Kansas City's First Radio Station

Coon Sanders WDAF card

Kansas City joins the national explosion of the new media--radio stations--from just four at the start of the year to 576 by the end. The Kansas City Star launches 9XAB on February 19 and renames the call sign to WDAF on May 16, 1922. The station can be heard continent-wide, and one local jazz band, the Coon-Sanders Original Nighthawks Orchestra or the “band that made radio famous,” gains renown.

Date : 
February 19, 1922
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Coon Sanders Band
Chuck Haddix
University of Missouri – Kansas City

As Bennie Moten, George E. Lee, and other African American bandleaders based at 18th and Vine pioneered a new style of jazz, a number of white bands in downtown Kansas City were performing a style of hot jazz modeled after nationally popular white bands. Ironically, while Kansas City would gain renown for its great African American bands that barnstormed across country, it was a white dance band, the Coon-Sanders Nighthawk Orchestra, which first established Kansas City’s national reputation as a jazz center.