November 16, 2011 at 5:45 am #34
On May 3, 1956 the FCC granted a construction permit to Gresham Broadcasting Co. for a new radio station in Gresham, Oregon on 1230 kilocycles with 100 watts of power. The new station would have to wait to begin program tests until KGON 1230kc had moved to its new frequency 1520kc. KGON had occupied the 1230 frequency since beginning operation in 1947. In late May 1956 call letters KGRO were assigned, standing for: “Gresham Rural Outlook.” On May 29, 1956 Gresham Broadcasting Co. filed for Incorporation. Acting officers were: Thomas B. Purcell, was Publisher & Editor of “The Gresham Outlook” newspaper; John W. Kendall, a Portland Attorney, had been involved in numerous Oregon stations & Jean Bybee, a Legal Secretary. KGRO estimated contruction was $16,025. On July 30, 1956 KGON vacated the 1230kc. On September 27, 1956 the FCC granted KGRO final clearance to begin operation.
On Friday September 28, 1956 KGRO signed on the air at exactly 12:30pm, signifying it’s frequency. The station was on the air before floor tiles had been installed in the building or office furniture had been brought in. Gresham Broadcasting Co. had changed all but one of its original partners. The company now consisted of: Thomas B. “Tom” Purcell, President (45%); Dr. Herbert H. Hughes, Gresham Mayor (20%); Sylvester B. Hall, an Agriculturist (20%); Guy E. Mathews, Gresham Realtor & Insurance (15%). KGRO’s music format was described as “including everything from classics to Elvis.” Classical music was broadcast on Sundays. In addition the station would feature news and play-by-play sports. KGRO subscribed to the Associated Press wire service.
KGRO studios and transmitter were located on a 4 1/2 acre tract, 200 feet east of Hogan Road in Gresham. KGRO utilized a Collins 300-G transmitter with a 154 foot tower. Alex de Schweinitz (formerly with KBRO) was Station Manager; Herbert “Herb” Smith (formerly on KGW, later KVAN-910 OM, KGW) Program Director; Arlan C. Walker (later KPDQ CE, KPOJ, KEX) Chief Engineer; Elise Darius, Women’s Director & Calvin “Cal” Lehman, Commercial Manager, was also part of the air staff with Jack Par (later on KISN, KGON-1520, KKEY, KDOL AM/FM GM, KAIN, KEEP) who was on 9am to 12 Noon. KGRO operated 6:00am to 10:00pm daily. KGRO’s phone number was: MOhawk 5-4143. Tom Purcell reported, listeners heard good reception in the Gresham area.
On July 13, 1957 KGRO was believed to be the first station in the area to broadcast live from a helicopter. The Saturday stunt was broadcast from 10:00am to 12 Noon with KGRO staffers Cal Lehman, Arlan Walker & Bob Scott (formerly with KERG, later with KPOJ) account executive. In 1957 KGRO’s format was described as “Sparkling Music.” On January 7, 1958 KGRO launched 24 hour weather forcasts when dailing MOhawk 5-6789. On February 28, 1958 KGRO Co-owner Tom Purcell was critically injured in a traffic accident which claimed his father”s life. By March 1958 KGRO slogan: K-GROw. On March 23, 1958 Tom Purcell improved to fair condition.
On April 10, 1958 KGRO raised daytime power from 100 watts to 250 watts. By July 1958 Robert E. “Bob” Ruan, II (formerly on KBPS) was Program Director & News Director. In early January 1959 Spencer Snow (formerly on KEX, KFIR PD) began mornings on KGRO 6:00am to 12 Noon.
On February 26, 1959 it was announced KGRO and Gresham Broadcasting Co. was sold to 40 year old Daniel M. “Dan” McPeak, Sr. (formerly CBS Engineer, VOA CE Philippines, KPDQ CE) President, General Manager & Chief Engineer for $44,000. (FCC approval: 4-11-59). Wife: Mary Jane McPeak, Woman’s Director; Alex de Schweinitz, former G.M. became Commercial Manager & Spencer Snow (later on KOAP-TV) Promotions Manager. Son: Dan McPeak, Jr. also worked at KGRO.
On June 16, 1959 Dan McPeak spoke about KGRO’s format: “Our policy is, and has been, a simple, realistic one designed to entertain people who have had their fill of hard sell and shattering sounds. The answer is Great Music, culled from the past and present, famous name bands playing the old standards, fabulous vocalists singing nostalgic songs, the kind of music that is never tiring and continues to satisfy people by its power to bring back memories of wonderful times in the listeners’ life.” Also in 1959 KGRO raised night time power from 100 watts to 250 watts.
By early 1960 KGRO had joined KBS – The Keystone Broadcasting System. Also by early 1960 Bruce C. Blevins became Commercial Manager & Promotions Manager. In June 1960 Bruce Cauthers (formerly with KFLY, KLOO while at OSC; brother of Tom Cauthers) did the 6pm to 10pm shift and then signed off the station. Bruce Cauthers remembers: “Music programming was predominantly “the Great Sounds of the Forties” with five minutes of news each hour from the AP teletype. Our morning man was a fellow named Mike Parks. We had a guy named Larry Kurtz doing lots of news who was an excellent interviewer-writer and had a network-sounding delivery.”
By July 1960 Dan McPeak became Commercial Manager with his other titles, President, General Manager & Chief Engineer. By September 1960 KGRO slogans were: “Radiant Radio” & “Hi-Fi and Happy Sounds.” KGRO was operating 6:00am to 10:00pm Monday through Saturday and 8:00am to 6:00pm on Sundays with it’s “Good Music” format. According to Dan McPeak, KGRO was the only automated station in Multnomah County. The station was able to play up to 4 1/2 hours of music on it’s “Gates Night Watch” system. The automation played both records and tapes, relieving disc jockeys from the 6:00pm to 10:00pm time slot.
Bruce Cauthers remembers the Gates Nightwatch: “The Nightwatch machine was a rather primitive effort at automation. It consisted of a nice reel-to-reel tape deck on a short rack/cabinet and a cabinet containing a jukebox style 45-rpm record player. It had a small microphone console for recording the voice tracks, a button to insert a low frequency tone on the tape to trigger the diskchanger for music following messages, the tone generator and the electronics to handle the audio in/out– not a particularly sophisticated piece of hardware. I don’t recall that it was put to immediate use when it arrived, because I was still doing live dj stuff every night ’til 10 o’clock signoff until I left for Corvallis [OSC] in mid-September.” By December 1960 KGRO’s address was: 1230 Melody Lane.
In March 1961 Dick Klinger (formerly on AFR Germany & France, later on WIVI, WBNB, WBNB-TV, KPOJ AM/FM, KGW-TV, KING-TV, CNN, Turner Classic Movies, SiriusXM) began mornings 6 to 10am. Bruce Cauthers remembers: “Dick Klinger was a genuine, happy friendly guy. I remember his being around many afternoons as I was getting to the station.” By May 15, 1961, 37 year old Eddy Hughes (formerly aka “Mr. Moon” Ed Leahy KBKO SD, KWJJ ND, aka Mr. Moon on KPTV, KOIN-TV, aka Ed Leahy on KISN, KLIQ) was hosting “Splendid Sounds of The 40’s.” and in a short time Edward H. “Ed” Leahy, Jr. became Program Director. Dick Klinger remembers: “ED LEAHY was The Star–remotes every weekend, sock hops, other dances and appearances.” John Harding (formerly on KGVO, later on KBTR, KLZ, KHOW) also joined the staff.
In June 1961 Bruce Cauthers was back from KFLY, KLOO (again) while attending OSC, (later on KGAR) returned to the evening shift which now signed off at midnight. Bruce Cauthers remembers: “Ed Leahy brought his friend Dick Desmond [formerly on KLIQ, later on KPOJAM/FM] one afternoon and we recorded some production news openers and promos with classy reverb using the Berlant Concertone multi-head tape machine Tom [Cauthers] and I had from our years at KPAR in Parkrose [carrier current station]. Those production pieces were transcribed onto acetate disks, and surprisingly, were used on KGRO’s air for a couple of years. The old Collins transmitter was a beautiful machine to behold. Its mercury vapor rectifiers, transformed the classics into an exciting greenish-purple light show which you could see from the parking lot when you killed all lights in the building.”
Summer 1961 Bruce Cauthers remembers: “Eager Beaver [earlier on KPDQ, KKEY, KWJJ; simultaneously on KGON-1520 at 11:45pm] negotiated an arrangement with Dan McPeak to carry his weekday 2 – 4:30 pm show from Bop City Records on Union Avenue. I was coming in early to do his news and some Gresham commercial cut-ins. Eager Beaver’s material was decidedly different from KGRO’s usual fare, but the arrangement seemed to work for several months and it was really fun.”
On May 13, 1962 KGRO raised daytime power from 250 watts to 1kw with a new $10,000 ITA AM-1000A transmitter. KGRO’s format at the time listed as “Standards.” Slogan: “The Big Band Station.” By September 1962 Daniel M. “Dan” McPeak was President & Chief Engineer with George O. DeWitz, Jr., Commercial Manager & Promotions Manager and by this time Jerry Flesey (formerly KOIL AM/FM CM, KISN GM) was in sales.
On February 13, 1963 it was announced Action Broadcasting Co. purchased KGRO for $72,000 (John E. “Jack” Grant, President & General Manager (40%); George O. DeWitz, Jr., Vice-President, Operations Manager & Commercial Manager (20%) & Marion G. McKeown, Secretary-Treasurer (20%). FCC approval: 4-17-63; Transfer: 5-1-63. 39 year old “Jack” Grant was a former KLIQ G.M. Joe W. Allen was Chief Engineer & Jim Hille was a disc jockey. It’s KBS affiliation was dropped. On May 20, 1963 Don Brooks “On Tap” talk show debuted on KGRO live from Carmen’s Restaurant & Lounge (3902 N.E. Sandy Blvd.) weekdays 10:00am to 12 Noon. Talk show number: 288-5861.
On June 6, 1963 KGRO became KRDR, known as “KaRD Radio.” The station also switched to a Country & Western format on this date. The slogan calls “Card” were chosen in keeping with it’s Western theme, Cowboy’s playing Cards. Slogan: “You’re In Card Country!” The ad that introduced KRDR: “AW, SHUCKS! This here town is gettin’ big enough for a brand new all western music radio station! Start Listenin’ to “Kard,” Pard! It’s new at 1230 on your set. KRDR 1230.” Jack Grant commented on the format: “We are staying away from the Hillbilly on the one hand and the Rock & Roll on the other. We are playing them straight down the middle featuring such artists as Tennessee Ernie Ford and Rosemary Clooney. We’re even going to have Country-style jingles for the weather.” Tom Cauthers aka T-O-M Tom (formerly on KGON-1230, KYJC, KRVC, KNND MD; KKEY) was at KRDR on it’s first broadcast day working the disc jockey/equipment maintenance shift, 6pm to midnight sign off.
In early August 1963 KRDR became the Northwest’s first 24 hour Country & Western station. (KWJJ switched to C&W on 3-1-65). Clair Musser (formerly on KUIK) had talked management into adopting the added hours. Tom Cauthers remembers: “The production board at KRDR was one I built from scratch as our control room board at KPAR Parkrose” carrier current station. In October 1963 The “Card Country Gentlemen” were: “Laramie” Clair Musser 6am to 10am; “Smiling” Jim Hille 10am to Noon; Buddy Simmons (formerly on KPVA), Noon to 2:00pm; “Smiling” Jim Hille 2pm to 6pm; Ross Davis (formerly on KGW) 6pm to 10pm; Tom Cauther aka T-O-M Tom 10pm to ? Weekends: Jim Moffett (simultaneously at KGW-TV). Sundays: Vince Ginnaty (simultaneously at KATU) 2pm to 6pm.
In January 1964 The “Card Country Gentlemen” were: Don Lane (later on KTOH) 6am to 9am; “Laramie” Clair Musser 9am to Noon; “Smiling” Jim Hille, Noon to 2pm; Buddy Simmons 2pm to 5pm; “Smiling” Jim Hille 5pm to 8pm; Jerry Martin 8pm to Midnight. Sundays: Vince Ginnaty 2pm to 6pm. On January 4, 1964 Guy Mathews former KGRO Co-founder, 1956 to 1959 died at age 72 in Portland. On February 14, 1964 KRDR presented Buck Owens at the “Division St. Corral.” On April 17, 1964 Dr. Herbert H. Hughes former KGRO Co-founder, 1956 to 1959 and Gresham Mayor, 1940 to 1956, died at age 81 in Gresham.
By May 1964 Don McCoun (later with KWIQ, KXL SM & KCKN AM/FM GM, KUIK/KPRB Owner) was in KRDR sales. By November 1964 KRDR featured two minutes of news every half hour, with two minutes of sports & weather hourly and 15 minutes of news at 7:30am featuring the “Sheriff’s Report.” Clair L. Musser was Music Director & Jimmie Williams, Sports Director. Jim Fletcher (later at KGAR with brother “Bob Duke” Fletcher, KAIN/KXTC CM) was in sales.
By September 1965 KRDR had one mobile unit, with News at 27: & 58: after the hour. Sports at 15: & Weather at 45: past the hour. The “Midnight Report’ ran from 12 to 12:15am with Tom Cauthers (later on KGAR, KTOH CE, KERG Asst. ND, aka Ted Thomas on KISN, aka Scotty Wright on KISN, aka Tom Cauthers on KISN, KPAM AM/FM/KLSC CE, Collins/Rockwell /Continental sales, KXTC/KQZQ owner, Varian Associates sales, Jefferson Public Radio CE, KBPS CE, KKPZ/KKSL/KPBC CE). Donald J. “Don” Lane was News Director & Benjamin F. “Ben” Dawson (simultaneously KPTV Chief Booth Ann., former KISN CE) Chief Engineer.
On November 10, 1965 George DeWitz, Operations Manager commented on the KRDR Radio War with KWJJ: “We’re in a dogfight. The Country-Western pie just isn’t big enough for both stations. KWJJ may have the power (50kw) but we’ve got the experience. All right, so they’re not getting us, as strong over in the West Hills. Well how many C&W lovers are you going to have over there, anyway? This is the only city under 600,000 with two C&W stations.” (footnote: KUIK also a C&W station since April 1964). By March 1966 KRDR slogans: “The People’s Choice In Country-Western Music” & “Portland’s Leading Country-Western Music Station.”
By 1966 Heck Harper (formerly aka Heck Flateau on KWLK, KWSC, aka Cowboy Heck on KEX, aka Heck Harper on KING-TV, KPTV host “Bar 27 Corral” & “Heck Harper’s Jamboree”, 910-KVAN’s “Records By Heck”, KGW’s “Heck Harper”, KGW-TV’s “Circle 8 Hoedown” & “Cartoon Corral”; later on KLIQ AM/FM) was heard on KRDR. Don Coss remembers: “Heck mainly played songs on his guiter and sang during his air shifts.” By April 1966 Benjamin F. “Ben” Dawson (later KAYO CE) was News Director as well as Chief Engineer. KRDR also issued a weekly music survey.
In Summer 1966 Dick Jenkens began doing midnight to 6am. On July 28, 1966 KRDR was denied a permit to move its transmitter site to the Troutdale Airport, by Multnomah County. By May 1967 Don Lane was on 5 to 7pm weekdays. By October 1967 Buddy Simmons was Music Director & Joe W. Allen (returned, simultaneously KLIQ CE & KOHI CE, later KLIQ-FM CE, KYTE AM-FM CE, KUIK CE) Chief Engineer.
In early Summer 1967 KRDR began broadcasting Top 40 music weeknights from 7pm to 12 midnight. Ken Seymour relates Chris Marks remembrance: “KRDR started their “1-2-3 Rock” format with a Country Western jock to do Rock’n roll. It was so bad that it didn’t last long with him. So KRDR PD Don Lane hired away 17 year old “Johnny Cool” from KGAR to take over the “1-2-3 Rock” format changing his name Chris Marks. He was the first jock to successfully roll out rock and roll on KRDR. They subsequently ordered new jingles to launch rock. Chris suggested to Don Lane to hire Mike Roberts to do the midnight to 5am rock shift. Chris and Mike knew each other from a work stint they did at the Lewis and Clark College station KLC. Mike soon left afterwards to work at the new KYXI.
Dick Jenkins took over midnight to 5am. Chris Marks was KRDR’s Rock & Roll Program Director & Music Director. Night disc jockeys were dubbed The KRDR “Bad Guys.” A send up to the KISN “Good Guys.” Dick Jenkins remembers: “The day I actually talked on the phone with a groupie in a suggestive manner and didn’t realize the phone patch was “hot”. It ran for 15 minutes before I realized what had happened. The phones went nuts and I thought I was going to be fired for sure. Fortunately, everyone thought I had done it on purpose for a gag. Luckily I didn’t get fired by Jack Grant. He just said “be more careful next time.”
August 1967 Dick Jenkins remembers: “When KISN banned the Doors “Light My Fire” because it was so “suggestive” the ratings for KRDR went to a 50% share in East Portland. Every young person felt the owner of KISN, Don Burdon was idiotic for banning the number one song from the radio. I still have a copy of that “50% share” of listening from the old PULSE Ratings for East Portland in an old file somewhere.” [An Editors note on this Rock period: There are conflicting remembrances of who was on the air and when.]
In April 1968 Ken Seymour (later K16CB owner, K04OG/KENY-LP owner, KQSO-LP owner) remembers: Chris Marks 7pm to midnight & Mike Roberts (later at KYXI he would tragically commit suicide by hanging himself on 11-8-72) Midnight to 5am. In early 1969 Todd Dennis (formerly on KGAR) began working the overnight shift called “Night Flight” from midnight to 5am. Dick Jenkins was moved to 7pm to midnight and was KRDR’s Rock & Roll Program Director & Music Director. Dick Jenkins remembers: “When some of the daytime Country jocks went on vacation I also did Country airshifts for a few weeks or even news. It was actually a hoot.”
In June 1969 Todd Dennis had become KRDR’s Rock & Roll Program Director, moving to evenings (7pm to midnight) when Dick Jenkins left for KVAN-1480 (later on KGAR, KPAM/KPFM, KQIV MD/PD, KISN, KTAC, KCLB STM, K-Love/Air 1 Pres./CEO). In 1970 Junior Rockaway (later aka Junior on KGAL; aka Bobby Mitchell on KGAR; aka David Stone KISN MD; aka Hurricane Hunter on WMYQ; aka Jay Stone on KYA; aka Dave “Records” Stone on KISN, KAAR, KMXI, KKSN AM/FM, KXL) was on Midnight to 5am. Slogans: “1-2-3 Radio, Where The Hits Keep Happenin’.” In early 1971 KRDR threw in the towel on its Rock & Roll nights, reverting back to 24 hour Country.
On January 25, 1968 KRDR presented Jimmy Dean at the Coliseum at 8:30pm. Tickets: $2.50, $3.50 & $4.50. By October 1968 Donald J. “Don” Lane (back from KTOH) was Program Director, Edward H. “Ed” Leahy, Jr. (formerly KPIR ND; later KLIQ AM/FM PD) News Director & James “Jim” Jobes, Chief Engineer. In late 1968 Don Coss (formerly on KWAY, KUIK, KGAR) joined the KRDR sales dept. By October 1969 Stan Cooper was Program Director & Dan MacDonald, News Director. By November 24, 1969 KRDR was issuing a Top 40 survey as “Radio 1-2-3.” Slogan: “Colorful 1-2-3.” On August 12, 1970 KRDR presented Jeannie C. Riley in Concert at the Flower Drum Club, 14542 S.E. Division St.
By October 1972 Action Broadcasting Co. ownership & percentage had changed. John E. “Jack” Grant was (50%) & President; George O. DeWitz, Jr. (50%) and was now Secretary as well as Vice-President. Also Ed Keebler was KRDR Program Director & James “Jim” Fenton, Chief Engineer. By October 1972 Ted Rogers (formerly on KIMN, KEX MD, KPOJ/KPOK; later on KPOK/KUPL, KYTE, KPDQ AM/FM OM/PD) was a KRDR disc jockey. In late 1972 Todd Dennis returned (later KOIN PM, KQFM, KPAM AM/FM, KCNR AM/FM MD, KWJJ AM/FM, KSLM PD, KWBY PD, KOTK/KWJJ-FM PM) and began overnights. By February 1973 Todd’s brother Donald D. “Don” Coss was Program Director. Ed Keebler former P.D. moved to KPOK.
On November 15, 1973 it was announced KRDR was sold to Community Communications Corp., of Kansas City, MO. (27 year old David J. Benjamin, III, (38.5%) Chairman of The Board & Co-General Manager; 27 year old Charles W. Banta (38.5%) President & Co-General Manager) for $575,000. (FCC approval: 6-6-74; Transfer: 7-1-74). Ed Keebler, back from KPOK, became Production Manager; Bob Zane, Music Director & Larry R. Wilson (later KUPL-FM OM/PD, KXL-AM/FM/KXJM CE, KPDQ AM/FM CE, KUIK CE) Chief Engineer. By December 1974 KRDR’s phone number had changed to: 667-1230. This was the first phone number change since the station signed on the air in 1956.
KRDR also became an affiliate of the Mutual Broadcasting System, becoming Portland’s Mutual station, carrying the hourly feed. KPOK had dropped MBS in 1973. KRDR also carried specials from MBS sister Mutual Black Network like the Ali-Frazier World Championship Rematch. KRDR slogan: “Music Country.” On August 26, 1975 KRDR presented Hee-Haw’s Susan Raye (formerly on KWAY) at the Flower Drum Club, 14542 S.E. Division St. By December 1975 Clifford B. “Cliff” Schrock was Chief Engineer. On November 16, 1976 KRDR presented Willie Nelson (formerly on KHBR, KBOP; aka Wee Willie Nelson on KCNC; aka Willie Nelson on KVAN, KKEY) & David Allan Coe at The Coliseum, 8pm. Tickets $5.00, $6.00, $7.00.
By November 1976 J. Michael Stewart (formerly on KKDJ, KSEE, KISN) was Program Director; Ric Elgin (formerly on KYXI; later on KOIN-TV, KGAR, KMJK-FM PD, KOHI, KAAR PD) Music Director; Donald D. “Don” Coss moved from P.D. to Sales Manager & Linda Predmore, Traffic Manager. By December 1976 KRDR’s address had changed from 1230 Melody Lane to 1930 S.E. 6th St. By October 1977 Bob Craig & Gary Mondo were disc jockey’s. By November 1977 Donald J. “Don” Lane returned (formerly on KAYO, KSEM) was once again Program Director; Kelley Mac, News Director & Linley F. Gumm, Chief Engineer.
On September 19, 1978, Jeff Williams (formerly KWIP Merced, AFRN Alaska, KCLV, KINN, KGRT, KGAY MD, KRWG-FM; later on KGAR, KVAN MD/ND, KMJK PAD, KVAN AGM/OM/ND, KGON/KKSN, KPDQ) was announced as afternoon drive personality and would do football color with Jim Moffat. The KRDR Air Staff included: Don Lane, mornings; Dale Tobin, Darryl Delaney, Pete St. James (formerly on KPAM) & Jeff Vermeer, midday DJ’s for 18 months; Jeff Williams, afternoons; Bob Zane, 7 to midnight & “The Old Backwoodsman” Bob Craig, overnights. News: Gale Cunningham & Bill Cartmel. Weekends: Linda Evans. In Sales were: Vern Guile, Sandy Decker, Jack Grant & Dan McDonald. Office personel were; Joy Lane, Lynn Holmstrom and Rheta Salgado.
Jeff Williams remembers: “I liked KRDR because it was true to its traditional country vibe. The Old Backwoodsman refused to play a Ronnie Milsap 45 because the vinyl was (instead of the common black) colored pink with little multi-colored speckles all over it. And he refused to play it because it looked too feminine and thought it might compromise his manhood. Even though no one could see him.”
On September 26, 1978 Community Communications Corp. changed its license name to Community Pacific Broadcasting Corp. By November 1978 Donald D. “Don” Coss was Operation Manager; Dale Tobin, News Director. Also by November 1978 KRDR’s format was described as “Modern Country.” On November 2, 1978 it was announced the Oregon Association of Broadcasters had elected KRDR’s David J. Benjamin as Secretary-Treasurer and on November 6, 1979 he became Vice-President. On February 1, 1979 Community Pacific Broadcasting Corp. purchased KGAA in Kirkland, WA. By April 1979 Debra Clay (later on KDOL) was a weekender.
By May 1979 Gale Cunningham (later KJIB/KWJJ ND, KPAM-860, KXL, KFIS/KTRO ND) was News Director. On July 1, 1979 Community Pacific Broadcasting Corp. purchased KEED Eugene, OR. In Fall 1979 Brad Dolbeer (later on KQFM, KGON, KKCW, KGON, KMJK AM/FM MD, KMTT MD, Research Group – Rock PD, KMTT, K-HITS APD, KINK APD) began weekends. Also on weekends was Jim Conway (later on KWJJ, KAAR; aka Jim McEwen on KVAN-1550; aka Jim Conway on KKSN-FM). The KRDR Air Staff included: Mark Wade, mornings; Don Lane, middays; Darryl Delaney, afternoons; Bob Zane, 7 to midnight & “The Old Backwoodsman” Bob Craig, overnights. News: Gale Cunningham. Legal ID was live: “KRDR Gresham, Music and More.”
By November 1979 Charles Calkins, Chief Engineer. On November 6, 1979 David J. Benjamin became Vice-President of the Oregon Association of Broadcasters. By March 1980 KRDR’s request line was: 667-KRDR (5737) and the business office continued as: 667-1230. By November 1980 Daryl Delaney (later on KLRR) & Donald J. “Don” Lane were Co-Music Director’s with Don Lane continuing as P.D. On November 14, 1980 KRDR’s David J. Benjamin became President of the Oregon Association of Broadcasters.
On February 27, 1981 KRDR’s license was changed to: Community Gresham Broadcasting Corp. By April 1981 KRDR slogans: “East County Country” East County Radio” & “East County’s News & Information Center.” On April 1, 1981 Community Pacific Broadcasting Corp. purchased KGA & KDRK (FM) in Spokane, WA. Gresham, OR. continued to be the radio group headquarters. In May 1981 Marion McKeown died at age 66 in Gresham. Former KRDR Co-owner & Secretary-Treasurer, 1963 to 1972. By October 1981 the KRDR Air Staff included: Daryl Delaney mornings at 6am with Jeff Manson news; Don Lane middays; Mark Wade afternoons with Gloria Feves (formerly on KARO) news; Craig West (formerly on KFDR, KOHI PD/MD) 6 to midnight; “The Old Backwoodsman” Bob Craig midnight to 6am.
Craig West remembers: “Traffic guy Todd Dorsey from Traffic Net. fired off one afternoon the best blooper ever on it… his traffic “tease” went as follows…”People on the West Side are getting blow(n) on the way home…this traffic report is brought to you by Air Cal.” LOL! I said afterwards we should all move to the West Side!!!”
In October 1981 KRDR became one of a handful of Oregon stations to use a satellite dish for network news. Mutual installed the $6,000. dish free, even before Portland’s distribution dish. (Westar I Satellite). By November 1981 Donald J. “Don” Lane was solely Program Director; Daryl Delaney was solely Music Director & Jeff Manson, News Director. On December 4, 1981 it was announced Donald D. “Don” Coss was now KRDR General Manager. On September 24, 1982 Community Pacific Broadcasting Corp. purchased KFIV AM/FM Modesto, CA and KTOM/KWYT(FM) Salinas, CA for $5.6 Million.
By November 1982 it was reported KRDR had 15 full time employees including DJ, Phil Stetson (real name!) and 10 part time employees. On November 15, 1982 Community Pacific Broadcasting Corp. purchased KANC Anchorage, AK for $1.165 Million. By December 1982 Donald J. “Don” Lane was Program Director & Music Director again; Sandy Decker, Commercial Manager. In early 1983 KRDR began broadcasting its first traffic reports. Mark Dornfeld (simultaneously on KMJK-FM) was the reporter from “Northwest Informational Networks.” Mark remembers: “Brien Morris started doing the reports with me later on…in the same car. We’d do the hand-offs by taking the mic from the other person…high tech!”
In April 1983 Community Pacific Broadcasting Corp. moved its main offices from Gresham, OR to Salinas, CA. By Summer 1983 Mark Wade was Program Director & Mark Dornfeld began as a KRDR weekend DJ and did fill-ins as well. The KRDR weekday jocks were: Mark Wade with Jeff Manson news, mornings; Phil Stetson, middays; Craig West, afternoons; Curtis Wilson evenings & “The Old Backwoodsman” Bob Craig, overnights.
Craig West remembers: “Our midday girl (Linda Evans) figured out she was getting fired by Mark Wade. He would put up lists of shifts for the week and hers was empty. She called me at home and quizzed me and I wouldn’t say anything. I told her to call Mark. She did…and he said she was being replaced. So…she told him when this song ends, you are on the air. The cart finishes and there’s dead air. LOL! About 20 minutes later here comes Mark on the air. Linda closed the door and locked it BUT no one had a key! Mark had to break a window out and climb in, to go on air.”
On September 4, 1983 the station presented “The KRDR Music Festival” at Blue Lake Park, broadcasting it live at 1:00pm, featuring: Shelley Kane & The Spirit Lake Band, The Bobby Gibson Trio & Buddy Carpenter. M.C. was Johnny Counterfit. By November 1983 Craig West was mornings 6 to 10am & Mark Wade switched to afternoons. By December 1983 Ron Ahlberg was a weekender. In January 1984 Brien Morris (formerly on KGW; simultaneously on KXL, KMJK-FM, KWJJ, KSKD, KCNR-FM, KXYQ, KKLI, KUIK, KAAR, KPDQ, KYTE, KSGO) began as a KRDR traffic reporter from “Northwest Informational Networks.” (later on KEX, KKRZ, KKCW, KKSN-FM, KEWS, KBNP, KVAN 1550, KGW-TV, KRSK, KNRK, KGON, KXL, KUIK, KSGO, KEX/KKRZ/KKCW/KEWS, KBNP, KVAN-1150, KKSN-FM/KGON/KRSK/KNRK, KGW-TV).
On May 4, 1984 KRDR participated in the 10th annual “World’s Greatest Trike Jump” into a lake at Mount Hood Community College. Mark Dornfeld (later on KWJJ AM/FM, KXL, KAAR, KPAM) remembers: “Craig West was broadcasting live from the trike jump. I was on the KRDR “traffic trike” and ended up chipping a tooth when I hit the water. Good times. Glad there weren’t any video camera in those days!” By November 1984 Craig W. West was Music Director (Later on KWJJ, KPAK, KCMJ, WHL PBP) & Johnny Counterfit, Promotions Manager.
In January 1985 Mason Dixon (former KJUN PD) took over mornings. By July 1985 Dan Osterman was a KRDR traffic reporter (simultaneously on KAAR, KXL, KWJJ) of “Northwest Informational Networks.” On August 30, 1985 KRDR presented Asleep At The Wheel at Starry Night. Tickets: $8.50. By November 1985 KRDR had increased night power from 250 watts, to match day power of 1kw & Donald J. “Don” Lane was Operations Manager. By July 1986 KRDR had 13 full time employees and 10 part time employess.
On July 9, 1986 it was announced KRDR was purchased by Columbia River Broadcasting, Inc. (T. Robert Anderson, President; Donald D. Coss, Vice-President & G.M.; Philip B. Hopwood; Roger A. Leman) for $600,000. The sale did not include the studio transmitter building or the 5-acre tract of land. (FCC filed: 6-24-86; FCC approval: 8-8-86) T. Robert Anderson co-owned KHIT(FM) Bremerton, WA & KIAK/KQRZ (FM) Fairbanks, AK. KRDR’s offices were modernized and its tower was increased from 154 feet to 200 feet. Automation equipment was installed. Syndicated Country programming was heard all hours except morning drive. Four disc jockeys were laid off.
On April 27, 1987 KRDR reduced hours of operation from 24 to 18, 6:00am to 12 midnight. On April 29, 1987 KRDR announced the station was up for sale. T. Robert Anderson said: they were “unable to meet its latest payroll because advertisers did not pay their bills.” All but four of the dozen employees had left. On May 1, 1987 KRDR ceased operation at 6:00pm, going dark for 18 months. KRDR was the oldest station in Oregon, broadcasting Country Music on a continuous basis.
On November 11, 1987 former owner Community Gresham Broadcasting Corp. filed a petition in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Portland, that it was owed $549,854. On November 25, 1987 KRDR’s license was re-assigned back to Community Gresham Broadcasting Corp. On February 28, 1988 KZRC 1010KHz signed on the air from the KRDR studio & transmitter site at 1930 S.E. 6th St., broadcasting the automated “Z-Rock” format from “The Satellite Music Network” out of Dallas Texas. KZRC was owned by 1010 Broadcasting, Inc. John E. “Jack” Grant, President & G.M. and former KRDR President & G.M., 1963 to 1974.
Steve Naganuma (formerly on KPAM-FM, KGAR, KYTE AM/FM PM, KMJK-FM, KQFM, KBPS AM/FM, KMJK AM/FM PD/MD, KXYQ APD; later on KKRZ/KKCW, KUPL-FM) KZRC Program Director remembers: “The building was pretty run down. The toilet was cracked and ready to fall apart, so it was my job to call a plumber and get it replaced. The Heavy Metal Rock format seemed to bother the neighbors with the RF bleeding into their phone lines. The engineer was giving RF trap filters to many of the neighbors to keep them happy.”
On July 27, 1988 the KRDR sale was made public. Gresham Radio, Inc. (Martin Malarkey, Chairman; Gregg K. Clapper, President & G.M. 20%) purchased the station for $200,000. (FCC approval: 9-26-88) Gregg Clapper former co-owned KHSN/KOOS(FM), KENI AM/FM Pres./GM, KBCN/KINQ(FM) Pres., KVOK Pres., KTVA anchor, KCYX GM; later on KKGT, KTLK, KPAM PD.
On November 9, 1988 KRDR signed back on the air, renting shared studio building at tower space with KZRC from old owner Community Gresham Broadcasting Corp. KRDR’s new format would consist of Soft Rock, Light Jazz & New Age music. $25,000. was spent upgrading the stations facilites to broadcast in stereo. (Motorola C-QUAM). KRDR dropped the Mutual Network and affiliated with NBC Radio syndication. KRDR business offices were located at 1217 N.E. Burnside Rd. in Gresham.
Douglas W. Parrott was Controller; Marshall H. Moss (former KAGO-FM PD) Program Director & Music Director; Ken Edwards, News Director; Sanna Sterling (former KWJJ AM/FM GSM) General Sales Manager & Matthew “Matt” Green (formerly with KGW/KINK, KKCW CE, KLYC/KBCH/KCRF CE, KGON; later with WBOS, KWJJ AM/FM, KBBT/KUPL-FM/KKJZ, KGON, KICE/KXIX/KMGX/KSJJ CE, KCMD/KUPL-FM/KUFO-FM, KBAM/KEDO/KLYK/KPPK-KELA/KMNT-KACI AM/FM/KMSW-KIHR/KCGB RE) became Chief Engineer, placing KRDR back on the air.
On December 1, 1988 KRDR changed call letters to KKGR, standing for city of license: GResham. In September 1989 KKGR affiliated with the American Radio Network. On November 24, 1989 Ed Leahy, former KGRO Program Director, 1961 to 1962 & KRDR News Director, 1968 to 1969, died at age 65 in Ocean Park, WA. By December 1989 Michael Brown was KKGR Chief Engineer.
On May 7, 1990 KKGR switched format to News/Talk and featured a Portland Radio News first weeknights, the audio simulcast of KATU with “ABC World News Tonight with Peter Jennings” at 6pm and “Channel 2 News” with Paul Linnman & Melissa Mills at 6:30pm. Another first also began on this day, the Portland debut of “Rush Limbaugh” 9am to 11am, following KKGR’s local Marshall Ross show 7am to 9am. KKGR affiliated with ABC Talk Radio Network & EIB. Marshall H. Ross continued as P.D. By December 1990 Gary M. Hilliard (former KPAM AM/FM CE, KWJJ AM/FM CE, KCNR AM/FM CE, KKLI CE; simultaneously KKSN AM/FM CE) was Chief Engineer. In July 1991 KKGR went dark for 8 months.
On February 18, 1992 it was announced KKGR was purchased by Pacific Northwest Broadcasting Corp. (Richard L. “Dick” Schwary (formerly on KVAN-1550), President; William F. “Bill” King, Vice-President; Al Angelo, Jr. & James “Jim” Hambleton, Jr.) in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Portland for $82,000. (FCC approval: 3-17-92, License: 6-30-92). On April 1, 1992 KKGR signed back on the air with an automated Soft Adult Contemporary format, except mornings. Lisa Karr (formerly on KSLM) was the first to sign KKGR on the air that day at 7am with news from Angie Buss (later KGON AE).
Slogan calls “KMUZ.” Studios had moved to Washougal, WA at the Port of Camas/Washougal, 24 A. Street, Suite A. Phone: (206) 835-3400 or (503) 227-2156. Business offices continued to be located at 1217 N.E. Burnside Rd. Suite 802 in Gresham. William F. “Bill” King (former KWJJ AM/FM GSM) became General Manager; returning were Marshall H. Moss, Program Director & Gary M. Hilliard (simultaneously KKSN AM/FM CE; later KRSK CE, KGON/KFXX/KNRK CE, KWJJ/KOTK/KSLM CE) Chief Engineer. KKGR was affiliated with the ABC Radio Network. Lisa Karr (later on KXYQ, KKCW MD, KKJZ/KLTH MD, KKCW AE, KOAS/KVGS AE) remembers: “Marshall was difficult to get along with. He had a pretty bad temper– he was hilarious, but could be extremely rude. I hardly ever think about KMUZ. It was kind of a negative experience.”
On May 4, 1992 it was announced that Gene Brendler (formerly on American Forces Network in Berlin during WWII, KWJJ, KXL, KPTV ND/PAD, simultaneously on KHFS) would become KMUZ Special Program & Projects Director and would do daily commentaries. Mr Brendler, 65, said: “This is an exiting opportunity for a guy who isn’t ready to wrap up his broadcasting career at this point in his life.” On May 11, 1992 KKGR became KMUZ. Call letter slogan not used “K-Music.” (Saved for forthcoming FM sister). KMUZ (AM) slogans: “Your Quality Music Choice.”, “The East Counties News Authority.” & “Radio 1-2-3, Your East County Radio.” On November 1, 1992 KMUZ gained an sister station when KMUZ-FM 94.7MHz Camas signed on the air. By 1993 KMUZ had reduced power from 1kw to 920 watts.
In Fall 1993 Peggy La Point (formerly on KINK; later with KXL-FM, KOTK-620, KEWS, KINK) was a the overnight DJ on the FM side and remembers the Port of Camas/Washougal studios: “The AM was totally automated, if I remember. We were encouraged to do a couple of hours of our show automated and I remember recording in a glassed in ‘studio’ that was connected to the main ‘studio’ (both stations used this recording studio). I use those terms lightly because there were gaps under each door of 1/2 inch. (These rooms were not sound-proofed at all). I’m pretty sure this had originally been one big room and temporary walls were put up to carve out these two studios.”
“The two studios took up half the space, the other half housed the equipment, a desk where the news person sat & typed along with another small table. I had worked at KINK part-time before going to KMUZ-FM and I remember thinking that the station didn’t seem like a professional station at all. My college radio station had better equipment, including an AP news wire which KMUZ lacked. When the fog came in, the place would reek of fumes from the paper plant. It was awful! KMUZ-FM was my first full time gig and I had a chance to be on the air regularly, so that was the appeal.”
On February 18, 1994 BayCom Partners L.P. owners of KKJZ (FM) & KUPL AM/FM took over operation of KMUZ under an LMA, switching to a Classical format which had previously been heard on KKBK 106.7MHz now KKJZ. KKBK call letter slogan: “K-Bach.” Slogans: “K-Bach, Bringing You The Classics, and Always In Digital Stereo Perfection”, “The Northwest’s Only All Digital Classical Music Station, K-Bach” & “This Is Your Station For The Classics, K-Bach, Digital Stereo 1230.” Alan Stone, Music Director & Robert A. “Bob” McClanathan (formerly with KEX AM/FM, KPAM/KPFM/KPAM-FM CE) Chief Engineer. On April 18, 1994 KMUZ became KKBK standing for “K-Bach.” By November 1994 KKBK had opened a sales office at 6420 S.W. Macadam in Portland.
In early 1995 KKBK switched daytime format to Standards. Slogan: “Light Favorites, 1230 AM KMUZ” and keeping the Classical format for nights. By March 1995 the KMUZ Business offices located at 1217 N.E. Burnside Rd. Suite 802 had switched to Suite 804 in Gresham. On March 6, 1995 KKBK’s sister KMUZ (FM) was sold to Apogee Communications, Inc. On April 1, 1995 KKBK became KMUZ once again. The ABC Radio affiliation was dropped.
On May 29, 1995 KMUZ switched format to Portland area’s first Spanish station. A simalcast of KWBY’s Regional Mexican format, a blending of Mexican Banda, Mexican-American Banda, Ranchera & Tejano music, 24 hours, calling itself “Radio Fiesta.” KWBY Woodburn was also an affiliate of the “CBS Hispanic Radio Network.” KWBY was owned by Don Coss, former KRDR V.P & G.M. KMUZ President, Richard L. “Dick” Schwary became General Manager as well.
In July 1996 KMUZ switched programming to “Z-Spanish Radio Network” syndicated by “Jones Radio Networks” and became known as “La Zeta.” A few months later local programming began from the Port of Camas/Washougal studios. By December 1996 Cshea Walker was Station Manager, Operation Manager, Chief of Operations, Program Director; Thomas W. “Tom” Trullinger, General Sales Manager & National Sales Manager; Nelson Zapeda, Regional Sales Manager; Robert A. “Bob” McClanathan & Michael Brown Co-Chief Engineers.
By November 1997 Nelson Zapeda & co-host Johan Ariel Lasarte were on mornings beginning at 7am and Henry Cualio was on weekends. By December 1997 Cshea Walker was now General Manager, as well as Operation Manager & Program Director; Thomas W. “Tom” Trullinger, General Sales Manager; Nelson Zapeda, Music Director as well as Regional Sales Manager. KMUZ employed six disc jockeys playing a mix of Banda, Mariachi & Ranchero. All of them sold radio advertising as well.
By February 1998 24 year old Mireille Wickham was Program Director and she also did mornings known as “Mireille” 7 to 10am, with 28 year old Alma Hernandez, afternoons 3 to 5pm. KMUZ had live programming 7am to 11pm weekdays and 13 hours on Saturdays and 9 hours on Sundays. KMUZ continued to use “Z-Spanish Radio Network” for automated hours. KMUZ employed five full-time & six part-time employees. On June 15, 1998 Daniel M. “Dan” McPeak, Sr., former KGRO owner 1959 to 1963, died at age 79 in Tampa, FL. On November 2, 1998 Heck Harper, former KRDR 1960’s air personality died at age 79 in Oregon City. By December 1998 Nelson Zapeda, Music Director. By 2000
On July 29, 2001 KMUZ “La Zeta” presented its Sixth Anniversary Party held at Estacada Timber Park featuring Tormenta Nortena, Banda Rebelde, etc. By 1999 James “Jim” Hambleton, Jr. was Vice-President of Pacific Northwest Broadcasting Corp. By 2000 KMUZ had moved its Gresham sales office to: 2870 N.E. Hogan Drive, Suite E-401. KMUZ was reported playing: Banda, Ranchera, Texana, Musica Pop & Tropical.
In 2001 the La Zeta air personalities were: Mireille, mornings 6 to 10am, Compadre Mas Padre, Arnulfo Alvarez, Nelson & Company, afternoons 2 to 6pm with Henry Cualio, news & Arnulfo Alvarez, news & sports. Cristhian Heffel, receptionist. Slogan: “KMUZ 1230 AM and Nothing Else!” On June 8, 2002 Marshall H. Moss former KRDR/KKGR/KMUZ Program Director, 1988 to 1995 died of Cancer at age 50 in North Bend. In 2003 the La Zeta air personalities were: Mireille, Miguel Angel Sanchez, Emilio Barrrales, Arnulfo Alvarez, Compadre Mas Padre, Henry Cualio.
On April 21, 2003 KMUZ was purchased by Bustos Media Holdings of Oregon, LLC, (group owner: Bustos Media, LLC; Amador S. Bustos, Chairman, CEO & President; brother, John S. Bustos, Operative Vice-President ) for $1.13 Million. (FCC approval: 5-30-03). Spencer French (formerly KWBY/KCKX GSM) Vice-President & G.M.; Thomas W. “Tom” Trullinger became Station Manager & General Sales Manager; Emilio Barrales, Program Director; Mireille Wickham, Music Director. On April 29, 2003 Bustos purchased KKGT Portland, OR for $1.25 Million and moved into studios with KMUZ at 24 South A. St., Suite C. in Washougal, Washington.
On September 9, 2003 KMUZ license was transfered to Bustos Asset Management, LLC. On October 29, 2003 Bustos purchased KKSN Oregon City for $2.8 Million, becoming KZNY. On November 19, 2003 Bustos purchased KGUY Milwaukie OR for $1 Million. In July 2004 Humberto C. Perez became Corporate Controller. By October 2004 KMUZ and sister stations moved studios to the Mount Tabor District of Portland at 5110 S.E. Stark St. (former studio home of KPDQ AM/FM). On September 12, 2004 Jack Grant died at age 80 in Lake Oswego. Former KRDR President & General Manager, 1963 to 1974.
By October 2004 KMUZ had switched to “Recuerdo” an automated Spanish Oldies format. On December 15, 2004 KMUZ license was assigned to Bustos Media of Oregon, LLC. On January 28, 2005 KMUZ license was assigned to Bustos Media of Oregon License, LLC. By 2005 Thomas W. “Tom” Trullinger was Station Manager only & Tom H. Oberg, General Sales Manager.
On January 18, 2007 KMUZ switched call letters with sister KSZN 1010KHz and changed format to a simulcast with KMUZ 1010KHz to the automated Spanish Adult Hits format known as “La Bonita.” In April 2007 KSZN switched to Spanish Sports “ESPN Deportes.” In Summer 2007 James “Al” Boyd (formerly KBND PD, KTIX PD ND & CE, KGAL OM, KGAR/KVAN/KMJK AM/FM CE, KGRL/KXIQ CE, KSLM CE, KEJO CE; later KBCH/KYTE/KCRF/KNCU CE, KYTT/KYSJ CE, KDCQ CE, KWBY CE, KBZY CE, KCKX CE,KWIP CE, KXPC CE, KMCQ CE, KUIK CE and many more) became Chief of Engineering.
In August 2007 Gabriel Nacht became Senior Vice-President; Rick “Ricky” Tatum (former KKHI-FM VP&GM) Vice-President & G.M. & Henry Cualio, Promotions Manager. On October 20, 2008 it was announced Spencer French had become Vice-President & G.M. for the Northwest Region. By January 2009 Tom H. Oberg was General Manager.
On October 5, 2009 KSZN switched to slogan call letters KRYN “La Reyna” and flipped format to automated Regional Mexican. On October 1, 2010 Bustos Media Holdings of Oregon, LLC began an LMA merger with Adelante Media of Oregon License LLC. Bustos had been programming the stations, under a time brokerage agreement since August 2010.
On April 4, 2011 KRYN switched format to Spanish Religious as “La Radio de la Familia.” On September 30, 2011 Bustos Media Holdings, LLC purchased the stations (KGDD, KOOR, KRYN, KXET) for $1.26 Million.
Special Thanks to the following individuals who helped in the writing of this radio history, making it more complete: Bruce Cauthers, Tom Cauthers, Don Coss, Todd Dennis, Brad Dolbeer, Mark Dornfeld, Matthew Green, Iris Harrison, Dick Jenkins, Lisa Karr, Dick Klinger, Peggy La Point, Chris Marks, John Meissner, Joel Miller, Brien Morris, Steve Naganuma, Ken Seymour, Dave “Records” Stone, Craig West, Jeff Williams.
References: Billboard Magazine, Broadcasting Yearbook(s), The Columbian, Directorio Telefonico Hispano, FCC.gov, Gresham Library, The Gresham Outlook, The Oregon Journal, The Oregonian, Radio Annual(s), Radio Pulse.
The first history of KRDR was originally posted on April 20, 2002.November 16, 2011 at 9:45 am #2081
Just a few observations: I was listening, on that fateful night, when the mike was left on and couldn’t believe my ears. I thought he was talking to his girlfriend and what I heard, wouldn’t even begin to be acceptable now! Ed Keebler was the guy I ran into, at the beach, who recognized me, from KUPL. It was several years later and I was quite surprised that he would!November 20, 2011 at 2:48 am #2082
Yes, I would say that’s a DJ’s worst nightmare, plus it must be more common than we know. I’ve also head things said while music was playing, although not as bad as this.
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