KANO was started in 1956 by Jack Lemme, who owned a radio station in Little Falls. KANO was located in Anoka, with the studio and tower located on a gravel road just north of the Anoka County Fairgrounds in present-day Ramsey. The small 1000 watt daytime station was located at 1470 on the AM Dial. The station played Country music with a heavy emphasis on local North Suburban news and sports.
KANO was Disk Jockey Rod Person’s first radio job in 1959. Here’s a story from Rod, taken from Bullerdash, the newsletter for KSTP Pioneers:
I ran the mid-day shift from 10 AM to 2 PM. About a year and a half later I was assigned the morning shift from 6 to 10 AM. I would arrive at 5 AM, opened up the station, turned on the lights and the transmitter, and clear the two teletype machines of overnight news.
Sign-on was at 6 AM followed by five minutes of news and then country-western music for 55 minutes. At 7 AM following the news we played popular music until signoff.
One Saturday afternoon I was alone in the station working the 2 to 6 PM shift when two men came in the front door. One was a big man about 6’4″ tall, the other much shorter and wearing a white Stetson hat, white boots and a red and white country-western outfit that was so loaded with rhinestones that he literally shimmered when he walked.
I went out to the lobby to see what they wanted an was totally surprised to see Little Jimmy Dickens! He was in town doing two shows at the Flame Nightclub at 16th and Nicollet in downtown Minneapolis. Jimmy and his agent were out visiting stations that played country-western music and promoting his latest record.
We chatted and laughed on the air for about 15 minutes, talking about his devilish upbringing, singing at the Grand Ole Opry, the weekend shows at the Flame and played his latest recording…
To this day I am still impressed that a major country western and Grand Ole Opry star would drive all the way out to Anoka just to visit with someone who played country-western music for only 55 minutes a day. And, I can confirm that the man was everything his name implied: he was “Little (4’11” tall), “Jimmy” (for James Cecil), and he admittedly was full of the “Dickens.” But that’s another story….
Tom Kilbride was a DJ at KANO from 1960 to 1965. Here’s a photo of the KANO VW bus from July 1963, with his wife, sister, and daughter.