City Waterloo, Iowa
Broadcast area Waterloo/Cedar Rapids
Branding KXEL News/Talk 1540
Slogan The Voice of Eastern Iowa
Frequency 1540 kHz
First air date July 14, 1942
Format News/Talk
Power 50,000 watts
Class A (clear channel)
Facility ID 35950
Callsign meaning K EXcEL
Affiliations Fox News
UNI Panther Sports Network
Owner NRG Media
(NRG License Sub, LLC)
Sister stations KFMW, KOKZ, KPTY
Webcast Listen Live
Website kxel.com

KXEL (branded as News/Talk 1540) is a Class A, Clear channel AM radio station serving the Waterloo and Cedar Rapids metropolitan areas with a News/Talk format. It broadcasts on 1540 kHz and is under ownership of NRG Radio, LLC. KXEL is also the flagship station of the University of Northern Iowa Panther Sports Network.


KXEL was first created by Don E. Kassner, who worked for Joe Dumond. This station began their broadcasts on July 14, 1942 and was the first radio facility in the United States to be granted 50,000 watts of power with its original license. It began airing ABC programming from pop hits of the 1940s. KXEL also featured country music programming before switching to its current news/talk format. Dumond later sold KXEL to career broadcaster Egmont Sonderling, then on November 9, 1958, Sonderling signed the papers transferring KXEL's license to Cy N. Bahakel. Woodward Broadcasting owned the station between 2011 and December 2014 before selling it, and its sister stations, to current owner, Cedar Rapids-based NRG Media LLC.


On November 16, 1947, KXEL-FM began broadcasting in Waterloo on 105.7 MHz. It was licensed to Josh Higgins Broadcasting Company, which also held the license for KXEL.[1]

Television station try

In the early 1950s, KXEL filed for the channel 7 television license in Waterloo. However, Waterloo's other powerhouse radio station, KWWL (now KPTY, a sister station to KXEL) wanted the license as well. KXEL and KWWL went to court and battled it out. In the meantime, KXEL built a radio/television studio. This studio was mainly useless because KWWL won the lawsuit and signed on KWWL-TV on Thanksgiving Day 1953.

Program schedule



  • University of Northern Iowa Sports (in season)
  • Red Eye Radio (overnight)
  • Into Tomorrow with Dave Graveline
  • The Iowa Watch Connection
  • The KXEL Weekend Morning News
  • The BBRE Week in Review
  • The Kim Komando Show
  • Real Estate Today
  • The Weekend with Joe Pags
  • KXEL Classic Radio Theater (Sat 6pm - Midnight)
  • Iowa This Week
  • The IowaWatch Connection
  • Iowa This Week
  • Handel on the Law
  • Both Sides Now
  • Fox News Sunday
  • Jill Schlesinger on Money
  • Sunday Night Live with Bill Cunningham


  1. "KXEL-FM Starts" (PDF). Broadcasting. November 24, 1947. Retrieved 24 October 2014.

Coordinates: 42°10′48″N 92°18′38″W / 42.18000°N 92.31056°W / 42.18000; -92.31056

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