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Ryan Johnson, Published April 15 2014

Ben and Jim rejoin forces for new radio morning show

CASSELTON, N.D. – After five years apart, a local radio duo is back together.

“The Ben and Jim Show” premiered April 3 on 103.9 FM The Truck, and will broadcast from 6 to 9 a.m. each weekday morning.

It’s a reunion for Jim Babbitt, owner of the station, and Ben Ziegler, who have worked together at several radio stations since getting to know each other in 1990 as disc jockeys in San Diego.

But it took a move to Fargo in 1995 for the two to get a shot at morning shows, and the two came up here to work at Q98.

Babbitt and Ziegler packed up in early 1997 to work at a station in Tampa, Fla., and spent time with a Miami station before they were let go when it was sold.

They took a job at a Top 40 station in Indiana – until it became clear it was also about to be sold.

“We made a quick judgment, ‘Why not buy that little radio station we heard about up in Fargo?’ ” Babbitt said.

He purchased KVMI, which has a tower in Arthur, N.D., in 1999, bringing Ziegler with to replicate their on-air chemistry that had

worked before.

The station has since gone through several format changes, and in 2006, he changed it to a country music format, renamed it KZTK 103.9 The Truck and moved the studio from West Fargo to Casselton.

Babbitt and Ziegler also took a gig as morning show hosts on WDAY 970 AM in 2009.

Now, after five years since last working together on a morning show, Babbitt said the time is right to give it a shot again.

“We just decided it’s time to do what we were put on this earth to do, and we decided we would just go for it and just put together our best effort,” he said. “Every time we’ve had our best effort, we’ve been successful, so we’re going to go forth this time, too.”

As they work out the kinks in their latest on-air endeavor, Babbitt said he’s looking forward to working closely with Ziegler again.

“Him and I, we’re on the same page 100 percent,” he said. “Every time we’ve gone up against another morning show that we’ve wanted to beat, we always did.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Ryan Johnson at (701) 241-5587