By Don Lowe
Over its entire 36 years in business, KNEO 91.7 FM Radio Station in Neosho, Missouri, has evolved with the ever-changing times, but one constant every step along this path is ownership has always been local, while the original overall formula has consistently stayed true to how it all started.
Mark Taylor, president of Sky High Broadcasting and general manager of KNEO Radio, says, “Our format has varied in music and programming, but it’s always remained in a Christian radio format.”
There’s a broad selection of content, both locally and nationally, for listeners. “We offer local programming to churches or of other local interest, as well as national programs like Focus on the Family, Insight for Living, Financial Issues and a variety of others have always been on the air.
“We have some programs like Adventures in Odyssey for the younger at heart. We air local pastors’ teachings and sermons, plus health shows, features of local events and school programs/sports (for area high schools).”
Along with emphasis on Christian-focused shows and information, there’s wide-ranging support of many other activities throughout Neosho, as well as surrounding locations. “We do a lot of audio/video streaming for many area events in addition to broadcasting high school graduations, area Christmas parades, local high school sports and some broadcasting for Crowder College.
“Other local programs we offer include a local doctor with a daily health tip, a heating and air minute with an HVAC professional, a farm report from the K-State Radio Network, plus several more programs that aren’t offered on any other radio stations.”
That’s not all. “During the school year, we broadcast high school athletic games for Webb City, Seneca, Neosho and McDonald County on a weekly basis and help out other local schools as much as we can.”
Interestingly and unfortunately, perhaps, such a localized flavor in broadcasting is not nearly so common anymore, and Taylor says, “Locally owned radio stations are becoming rarer.
“Usually, a group owns several, and sometimes the actual owners are far away in another state. Localism becomes less a part of their broadcasting to any real great extent. We believe localism can play a key role in strengthening communities and keeping everyone connected.”
More than ever, Taylor is convinced that “keeping things local helps when you need to rely on the help of your listeners as we do now. But our overall success has been because we operate by God’s blessings. He’s the real owner, and our focus must always be on His interest and what God wants for our communities.”
Since he has been with this station virtually from the get-go, Taylor is thrilled to be so heavily involved after more than three decades. “I’m very glad to see how God has provided through His people and made KNEO, which started at 380 watts 36 years ago, one of the top 10 most-powerful FM stations in the market today.
“Recently, KNEO won two first place awards from the Missouri Broadcasters Association for our community involvement. Not only that, thousands of people have been impacted over the past three decades by the ministry of KNEO. We are excited for what the future holds.”
KNEO 91.7 FM Radio Station Fast Facts
History: “Started (1986) by the Abundant Life Assembly of God Church in Neosho, Missouri, where I started as a volunteer in 1988,” remembers Mark Taylor, who currently serves as KNEO Radio general manager and president of the corporation that owns it. “In 2000, we started Sky High Broadcasting and bought the church’s interest in the station. A board of local citizens sits as the governing body today.”
About Us: Operates in the Neosho-Joplin area of Southwest Missouri on the 91.7 FM signal. It is KNEO’s duty to provide you with the programming you need to be an informed Christian.
Signal: 14,000 watts and covers a 65-mile radius in the Four-State Area, which covers a population of several hundred thousand people.
Location: 10827 Highway 86 East, Neosho
Contact Us: Phone 417.451.KNEO (5636). Email us at [email protected]
Technology Improvements: “We’ve done four power upgrades over the years and seven building expansions,” Taylor explains. “Now we face our biggest and most costly project ever with putting up a specially built 340-foot freestanding tower next to our old one, which needs to be replaced due to decades of wear and tear. We’re also replacing our antenna, transmission line and getting all new essential hookups for the tower.”