The day was the 16th of May when Orvall Burda and his original radio stars went on the air here at KDIX in 1947. In those days, they were indeed stars to the local public. Orvall Burda was the first Manager of KDIX, Orvall and the Dickinson Radio Association with then Mayor Frank Whitney as its President culminated 2 years of planning with the filing of the application and the approval by the FCC.
In those early days, the stars of KDIX Dickinson Radio in addition to Mr. Burda, included such favorites as Peg Graham and her "Women’s Club of the air." Robert "Bob" Weiler and Earl Mann, who both remained on the roster of KDIX off and on for some 50 years. A Mr. Swensen, the original KDIX Friendly Philosopher, was one of the first announcers, doing double duty as the Stark County Superintendent of Schools.
The great Lauren Haacke served as the program director from 1950 through 1983. Bill Mason, Weiler and Doug Anderson served as the early sports directors, and play-by-play announcers. Some of the first announcers and News Announcers included Mason, Karl Johnson, George Brooks, soon to be joined by Doc Jean Spear, Roger Flemmer, Gordon Gartner, George Kay Richard "Dick" Hildebrandt, and Warren Vranna. Warren was a fixture here from the early fifties through 1980.
Some of the other names you would remember, would be Bea Spear, Lloyd Keene one of the first KDIX News Directors, Lee Leiss, and Al Sargent who started here in 1960. Lee spend time on and off here at KDIX until he and his wife Darlene bought the station in 1992. Dennis, "Pinky" Sattler was another favorite working here for many years. Other names you may remember: Kenny Hirsch, Jim Schmidt. Joe Arkett, Dick Murdy, Mary Jane Messmer, and of course in more recent years Vicki Steiner, Rod Kleinjan, since 1972, Jim Dahl since 1984, Rick Thompson for a time, . . and of course today our current staff of Darlene Leiss, Rod Kleinjan, Mike Renner, Jim Dahl, Jackie Martin and Michael Landblom.
Most all these people through 2000 also worked at times for KDIX and or KMXA Television. The original radio station was in the building, on the alley, just south of present day Park Square Mall. A new state of the art radio building was completed in late 1971, and was occupied at the present site in February 1952. KDIX Television was added in 1956, and later sold in the early 1980s. Stan Deck purchased KDIX from the Dickinson Radio Association in 1959, and Stan and June Deck, in turn sold KDIX to Darlene and Lee Leiss in December of 1992.
As of the date of the writing in 2010, Lee and Darlene had operated the station for 18 years, re-investing $ 320,000.00 in the operation, with a $ 160,000.00 new HD transmitter and transmitter site, as the first HD Radio station in North Dakota in 2007. The Leiss's also spent another $ 160,000.00 re-equipping the station with all new Broadcast Equipment, and electronic computers, plus totally remodeled the basement of the KDIX Radio Building as a radio station facality, which KDIX now occupies.
(Provided by Lee Leiss - January 2011)