KQV-AM, which is located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is shutting down at the end of the year. This is one of only two radio stations with a three letter “K” call sign located East of the Mississippi River, which gives you a sense of its history. It began as an experimental AM station in 1919, and acquired the KQV call sign in 1922, before AM radio was formally structured by the Hoover commission in 1928 when the invention of superheterodyne receiver by Edwin Armstrong made widespread commercial AM radio practical.
The station is located on 1410 kHz, a frequency set aside for local radio stations in the 1940s, not regional or clear channel 50 kW AM. As a result, it has no chance competing with cross town rival clear channel KDKA-AM (on 1020 kHz). [Westinghouse -> CBS -> Entercom]
The station goes back to the era when the radio networks didn’t exist and radio was done live, often with in-studio musicians.
By the time I was a listener in the 1960s, KQV was doing the “talking really fast rock and roll DJ” thing and had been owned by ABC radio since 1957 – but it was sold off to Cincinnati based Taft Broadcasting because of the then current FCC national ownership limits.
As the swamp of AM music radio was being drained by the new-fangled FM radio in cars, several DJs (including Rush Limbaugh and Jim Quinn) rode the airwaves until the end.
The station was sold by Taft to an operation funded by Richard Mellon Scaife, the “right wing” heir to a portion of the Mellon fortune. In addition to funding KQV-AM, Scaife was the owner of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review newspaper, one of only a handful of major market papers with a strongly Conservative editorial bias. The long time station manager Richard Dickey Sr was given 20% ownership and Scaife took 70% of the stock and held back a $250,000 note.
Scaife’s children and sister objected to how he spent his trust fund money during his life and after he died in 2014. his kids got nothing – their grandmother had set up separate trust funds for them.
Knowing that he was dying, Scaife turned the station over to the two children of Richard Dickey Sr who had died in 2011. (Richard Dickey was not related to the Cumulus Dickey family). Scaife tore up the $250k note and the Dickey children paid $200k – essentially getting the station for free. The daughter has been running the station, but she died in November and her brother and the third generation don’t want the albatross of their grandfather. There are no plans to sell the station.