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KAYS Radio and TV

KAYS courtesy Eagle Communications, Inc.KAYS was granted a license by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 1948 to broadcast at 1,000 watts on the AM radio band at 1400 khz in Hays.

Businessmen Ross Beach and Bob Schmidt organized KAYS-TV, which was granted a license and on September 2, 1958. The station began broadcasting on VHF channel 7 in Hays. It operated as a primary CBS affiliate and semi-satellite of KWCH-TV in Wichita. For more than a decade it was also a secondary affiliate of ABC to provide viewers with access to news and sports programming otherwise unavailable in the market. The FCC ruled in 1962 that central and western Kansas were part of the Wichita market, which included stations in Dodge City, Garden City, Goodland, and Hays. With the flagship station, KTVH in Hutchinson, Cowles Communication of Des Moines bought KAYS-TV, along with KTVC in Dodge City, KLOE-TV in Goodland and operated them as the Kansas Broadcasting System, airing CBS programming. Cowles began selling its properties in 1983 to the Kansas Broadcasting System Corporation, owned by Beach and Schmidt.

KAYS courtesy Eagle Communications, Inc.In 1989 the television station was sold to Kansas Broadcast Systems and the call letters were changed to KBSH. In 2009 KBSH-DT began airing on digital channel 7 in Hays. Eagle Communications was formed at the same time and began operating the radio broadcasting, cable television, Internet service, and telephone service. Today Eagle owns and operates 28 radio stations in Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska; and 59 cable systems in Kansas, Nebraska, and Colorado.

Schmidt began transferring ownership of the company in 1998 to 116 of his employees through an employee stock ownership plan. In 2002 the employees became majority owners of the company. Since 2012 Eagle has been 100 percent employee-owned.

Entry: KAYS Radio and TV

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: December 2016

Date Modified: December 2016

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.