98.9 The Vibe launches in Tri-Cities, ‘Murphy in the Morning’ set to debut
Flood Communications owns both News Channel Nebraska and 98.9 The Vibe.
KEARNEY, NE — A new radio station is offering familiar hits and a familiar voice in the Tri-Cities.
Flood Communications launched 98.9 The Vibe on Friday morning. It is branded as “The Tri-Cities Greatest Hits” and replaces the former Power 99. The station will focus its music library on hits from the 1960s, 70s and 80s.
The station will launch KKPR-FM’s first morning show, “Murphy in the Morning with Tim,” hosted by Jason Murphy and Timmari Byrn. Murphy hosted “Murphy in the Morning” on KQKY Hits 106 in Kearney from 2010-2018 and occupied the top spot in the ratings for most of his tenure.
“I really, really made a connection with the people in Kearney,” Murphy said. “I really enjoyed the generosity and the kindness this community had.”
Murphy spent most of the past four years out of radio living in Indiana. He had previous experience with Flood Communications CEO Andy Ruback and knew he was serious when he got the first call about coming back to Nebraska. He says his time out of the industry has changed his perspective.
“I have learned to be humble. I learned from experiences that were not positive. I think I have grown up and matured quite a bit,” Murphy said. “Better late than never.”
His perspective has shifted, but Murphy says his trademark humor is still intact.
“You’re still going to hear the silliness. You’re still going to hear the innuendo, you’re going to hear the provocative but it’s going to be done in a responsible way. (Tim is) my editor,” Murphy said. “It will be the same kind of approach, I’m all about the community.”
Byrn is a lifelong Kearney resident and has worked for KKPR’s station group for five years. This will be her first time hosting a live show.
“I’m excited and nervous,” Byrn said. “It will be fun to get to interact with the community in such a light-hearted way.”
“Murphy in the Morning with Tim” will debut on Monday. It will air from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. on weekdays.
Flood Communications purchased Platte River Radio in November. The company says the station rebrand is part of its continued investment in the region.
“We are thrilled to launch our newest station 98.9 The Vibe in the Tri-Cities,” Ruback said in a news release. “This rebrand is the result of months of work and will entertain listeners with a fresh music list and engaging local talent.”
98.9 The Vibe will feature regular news and sports updates. Veteran Tri-Cities sportscaster Doug Duda will write and produce the station’s sports reports. News Channel Nebraska reporter/anchor Michael Shively moved to Kearney from his post in southeast Nebraska to lead the news department.
“Having a truly local team, with the talents of Murphy, Tim, Doug and Michael, will create an exciting VIBE for the region”, General Manager Jessie Johnson said.
The station is streaming online at 989thevibefm.com.