KKFN (104.3 MHz, "Sports Radio 104.3 The Fan") is a commercial FM radio station serving the Denver-Boulder market. Owned and operated by Bonneville International, KKFN airs a sports radio format. The station is licensed to Longmont, Colorado. Its studios are located in Greenwood Village, and the transmitter is in Lakewood on Green Mountain. KKFN runs local sports shows days and evenings, and carries ESPN Radio programming late nights and weekends.
|Broadcast area||Denver, Colorado|
|Frequency||104.3 MHz (HD Radio)|
|Branding||Sports Radio 104.3 The Fan|
|Slogan||Denver's Sports Station|
HD2: Sports (KEPN simulcast)
|Owner||Bonneville International Corporation|
|KEPN, KOSI, KYGO|
First air date
|September 1964 (as KLMO-FM)|
Former call signs
Call sign meaning
|HAAT||206 meters (676 ft)|
In September 1964, KLMO-FM first signed on, a sister station to AM 1050 KLMO (now 1060 KRCN). Powered at 28,000 watts with a tower only 88 feet tall, unable to be heard throughout the Denver region, the station targeted Longmont, Boulder and the suburbs north of Denver. KLMO-FM simulcast the middle of the road music and news heard on its AM counterpart.
In December 1986, KLMO-FM was sold to local owner Western Cities Broadcasting. Western Cities got the Federal Communications Commission to permit 104.3 to boost its power to 100,000 watts, now covering the entire Denver market. The station switched to an adult contemporary music format, changing its call sign to KQKS as "104.3 Kiss FM". In mid-1987, the branding was shortened to "KS104". On August 1, 1987, amidst heavy competition against three other AC FM's in the Denver market, and with only one Top 40 (CHR) station in the market, KQKS segued to a Top 40/CHR format. By 1989, the station evolved into a Dance-leaning Rhythmic Top 40 direction, but by 1993, KQKS started shifting back to a mainstream Top 40 direction again when it became the only Top 40 in the market.
However, by 1995, KQKS would see competition from two new stations, KHHT (K-HITS 107.5) and KALC (Alice 105.9), going after listeners with a mainstream Top 40 direction. As a result, KQKS returned to rhythmic contemporary hits that year. But by 1996, KQKS would receive a major jolt when the station's DJs defected to another new rhythmic contemporary hit radio station, KJMN (JAM'N 92.1), and began attacking them on-air and on the streets.
Switch to Country and Smooth JazzEdit
In November 1996, Western Cities sold the station to Jefferson-Pilot. On January 8, 1997, Jefferson-Pilot (which later became part of the Lincoln Financial Group) moved the KQKS call sign and Rhythmic Top 40 format to 107.5 MHz. With that switch, on January 18, J-P placed a classic country format on 104.3 as KCKK, "K104.3." Jefferson-Pilot opened new studios in Lakewood for all of its Denver stations in mid 1997, Lincoln Financial Group moved operations to Greenwood Village in 2006. On September 1, 2000, the classic country format moved to AM 1600, with 104.3 flipping to Smooth Jazz after that format temporarily disappeared from Denver airwaves when previous Smooth Jazz outlet KHIH flipped to Top 40 earlier that day. KCKK switched call letters to KJCD shortly after the move. In June 2007, Lincoln Financial announced that would put its television and radio stations up for sale, including KJCD and its sister stations in Denver, although it would take another seven years before a deal was made.
On March 8, 2008, at 1 p.m., KJCD changed its format to all-sports, simulcasting AM 950 KKFN, and rebranded as "104.3 The Fan". The call letters switched to KKFN-FM on March 12, 2008, and again to KKFN on March 1, 2009, once the sports format was moved completely over to the FM and the AM adopted an oldies format.
On December 8, 2014, Entercom made plans to purchase Lincoln Financial Group's entire 15-station lineup in a $106.5 million deal. On December 22, 2014, Entercom announced that it would spin off KKFN to the Pike's Peaks Trust, in anticipation of selling it to a third party group as part of divesture deal. On June 26, 2015, the FCC green-lighted the deal, with KKFN becoming part of the Pike's Peaks Trust, splitting it from the other properties that became part of the Entercom acquisition. On July 14, 2015, the Department of Justice forced Entercom to spin off KKFN, KOSI, KYGO-FM and KEPN to Bonneville International in exchange for Bonneville's KSWD in Los Angeles (and $5 million) to meet ownership limits. Both Bonneville and Entercom began operating their new clusters via a Time Brokerage Agreement on July 17, 2015. The deal was officially consummated on November 24, 2015.
On October 12, 2015, Kroenke Sports Enterprises, owned by Altitude Sports and Entertainment founder Stan Kroenke, acquired Wilks Broadcasting's Denver properties, including AM 950 (now KKSE). KKSE is now a rival all-sports station; its sister station KKSE-FM (formerly KWOF) became its competitor after dropping its Country format on September 17, 2018, giving Denver two FM outlets with a sports talk format.
KKFN's lineup consists of Mark Schlereth and Mike Evans from 6:00-9:00 am, Orlando Franklin and Sandy Clough from 9:00-noon, Brandon Stokley and Zach Bye from noon to 3:00 pm, The Drive with Tyler Polumbus and Darren "DMac" McKee from 3:00-7:00 pm, Nick Ferguson and Cecil Lammey from 7:00-10:00pm, and The Fan Late Night with Shawn Drotar from 10:00-midnight. Chad Brown, Nate Jackson, Jerry Schemmel, Mike Klis, Troy Renck, Adam Schefter, George Karl, Pedro Gomez, Adrian Dater, Matt Moore and Patrick Saunders all have roles with the station as sport-specific analysts/insiders. KKFN remains the dominant sports ratings leader in Denver.
KKFN carries NFL play-by-play including Sunday Night Football, Monday Night Football, Thursday Night Football, all NFL playoff games, and the Super Bowl. It also airs college football games including the College Football Playoff, The Masters, the Daytona 500, the NBA Playoffs and NBA Finals.
Weekend programming includes "Terry Wickstrom Outdoors," which focuses on fishing and hunting. Weekend evenings and weekday overnights are handled by ESPN Radio.
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1966 page B-25
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1989 page B-50
- "Entercom Acquires Lincoln Financial Media" from Radio Insight (December 8, 2014)
- "Kroenke Sports Acquires Wilks' Denver Stations" from Radio Insight (October 12, 2015)
- 104.3 The Fan KKFN-FM official website
- KKFN in the FCC's FM station database
- KKFN on Radio-Locator
- KKFN in Nielsen Audio's FM station database