The circle is complete for Delilah.
The nationally syndicated radio host purchased KDUN Radio, a 50,000 watt AM station from Reedsport.
This is the station where teenage Delilah got her start after taking a job with then-station owners Jerome and Steve Kenegy.
Today, Delilah is heard by over 12 million listeners each week on more than 160 radio stations across the United States and internationally on the Armed Forces Network in Japan, Korea and Central Europe. , on the iHeart Radio app and via its podcast.
“My whole professional life has been amazing and giving me amazing opportunities and going to amazing places, meeting amazing people and it all started here,” she said. “And when the opportunity arose to buy the station, I couldn’t say no.”
As a 40-year broadcasting veteran, Delilah recognizes that radio has been challenged in recent years.
“But nationally, more than 85% of people still listen to the radio at least once a day,” she said. “It’s the most widely used medium in America, so we’ve had some challenges, but we’re still growing. In communities like Reedsport, in particular, radio is vitally important, so important that people have a voice, so important that they have a way to connect, so important that they have the ability to communicate with each other and radio is the medium through which this can and will happen.
Delilah said the big market radio is “pretty much a game between the big players, but in the smaller markets, Reedsport, Florence and Brookings, it’s the voice of the city, the voice of the community and I think that is most important now more than ever,” she said.
Delilah said her message to KDUN listeners was simple.
“The city needs a voice,” she said. “A way to connect with each other.”
Describing the crux when she decided to buy the station, Delilah said a friend of hers from Reedsport expressed her frustration at not being able to find accurate and timely information to help her elderly parents navigate the safely through the COVID pandemic.
“With that fresh in my mind, with people frustrated that I couldn’t get good information, and then the opportunity came along to buy the radio station, I just knew it was the right thing to do. “, she said.
Delilah said the radio station helps connect small town communities.
“They need to have a voice,” she said. “They need to know what is going on with the city council. They need to know what’s going on with the mayor. They need to know if the road is going to be widened again. They need to know if schools are canceled and if their children are out of school because of COVID or because of a flood. They need to know this information. There was no way to present this information before returning the station to the air.
Even though Delilah broadcasts her national radio show from her home in Washington state, she said she would return frequently to the Reedsport station.
“I have a motorhome and I have a farm in Sutherlin so I spend a lot of time there so I can easily come,” she said. “I really like it here.”
Delilah added that local programming on the station will be essential.
“I didn’t buy the radio station for my syndicated show, I brought the station for its local content,” she said. “I’ll be happy to take my show off when we’re able to air local high school basketball and football games.”
KDUN is now located in Delilah’s old high school in Reedsport.
“The college has been closed for about 20 years and is now owned by an artist couple and they’ve turned the building into an artists’ school, so they’re renting my old classroom to us and I’ve built the radio station in this room,” she says. “So it’s a full-circle experience for me.”
Delilah said she was incredibly grateful the Kenegys provided her with her first radio job.
“My life has been changed forever because of this, and I just want to pay it forward,” she said. “I want to give young people the opportunity to learn this medium and give the city the opportunity to have communication. I can’t repay the Kenegy for what they did for me, but I can pay it forward. I am lucky to be able to reconnect with my history, my past and to offer people the possibility of connecting through the airwaves.
KDUN also airs on the iHeart Network, allowing anyone anywhere to listen through a streaming platform.
“You can listen 24/7 and feel like you’ve come home,” she said.
KDUN engineer Bob Larson said the radio station was off for about a year before Delilah bought it.
“If it had continued to go off the air, it probably would have been gone forever,” Larson said. “There was no studio, apart from the transmitter site, that was all. So the community is very happy that we are back.
KDUN began rebroadcasting on Labor Day weekend in 2021, after the purchase.
“And we went full throttle from then on,” he said.
Larson said the station airs Fox News at the top of the hour and plans local news in the future. KDUN also offers community service announcements, and Larson runs a daily local buy-sell program called Tradio.
KDUN currently has five full-time employees, including Delilah, offering various programming 24/7 with an oldies classical music format.
The station’s signal reaches north to Lincoln City, south to Brookings, and inland to Coos Bay and the Eugene area.
KDUN is located in Reedsport and can be reached at 541-236-9837.