The area's first radio station. . . broadcasting since 1947
A brief history. . .
KDIX began broadcasting on the AM airwaves on May 16th of 1947 when Orvall Burda and his original radio stars went on the air. In those days, they were indeed stars to the local public. Orvall Burda was the first Manager of KDIX; The Dickinson Radio Association governed KDIX with then Mayor Frank Whitney as its President. The opening of KDIX culminated 2 years of planning and 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.
Lauren Haacke served as the program director from 1950 through 1983. Bill Mason, Bob 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 at KDIX from the early fifties through 1980.
Some of the other individuals that served at KDIX, would be Bea Spear, Lloyd Keene one of the first KDIX News Directors, Lee Leiss, and Al Sargent who started here in 1960. Lee served on and off here at KDIX until he and his wife Darlene bought the station in 1992. Dennis, "Pinky" Sattler was another popular KDIX player for many years. Other individuals that served the community through KDIX include: 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, and Jackie Martin.
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.
Lee Leiss participated in and directed the operation of KDIX until he passed away in 2012. Darlene Leiss remains the owner and Director of Operations at KDIX today; this has been made possible by an experienced staff that is highly talented, professional and dedicated to KDIX and it's listeners.
From the scrapbook...... more to come
George Brooks, an early KDIX employee, reads listener mail.
Original KDIX Tower- located East of current Applebees.
The man is Earl Ackerman on the air he was Earl Mann
In Memory of Lee Leiss
August 23, 1942 - August 28, 2012
A broadcaster and radio-man for over fifty years, Lee managed and programmed radio stations in Hardin, Baker and Plentywood, Montana as well as Grand Forks and Dickinson, North Dakota. Lee and his wife Darlene also owned and operated KDRG radio in Deer Lodge Montana as well as KDIX in Dickinson. Lee promoted and was involved in many activities: sports play-by-play (including the one time Voice of UND Sioux), wagon train rides, trade shows, flag pole sitting, the Lee Leiss School of Broadcasting, the originator and narrator of the Custer Reenactment at the Custer National Battlefield in Hardin, Montana.
Lee enjoyed preparing sales seminars, reading, carpentry, and handyman projects. He particularly enjoyed baseball play-by-play and covered the Dickinson Roughriders on the road (often traveling to games on his Goldwing).
Lee and his wife, Darlene- the current Director of Operations for KDIX, had three children. All of their children were educators by profession. Kent Leiss currently teaches in Sandpoint, Idaho. Shawn Leiss is currently retired from a career in education and lives with his wife Laura in Dickinson. Honey Sayler is the Director of Hope Educational Consulting and lives with her husband John and their kids in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.