Excerpted from KMPC’s 50th Anniversary Program
and Historian Jim Hilliker’s account to Los Angeles Radio People www.laradio.com
CLICK ON PHOTOS TO ENLARGE
The station’s first
official air date was Februray 19, 1927 with the call letters KRLO and studios
located at 218 Larchmont. The
station was licensed to Beverly Hills real estate developer and stock broker
Ernest J. Krause and partner, KRLO engineer and owner, Freeman Lang and A.B.
Sold to Ernest J.
Krause, February 1928. Call letters
changed to KEJK for Ernest J. Krause, who owned the building where KEJK was
broadcasting, and moved to 9631 Wilshire Boulevard at Camden Drive in Beverly
KEJK Remote Truck
KMPC at 9631 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA
Two months later, In
April of 1928 the station was sold to the R.S. MacMillan Petroleum Company with
studios at 401 Camden Drive in the “Home Beautiful” Building.
Dividing its airtime, KEJK split the broadcast day with Aimee Semple
On October 15, 1928,
KEJK made yet another dial position change and doubled its power to 500 watts
and a dial position of 1170 with the transmitter located at 81st and
Compton in Los Angeles.
November 15, 1929.
KEJK made its final change of dial position, moving from 1170 to 710 kHz.
MacMillan tried to change the KEJK call letters to KMP in 1929, but the
letters were already assigned to Boeing Air Transportation in Omaha, NE.
March 14, 1930, KEJK
officially changed its call letters to KMPC to have better identification with
its parent company (McMillan Petroleum Company.)
Mid-March 1932, power
was doubled again to 1000-watts and on March 11, 1933 KMPC was sold to the
Beverly Hills Broadcasting Corporation for $50,000.
But the KMPC call-letters would be forever associated with its former
June 1934, Beverly Hills
Broadcasting went into receivership and was acquired by Pacific Southwest
Discount Corporation and on August 4, 1936 Beverly Hills Broadcasting
Corporation (KMPC) was purchased by Detroit businessman George A. (Dick)
Richards for $125,000.
(L to R) Bing Crosby, Freeman Gosden, Harold Lloyd, and Charles Correll
Photo Courtesy Annette Lloyd
|Richards brought into
his corporation, as stockholders, Bing Crosby, Paul Whiteman, “Amos &
Andy” (Freeman Gosden & Charles Corell) and producer and silent film
comedian Harold Lloyd, who had not only a strong interest in radio, but his own
radio show, "The Old Gold Comedy Theater" on rival station KFI (640
AM). They renamed the station “KMPC the Station of the Stars.”
In 1938, Robert O.
Reynolds joined the KMPC sales staff. An
All-American at Stanford University, Reynolds had been signed by the Detroit
Lions professional football team, also owned by G.A. Richards.
Richards offered Reynolds a radio sales job in the off-season.
Reynolds never returned to Pro Football and in 1942 was named Vice
President and General Manager of KMPC.
In 1940 KMPC was
licensed to broadcast 24 hours daily and increased power to 5000-watts day and
1000-watts at night.
KMPC Transmitter In San Fernando Valley
|On September 19, 1942,
with the help of the new Director Of Engineering, Lloyd Sigmon (inventor
of the now famous “Sig-Alert”),
KMPC increased its power to 10,000-watts FULL TIME and moved the
transmitter to its present location on Burbank Boulevard (East of
Coldwater Canyon) in North Hollywood.
This facility was expanded in 1946 specifically to accommodate KMPC's power increase from 10kw to 50kw and house the then-new RCA 50F Transmitter. It's location is in a busy neighborhood now, but at the time of its construction, the surrounding area was completely agricultural. The design and construction project was under the supervision of KMPC's long-time transmitter supervisor and engineering pioneer, Mal Mobley, who spent the majority of his life as a broadcast engineer with KMPC.
(Thanks to Marvin Collins and Steve Blodgett for this photo and information)
In 1944, even though
many of the station’s staff were serving in the Armed Forces, KMPC had
outgrown its original facilities in Beverly Hills, and on March 19, 1944 moved
to 5939 Sunset Boulevard (currently the Old Spaghetti Factory.)
During this period, KMPC
first became known as Southern California’s sports station, graduating from
Hal Berger’s recreations of Major League baseball, to live coverage of Pacific
Coast League baseball, boxing, football, wrestling, golf, tennis and
"KMPC WAS SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA'S SPORTS STATION"
|Hal Berger - Sportscaster||Pacific Coast League Logo||Old LA Coliseum (Baseball)||Chavez vs. Aragon at Olympic||1947 LA Rams Program|
In 1947 KMPC received
approval from the FCC to increase its broadcasting power to 50,000-watts during
daylight hours and 10,000-watts directional at night.
G.A. Richards died in
1951 leaving the station in possession of his widow and under management of Bob
Reynolds and Lloyd Sigmon.
Prototype of the first SIGALERT receiver and recorder
Learn more about the SIGALERT by clicking on the photos above
In 1952 Mrs. Richards
offered KMPC for sale, and Gene Autry became the principal owner.
Autry, along with Reynolds, Sigmon and others, purchased KMPC for an
estimated $800,000. The “Station Of The Stars” became KMPC INC.
It was the ONLY major radio station in Los Angeles to be owned and
operated by local residents.
In June 0f 1968, KMPC
moved to 5858 Sunset Boulevard between Bronson and Van Ness.
That “Big White Building On Sunset” had a rich history.
That history included a variety of formats from nostalgia, to big bands
("The Great Stars and The Great Songs) to both news talk and sports radio,
and back to Adult Standards. But whatever the format, whomever the air
talent, those in the radio business thought of it as "RADIO HEAVEN!"
That history included a variety of formats from nostalgia, to big bands ("The Great Stars and The Great Songs) to both news talk and sports radio, and back to Adult Standards. But whatever the format, whomever the air talent, those in the radio business thought of it as "RADIO HEAVEN!"
In 1961 KMPC produced a promotional film which was used as a sales tool. The film features an overview of the station and their commitment to community service as well as a look at the various departments and personalities and programs that made the station so successful.
From wasteland to sound stage to picture studios to roller
rink and bowling alley to KMPC and KTLA here is a brief history of 10.2 acres in
Hollywood on a street lined with palm trees.
WARNER BROS. Bought the property in 1918 for $25,000 (with
nothing down!) and proceeded to build a 50x100’ stage in the middle of the
weeds. An enormous, bare structure
they soon called “The Barn”, but what KTLA now calls, more familiarly STAGE
6. The first big movie star to
emerge from this stage was RIN TIN TIN, but famed arrived in 1927 when THE JAZZ
SINGER, starring AL JOLSON, became the first sound film in history. THE LIGHTS OF NEW YORK, also produced by Warner Bros., was
the world’s first ALL-talking picture. (Among
so many others, PORKY PIG and BUGS BUNNY originated there, too!)
The KMPC Building was constructed in 1924 as the home of
Warner Bros. Studios. The brothers
were a colorful team. Sam got the
ideas, Harry financed them. Abe
worked them out and Jack carried them into action.
It was Sam who developed the first sound film, and it was his tragedy
that he died just the day before THE JAZZ SINGER made its debut.
In later years there was a rumor that because the two Hollywood-based
Warner brothers could no longer abide each other, they took their executive
offices at opposite ends of the vast upstairs hall, each trying to out-do each
Warner Bros. Studios 1924
Warner Bros. Studios 1924 with Eastbound Traffic on Sunset
KFWB Studios at 5858 Sunset
Sunset Bowling Center Entrance
Since the Warner Bros. Heyday, the property was occupied by KFWB and CBS and was the Sunset Bowling Center for 10 years. It featured 52 Lanes, the largest in the world at that time, with pin boys living in the loft of the building.
Pictures took it over in 1942 for an estimated $1,550,000 and added more stages
for its television station. Gene
Autry’s Golden West Broadcasters bought the license and television facilities
in 1964 for $12,000,000 and the acreage in 1967 for $6,500,000…a total of
Then a question was raised that at on time or another faces
all station operators: Is radio worth significant capital investment?
Golden West cast its vote for making KMPC a showplace.
It was rebuilt and redecorated in 1968 at accost of another one million
dollars. 30,000 man hours went into
the remodeling; an additional 20,000 man hours for installation of technical
The executive wing at the east end of the building was
constructed in 1969, with offices upstairs for Gene Autry* and his staff.
The downstairs are was intended to be a museum, but by 1973, KMPC had
grown to a staff of 136 and the space was needed for additional offices.
As it stands today the building is 26 feet longer than a football
field…108 2/3 yards.
*Gene Autry passed away on October 2, 1998. He was 91 year old.
Orvon Gene Autry
29 , 1907
91 Years 3 Days
CAUSE OF DEATH
FINAL RESTING PLACE
Forest Lawn Memorial Park - Hollywood Hills
Sheltering Hills #1048
Los Angeles, CA
In 1997 the stations' call letters were changed to KTZN for their new talk format "THE ZONE" which featured personalities such as Stephanie Miller. A few years later, KMPC was eventually sold to Disney and then moved from the facility. The KMPC call letters currently host a sports format at 1540 on the AM dial.
710 AM is now ESPN RADIO (KSPN) and the KMPC call letters belong to Sporting News Radio now at 1540 AM. The "Big White Building" is now production offices for KTLA and Tribune Broadcasting. But for those of us who walked its hallowed halls it will simply be remembered as RADIO HEAVEN!
|The AM 710 kHz frequency is now the home of ESPN Radio||The KMPC Call Letters now belong to Sporting News Radio 1540 AM|
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