Black Hills Pioneer (Wendi Pitlick)-KDSJ radio will be moving its office to Lead and adding an FM translator this year.
The popular local radio station has broadcast from the 980 AM frequency and from Deadwood since 1947. On July 1, 2020 Carolyn and Doyle Becker, of Riverfront Broadcasting, purchased the station. The station’s current building at 745 Main St., in Deadwood was not part of the purchase, so for the past year the Beckers have been searching for a new location.
“We did not want to move the station out of the Lead-Deadwood area,” she said of the radio station that has become known as the beacon of broadcast information for the Northern Hills area.
The station plans to move into offices at the Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor’s Center, and Becker said she hopes that can be done by this fall, before fall sports broadcasting starts. Riverfront Broadcasting has a lease with the visitor’s center that starts July 1.
“We are excited to be broadcasting from the visitor’s center in Lead,” she said. “It’s a beautiful location. Our manager, Jim Kallas, was instrumental in putting this together so KDSJ would have a home. We look forward to this partnership lasting for many years.”
Kallas, whose voice has become a trusted source of news and entertainment over the airwaves for more than three decades, said he is very happy to be able to stay in the Lead-Deadwood area and continue the station’s legacy.
“While KDSJ serves the Northern Hills and much of the plains, it has always been a large part of the Deadwood-Lead area as the hometown source for information, news and sports coverage and entertainment,” Kallas said. “Next year will mark the 75th anniversary of KDSJ. Al and Jeannie Decker gave me my first radio job there in 1983, so I understand the heritage that the station carries. Thanks in large part to the Lead Area Chamber of Commerce and the Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor’s Center, KDSJ will continue to contribute to the Deadwood-Lead community. We are very excited as the new facility will allow us to do an even better job of serving the public, the communities and our advertisers.”
Sierra Ward, executive director of the Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor’s Center said the move will be a good fit for everyone involved.
“We are thrilled to have this long time Lead Deadwood business choose to stay in our area,” she said. “We’ve worked hard to promote Lead from the Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center and we feel that as a fellow promoter of our area KDSJ is a wonderful partner for our mission!”
Part of doing a better job will include offering a new FM frequency for the station, which Becker said she also hopes to have completed in the fall. The station will also retain its existing frequency at 980 AM.
During the move, Becker said she does not expect that the station will be off the air very long, if at all. Riverfront Broadcasting is based in Yankton, and has 12 other radio stations in South Dakota.