 1969, when the building owned by Norwest Bank became available. In 1971, construction began on a new 365 foot FM tower south of Madison which increased area coverage by 278% and population coverage by 173%. The Muggly’s believed in putting monies back into the operation to make KJAM AM/FM a bigger asset for the community and eastern South Dakota.
In 1976, John and Jolynn Goeman purchased Madison Broadcasting Company, Inc from Dr. Muggly. Catherine Muggly had passed away in 1973 of cancer at the age of 43. Dr. Muggly passed away on September 18, 1981 also of cancer.
In 1991, the FCC granted KJAM Radio permission to double its power. In January 2000, KJAM Radio was purchased by Three Eagles Communications of Lincoln, Nebraska. KJAM Radio is now owned by Alpha Media since February 2016.