BALLINGER - The radio station that went on the air in Runnels County 70 years ago is a “breath of fresh air,” and is now under new ownership and management.

BALLINGER - The radio station that went on the air in Runnels County 70 years ago is a “breath of fresh air,” and is now under new ownership and management.

KRUN AM 1400 has been selected as the business of the month by the Ballinger Area Chamber of Commerce. The Business of the Month is randomly selected during the first meeting of the chamber board of directors each month.

The station, which is now under new ownership, has received quite a facelift since the acquisition occurred in June. The station was owned by Graham Brothers, Inc. of Odessa and is now under the sole ownership of Gary Graham.

Jeff Smith has been hired as the general manager and his mother Jeri Smith, a long time fixture at the station, who retired in 2015, is back, as the music and marketing director. She also handles some production and just about everything else that needs to be done.

“We are glad to be back here,” Jeri said.

While radio business is fairly new to Jeff Smith, he has jumped right in with both feet and is working hard both on the air and behind the scenes. He grew up in the business, since his mother worked at KRUN off and on for more than 12 years and for radio in San Angelo for several years too.

Jeff Smith was working as the construction project manager at Shannon Medical Center in San Angelo, before taking the general manager’s position at KRUN.

“I worked here in high school and I always wanted to get back into it,” he said. “This has become my dream job.”

When the change of ownership was made official, they got to work, upgrading the technology in the station, some of which was 20 years old.

“We have all new computers,”Jeff Smith said.

As the Business of the Month, the station will receive a banner to be placed near the sign, and extra plugs from the chamber, such as posts on social media.

Both Jeff and Jeri say the response from the community has been positive.

“It reaffirms all of the hard work we’ve been putting in and let’s us know we’re on the right track,” Jeff Smith said.

Upon returning to her role out in the community marketing the station, Jeri said it has been very humbling.

“We’ve worked hard to get the station in order,” she said adding that since the change the both of them have been working 12 hour days. On Fridays for example, they go on the air at 6 a.m. and broadcast late into the evening with live Ballinger Bearcat football coverage.

The station, has quite a history in Runnels County. It was licensed in 1946 and went on the air in 1947. Maureen Earnshaw was one of the original group of owners. Bob McGarvey and Central West Broadcasting purchased the station in 1953 and owned the stations until they sold to Dean Smith and Clayton Murr in 1970. Smith added an FM channel in 1977.

The stations were purchased by Steve Everett SEC/CES Broadcasting in June of 1996. Everett would move the FM frequency to San Angelo raising the power from 3,000 to 100,000 watts. Everett also changed the call letters to KKCN FM in 1998

Herbert Graham and Graham Brothers purchased the stations in 1999 and moved the KKCN studio to the Historic Cactus Hotel the same year.

Graham Brothers maintained the ownership of KRUN AM 1400 and the station remained at it’s original location in south Ballinger.

Overall, Jeff and Jeri Smith are looking forward to serving the community.

“We are trying to go above and beyond,” Jeff Smith said. “We have a passion to make this station better for this community.”