KNUJ AM 860 went on the air May 22, 1949. The radio station was owned by the same company that owned the New Ulm Journal, hence the call letters K–New-Ulm-Journal. KNUJ is a 1,000 watt ‘clear channel daytimer’ AM station. The studios are located at 317 North Minnesota Street, New Ulm. The tower and transmitter are in southeast New Ulm. KNUJ was originated by Mickelson Media, and owned by them for more than 36 years.
On March 6, 1986, KNUJ was purchased by James Ingstad Broadcasting. Jim Ingstad is part of the Ingstad Family, who owned radio stations in North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa and other areas. Jim’s first solely-owned stations were KNUJ AM and KXLP FM. A few years later, KXLP studios moved to Mankato.
On August 1, 1987, KNUJ studios and offices moved to the Grand Hotel, 210 ½ North Minnesota Street, New Ulm.
In June 1995 a new FM radio station, known as KNUJ FM/BRaT 107.3, went on the air. The station broadcasts at 1900 watts and originally aired Bright Adult Contemporary music of the 80s and 90s. In June 2005 the name changed to SAM 107.3 with a format of variety from the last 35 years. SAM and KNUJ AM are simulcast 6am to 8:30am, Monday through Friday, and shorter hours on Saturday. The studio and office are located at 108 Main West in Sleepy Eye and the tower and transmitter are 1 mile north of Sleepy Eye on Highway 4.
In July 1995, a third new radio station went on the air. This station, with studio and office in Springfield and tower near Wabasso, was known as KNSG 94.7 Country, the “Country Hog”, and played mainstream country music. KNSG broadcasted on a 50,000 watt signal. In June 2001, the studio and office moved to 110 West Central in Springfield.
On August 14, 1998, Cumulus Broadcasting Inc. purchased the 3 stations from James Ingstad Broadcasting. Cumulus, at the time of purchase, owned over 170 stations throughout the nation, and was one of the fastest growing Radio Broadcasting groups in the nation. Cumulus was based in Milwaukee and Chicago, then moved the headquarters to Atlanta. Cumulus is a public company, trading on NASDAQ stock exchange (CMLS).
In August 2000, Clear Channel Broadcasting purchased the 3 stations from Cumulus Broadcasting. Clear Channel owns 1200+ radio stations, tv stations, CC Entertainment, CC Outdoor, plus other smaller entities. All of the properties are known as Clear Channel, with headquarters in San Antonio. Clear Channel is a public company, trading on the New York Stock Exchange (CCU). The original owner was Lowry Mays and major stock holders officers are Lowry, Randall and Mark Mays and Kathryn Mays Johnson. Red McCombs was also a major stockholder. The sale became effective on October 2, 2000.
In February 2003, James Ingstad Broadcasting once again purchased the 3 stations, this time from Clear Channel Broadcasting. KNUJ AM and FM were traded for a station in Bismark, ND and KNSG was purchased outright. Jim Ingstad lives in Fargo, ND. He owned KCHK AM and FM in New Prague and KYMN in Northfield, as well as stations in North Dakota. Jim Ingstad also owns several car dealerships in North Dakota. James Ingstad Broadcasting is a privately owned company.
In June 2003, Ingstad Brothers LLC purchased KNUJ AM and FM. KNSG was sold to Linder Radio. Ingstad Brothers owns KNUJ AM and FM, KDUZ AM, KDUZ FM, KCHK and KYMN and is associated with Tom Ingstad Broadcasting with stations in Morris, Montevideo, Willmar and Thief River Falls. The LMA was completed in February 2004.
In October 2006, Tower Storage, a 52 mini storage building, was constructed at the KNUJ AM tower site. Tower Storage is managed by the KNUJ management/office staff.
In April of 2009, KNUJ AM-FM moved to its new studio-office location, at 317 N. Minn. St, next to Schonlau Park/Glockenspiel in downtown New Ulm. This became KNUJ’s 4th studio location, but the first on a street level. KNUJ began broadcasting from this location April 27th, 2009, and only was off the air for less than 5 minutes during the switch of both stations.
KNUJ received a great honor when it was named as a ‘Small Market Station of the Year finalist’ in 2012, by the NAB, in its Marconi awards. KNUJ was again a finalist nationally in 2016 & 2017.
Tor Ingstad, son of Tom Ingstad, purchased 100% of the assets of Ingstad Brothers Broadcasting., LLC, in February 2012.
On March 5th, 2018, KNUJ launched 97.3 FM, to rebroadcast the stations AM programming, via a ‘Translator’ initiative of the FCC to assist AM’s with nighttime power challenges.
KNUJ broadcasts at 1,000 watts during the daylight hours and at reduced power at night. KNUJ is a News and Information station, strong in news, sports, weather and farm coverage and features country music. It is also a “personality” station, with listeners very loyal to the on-air staff. Upholding the tradition that made KNUJ the Regional Giant, KNUJ broadcasts Polka Music one hour on weekdays and several hours Sunday afternoons. However, country music is the primary music of the balance of our 24-hour broadcast day. September, 2006, KNUJ began streaming the KNUJ programming on www.knuj.net KNUJ rebroadcasts its 24 hour programming on 97.3 FM also.
SAM 107 broadcasts a live local news show from Sleepy Eye, 8:30 to 9am, Monday through Friday, with Craig Hansen. The music format is ‘Variety Hits’.
KNUJ also operates a separate mail order business known as KNUJ Polka Cassette & CD Sales, selling primarily polka music, nationwide. Web Site: www.polkaparade.com