CLASS OF 1989
Todd Storz was the man who developed local music and news formats for radio at a time when the industry was struggling against the onslaught of television. Block radio and variety were the rules. Changing it at the time required new thinking and courage.
An early interest in radio steered Todd to broadcasting and away from the family business, the successful Storz Brewing Company of Omaha. But it was the brewery money that backed him when buying a 500-watt daytime-only station in Omaha and turning it into a national model for saving the industry.
Todd Storz was a licensed ham operator in high school. After college, he was in the US Army Signal Corps. Upon his discharge he went into radio broadcasting, first with a station in Hutchinson, Kansas, then he returned to Omaha in 1946 to DJ at KBON. A sales position at KFAB followed where he learned of a local radio station for sale.
He and his father, Storz Brewery president Robert H. Storz, bought KOWH 660 in 1949. By 1951 it was number one in the market, thanks to Todd’s focus on local music sales, high-profile listener-involved promotions, and live air personalities. A 1956 Time Magazine article referred to Todd Storz as the fastest rising figure in U.S. Radio. He is credited as a developer of the Top 40 Format and successful audience promotion techniques.
Todd’s Omaha daytimer could no longer compete when full-time KOIL adopted the format. But when Todd sold his station in 1957, his empire was already expanding elsewhere. Overall Todd bought, stations in six markets from Minneapolis to Miami, all matching his Omaha success.
In 1964, Todd died relatively young at age 39. His father Robert continued to operate the stations from his headquarters in Omaha until the last one was sold in 1983.
Besides being inducted into the Nebraska Broadcaster Association Hall of Fame, Todd Storz is also in the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame.