May 27, 2011 at 2:55 am #29
On April 15, 1955 Camas-Washougal Radio applied to the FCC to build radio station at Camas, Washington on 1480kc with 1 kilowatt of power, daytime only. The new station would serve the entire Eastern section of Clark County with “high fidelity transmitting equipment.” 36 year old Gene R. Johnsick was President of Camas-Washougal Radio and was also KJUN Redmond, Ore. Chief Engineer & Asst. Manager. Construction cost estimated at: $15,775. First year operating cost: $28,000. First year revenue: $36,000. On September 28, 1955 a Construction Permit was approved by the FCC and call letters KRIV were assigned. It’s believed the calls stood for RIVer, the Columbia River was near, as was the Washougal River.
On November 3, 1955 it was announced KRIV would begin operation on December 1, 1955. On that date, it was announced that due to bad weather, erection of the tower had been impossible and the beginning date postponed for an indefinite period of time. By February 2, 1956 KRIV had made its broadcast debut with little fanfare. KRIV studios were located on the 2nd floor (above the United Gas Co.) at 314 N.E. Ceder St. in Camas. The Collins 20V-1 (aka 20V) transmitter & 200 foot tower were located at 1916 N.E. 2nd Ave., in Camas, next to the Washougal River. Donald R. Nelson was General Manager, Program Director, News Director & Sports Director. Rod Walters was Asst. Manager & Gene R. Johnsick, Chief Engineer. KRIV operated daily from sunrise to local sunset. On February 20, 1956 the FCC issued KRIV its first license.
On June 2, 1956 the worst flood to hit the Columbia River since the 1948 Vanport Flood, backed up the Washougal River, threatening the KRIV transmitter site. The Red Cross & Civil Defence requested KRIV to broadcast 24 hours a day, to keep the community informed with the latest bulletins. The transmitter site was successfully sandbagged. On July 9, 1956 KRIV requested the Camas City Council to reimburse the station $1,200 for overtime, extra help & sandbagging. The council turned down this request. KRIV had operated just six months. Taking on such a financial burden so early in the station’s start-up to help the community, then given the cold shoulder, must have soured Mr. Johnsick on the entire situation.
By December 1956 L.D. Adcox was Commercial Manager & Farm Director, with Ann Adcox, Woman’s Director. Needing more capital, Mr. Johnsick took on a partner. On June 27, 1957 KRIV license name changed to Gene R. Johnsick & Donald R. Nelson doing business as Camas-Washougal Radio, effective 8-1-57. In 1957 John A. “Jack” Luetjen (former KRTV GM&PD, later KKEY CM) became General Manager.
On January 22, 1958 KRIV was purchased by 39 year old William Barry Murphy and his wife Cathryn Cragen Murphy for an undisclosed amount. Effective 2-4-58. William “Bill” Murphy became General Manager & Chief Engineer. He was previously KWIL Program Director, had worked at KBND, KOOS and had acquired interests in Florida & Michigan radio stations. Cathryn Murphy became Commercial Manager. She was a former Hollywood starlet, Hawaiian radio personality and song writer. They were married in 1952.
On April 4, 1958 KRIV call letters were changed to KPVA which stood for Portland Vancouver Area. By this time the Murphy’s had come to the conclusion the station would have to move to Vancouver to become profitable and to be closer to KPVA’s real target, Portland. By July 1958 KPVA personnel included: Sandy Rhodes, Program Director; Tom Sawyer, Farm Director; Christmas Early (aka Mrs. Murphy), Woman’s Director & Vincent Ast, Jr., Promotion Manager. On October 29, 1958 the FCC granted KRIV studios a move to the “Crown-Zellerback Hotel” at 714 N.E. 4th Ave. in Camas. By December 1958 KPVA had opened a sales office in the “Nortonia Hotel” at 409 S.W. 11th Ave. in Portland.
By December 1959 KPVA had moved studios to downtown Portland in the “Washington Hotel” at 1129 S.W. Washington St. but also must have maintained a studio at it’s transmitter site in Camas. Also by December 1959 KPVA was primarily a Country & Western music station. Portland area’s only C&W station had been KKEY but they had jettisoned the format in August. Some of the first KPVA C&W deejays were Cuzin Rufus & Buddy Simmons. The Murphy’s marriage was beginning to fall apart. Out of nowhere, William B. Murphy announced on March 10, 1960 that he had filed as the 5th person to run for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate in the Oregon primary. A six year term. He also mentioned he had applications for FM stations in Portland & Seattle.
“I believe that my 20 years of community interest activities in the radio broadcasting field and my 18 years of service to my country in the Naval Reserve qualify me to serve the people of Oregon in The Nation’s Capital,” Murphy said. He had previously lost an election attempt at a Hawaii Territorial Legislature seat in 1952, where the Murphy’s most likely met and married. While away, chasing his political aspirations, Cathryn Murphy took charge of KPVA becoming Station Manager. On April 20, 1960 the FCC canceled KVAN, Inc. construction permit to build KVAN-TV channel 21, which had tied up the KVAN call letters for almost a year, were now available.
On May 9, 1960 KPVA became KVAN. The calls were well known in the Portland, Vancouver area from the previous assignment on 910kc for the past 20 years. Plus the original KVAN had been a C&W station most of the 1950’s. The new KVAN could ride on the call letter coat tails. It must have been much easier selling air time to new clients. Call letter meaning: Vancouver. On May 21, 1960 William B. Murphy lost the Oregon Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate. In early July 1960 KVAN debuted the earliest talk show in the Portland area “Party Line” with moderator Bob LaMarque, from 2:00pm to 4:00pm weekdays.
Also debuting in July 1960 was “The Hour For Your Deliverance” live from “Deliverance Temple” at 7626 N.E. Glisan with Evangelist, Bob Robins, weekday mornings at 9:00am. By August 1960 Crystal Lake Church & Gospel Park was broadcast live from 2615 Harrison St. in Milwaukie with Rev. Edna M. Brock, Pastor, weekday mornings at 7:30am to 8:00am and Bill Cunningham was doing an interview show weekday afternoons 1:45pm to 2:00pm. By August 1960 Buddy Simmons (later on KRDR) was KVAN Program Director; Ed Stanton, Farm Director & Don Burbank, Promotions Director. Slogan: “KVAN with offices in the Washington Hotel, home of the Timber Topper Restaurant.”
On November 1, 1960 in a property settlement, Cathryn Murphy became 100% owner & General Manager of KVAN after her divorce from William B. Murphy. Licensee name changed to: Mrs. Cathryn C. Murphy. This was her first solo business venture. It is not known what Bill Murphy did after this or what ever happened to him. A month and a half later on December 15, 1960 the FCC granted KVAN permission to change city of license to Vancouver, Washington. Without Mrs. Murphy’s engineering husband to take this victory to the next step, she didn’t finish the paper work. Instead she filled out the “Broadcasting Yearbook” questionnaire, now as a Vancouver station. The Yearbook staff bought it and changed KVAN’s Camas listing to where KISN & KKEY were listed in the 1961-62 edition. By the following 63 edition, KVAN had been moved back to the Camas listing.
In May 1961 William “Les Josslin” was moderator of “World Outlook” at 2:00pm Tuesday’s. On October 6, 1961 KVAN moved its remote studio from the “Washington Hotel” in Portland, to the “Riviera Motel” at 321 Main St. in Vancouver. By December 1961 “Boring Gospel Time” was aired Sunday’s at 9:00am live from “Gospel House” in Boring, Oregon with Pastor, David Wasson.
On December 30, 1961 the transmitter and additional studio was moved from 1916 N.E. 2nd Ave., in Camas, Washington to 12640 N. Farr Rd. on Hayden Island, Oregon. The location was in the N.W. corner parking area at “Jantzen Beach Amusement Park”, which today is about where “Video Only” is at 1860 N. Hayden Island Dr. The studio was in a small building which stood a few feet above ground. It had no running water or toilet. Disc jockey’s walked 20 or 30 yards to an outhouse. The tower was about 20 or 30 feet from the studio.
Jim Boland remembers: “You’d walk in the door and be staring at the Collins 20V-1 (aka 20V) transmitter. In the same room to the right was the Collins console and turntables and tape decks, against the right wall. You’d pass a cluttered desk and go into the record library room, which was also Mrs. Murphy’s office. That was about it.” Slogan: “KVAN 1480kc, With The New Loud Signal.”
On February 3, 1962 William H. “Bill” Cunningham was announced as Promotion Manager. On April 14, 1962 Billboard reported “Mark Raymer is now spinning Country wax on “Country Music Show Time” over KVAN.” In September 1962 “Amen Corner” was on weekday mornings from 7:30am to 8:00am. On October 2, 1962 KVAN announced one of its disc jockey’s would be a flagpole sitter on top of the KVAN tower, pending FCC approval.
By October 1962 Roy O. Fowler was Program Director; Richard Johnson, News Director & Lee Fiksdal, Chief Engineer. By October 1963 Loyal E.W. Conley was KVAN (KLIQ C.E., formerly with KHFS) Station Manager & Chief Engineer and Don McCracken, Sales Manager. On June 15, 1964 it was announced Ben Crosby (former KWJJ PM) had been appointed Commercial Manager and KVAN executive offices had moved from the “Washington Hotel” to the “Sheraton Motor Inn” at 1000 N.E. Multnomah St.
On October 23, 1964 United Press International news service filed suit against KVAN, Suing for non-payment of fees and loss of profits. William B. Murphy & Cathryn C. Murphy had entered into a ten year agreement in 1960 to use UPI Radio News reports. KVAN owed $1,132.44 for past services and UPI lost $26,320.50 in profits. By 1965 Wayne Allen was a popular C&W disc jockey on KVAN. By September 1965 Mort Friedman, was Program Director.
In September 1965 KVAN picked up the broadcasts of the “Radio Rosary” daily at 4pm for 15 minutes live from “Holy Rosary Church” at 375 N.E. Clackamas St. By October 1965 KVAN had officially changed its city of license from Camas to Vancouver and was reported to have no newscasts. New records were selected for air play by Mrs. Murphy. Samuel P. “Sam” King was Program Director; Mort Friedman, Sales Manager & Loyal E.W. Conley, Chief Engineer. It was also reported that in 1965 Mr. Murphy had not responded to official FCC correspondence, as well as in later years.
By October 9, 1965 KVAN had switched format from Country & Western to a Jazz/Easy Listening format, listed in the trades as “Pop Standards”. When K-Van started its C&W format, it was the only station in the Portland area. Then KRDR in 1963 & KWJJ in 1965 became competitors. Chris Burns (later KLIQ ND, KYXI, KGON ND, KUPL ND, KGW ND, KKSN AM/FM ND, KINY) began at KVAN November 4, 1965 and remembers, music was on reel to reel tape & LP’s. Slogans were never used. Chris would sign KVAN on the air illegally at 4:30am by order of Mrs. Murphy. Gorgeous George followed Chris from 8:30am to 1:30pm.
By December 1965 KVAN executive offices had moved from the “Sheraton Motor Inn” to a building in the Hollywood District at 2010 N.E. 44th Ave. In January 1966 the “White Brothers Revival” was on KVAN weekday mornings at 9:30am hosted by Evangelists Harlo & Gordon White. By this time George Nevitt was a disc jockey on K-Van. By April 1966 “Portland Temple” was on the air at 8:30am weekday mornings live from 2030 S.E. Hawthorne St.
On April 28, 1966 burglars broke into KVAN and stole $65.00 worth of relay tubes. On April 30, 1966 burglars returned and this time knocked KVAN off the air for 7 days by stealing four tubes from the transmitter. KVAN was going to return to the air on May 7, 1966 but was burglarized overnight again and had to postpone broadcasting until May 8, 1966. A cart machine & tape recorder had been taken and the transmitter was thrown out of balance.
On June 7, 1966 KVAN was knocked off the air again for 5 days by burglars, after stealing equipment. On June 11, 1966 KVAN returned to the airwaves but burglars knocked it off the air that evening. The burglars entered through a boarded up window that had been broken from a previous burglary. KVAN expected to be back on the air in 3 or 4 days. In Summer 1966 James “Jim” Boland (later KLC CE, KOAP-TV BT, KATU E.) became Chief Engineer and Mike Youse was a disc jockey.
By October 1966 Louis K. Ballinger was Chief Engineer; Paul Snyder, Sales Manager & Francis Jackson, Promotion Manager. By December 1966 the Hollywood District offices were moved to the Jantzen Beach Park studio & transmitter site. In February 1967 KVAN broadcast Religious Programs mornings & Easy Listening music afternoons. Evenings featured Soul music from 5pm to sunset with Big Bob Allen (later aka Bob Gallucci on KUIK, KKSN & KAAR) as “Your Count of Soul”. Due to the popularity of his show and his presence in the Albina community, he emceed the “Miss Tan Portland” Pageant on July 22, 1967 (winner: Jo Ann Twitty).
On July 26, 1967 KVAN was fined by the FCC $500 for seven violations including: Unattended operation for the remote reading of antenna and common point ammeters. Did not file before April 1st an annual financial report. Did not file in a timely manner a renewal application. No entries were made on the program logs. By October 1967 Loyal E.W. Conley was back as Chief Engineer; Mort Friedman, Commercial Manager & Adah Louise (Mrs. Murphy’s daughter), Promotion Manager.
On October 17, 1967 the FCC granted KVAN reducing power from 1kw to 500 watts for technical reasons, until 2-21-68. On March 15, 1968 Paul Hanson (later on KQOT, KOHI, KLIQ-FM, KPAM/KPFM ND, KYXI, KGON ND, KYXI ND, KYTE AM/FM, KATU, KGW-TV, KXL, KEX, KOTK, KVAN 1550 ND) became a K-Van disc jockey. In the April 1, 1968 “Broadcasting” magazine (Page 9) it mentioned 32 ASCAP members were said “to have filed against KVAN Vancouver & Cathryn C. Murphy owner. Suits seek restraining orders against future performances, plus statutory damages of not less than $250 for each unauthorized performance.”
On July 30, 1968 an announcement: “Cathryn Murphy, owner of KVAN reports that the station will go progressive (sometimes called underground) this week with its music.” By October 1968 Steven Cota was Chief Engineer; Adah Louise, Commercial Manager & Windy Carpenter, Advertising Manager. On November 18, 1968 it was reported Adah Murphy, KVAN Program Director was using a controversial “Soul” rendition for its sign off and had for the past month. “It’s more of a compliment than an insult,” said Murphy. K-Van slogan: 1480 Miles High, 1480 Tons Heavy, KVAN”. On December 6, 1968 the FCC authorized KVAN to relocate and operate on a temporary basis at a site specified in pending application through 1-23-69. KVAN was forced to move from Jantzen Beach Park which had closed down. K-Van’s leased land had been sold to developers for the new “Jantzen Beach Mall” being constructed on the site.
On April 11, 1969 Mrs. Murphy announced KVAN was back on the air, after being off last week to move to a new location 18608 North Portland Rd. Mrs. Murphy commented: Matters were complicated when someone stole several vital pieces of equipment. KVAN’s new studio & transmitter site was very primitive. The studio was located in a trailer house with no running water or toilet facilities. DJ’s were told to use the bathroom at the “St. Johns Gun Club & Dog Motel” which had the same address as KVAN. The bathroom (you’ll be happy to know) was in the Gun Club building. The Dog Motel was down the road a ways.
KVAN’s Collins 20V-1 (aka 20V) transmitter had no tower to broadcast from! Instead a horizontal dipole was flown between some trees down by the Dog Motel near Smith Lake. In June 1969 “Evangelist David Nunn” was heard weekday mornings at 7:30am. In July 1969 Paul St. John (simultaneously on KLIQ) became KVAN Chief Engineer & D.J. By July 1969 “Amen Corner” from Crystal Lake Church was heard live with Rev. Edna M. Brock, Pastor at a new time 7:00am.
On August 25, 1969 FCC authorized KVAN to operate with a 200 foot flat top antenna (65 1/2 foot poles) at 11665 North Portland Rd. through 11-25-69. In August 1969 Gray Frierson Haertig (formerly KRRC CE, KBOO CE) became KVAN Chief Engineer. On October 7, 1969 KVAN granted a construction permit to change transmitter & studio location to 11805 N. Portland Rd. Then on the same day, amended to change antenna transmitter and studio location to 11665 North Portland Rd. (45 ’36 “29 / 122 42′ 37”). Please note the three addresses on North Portland Rd. (18608, 11665, 11805 & back to 11665) and there was a fourth on North Portland Rd. which is the correct address: 11197 North Portland Rd. Were any of the other addresses actual temporary broadcast sites, is unknown.
On November 12, 1969 the FCC gave temporary authorization to operate at the temporary site, extended to 1-11-70. On January 8, 1970 KVAN was given another temporary authorization extension through 2-6-70. In mid January 1970 KVAN erected a 200 foot transmitter tower and in February 1970 K-Van’s studio trailer was replaced by a house but still no running water or toilet. On March 1, 1970 Bob Ancheta, “The Big B.A.” joined the K-Van jocks 3:00pm to sunset. The others were: Adah Murphy 6:00am to 11:00am & Dave Lind 11:00am to 3:00pm.
Despite K-Van playing 5 hours of Album Rock, it all came to a stop at 4:00pm. Time for the 15 minute “Radio Rosary”. Then back Rock! The Big B.A. remembers: “It was live most of the time. We did record it occasionally and then playback later. It was always at 4pm, but later we would move it right before sign off so we would not disrupt the regular programming. Sometimes we forgot to record the Rosary and we had to grab a back up tape. Each day believe it or not it was a different Rosary and we had to find the correct one otherwise some old lady would call up and give us hell. “The Holy Rosary For World Peace” was the intro. We used to occasionally play “God Gave Rock And Roll To You” by Argent afterwards. (released in 1973). It was always interesting listening to what was going on live (in cue) from the church (Holy Rosary Church) before the Rosary, as the mic was always live. There were never more than 3-4 people in the church. This ended in 74.”
In April 1970 Ken Heine was Chief Engineer.
April 29, 1970 KVAN was given another authorization extension through 7-6-70.
June 30, 1970 the FCC extended KVAN’s time through 9-30-70.
July 6, 1970 The FCC gave KVAN another temporary authorization to operate at 11197 North Portland Rd. extended to 9-6-70. This was the first time the correct address was mentioned in an FCC document.
Sept 4, 1970 KVAN received temporary authorization to operate at temporary site extended to 10-1-70.
October 9, 1970 the FCC extended temporary authorization to 12-15-70.
November 2, 1970 FCC extended temporary authorization and temporary site through 2-4-71.
By January 1971 KVAN was mentioned playing Acid Rock.
January 27, 1971 FCC granted construction permit to replace expired permit. Cancelled 9-23-74.
February 4, 1971 FCC extended KVAN’s temporary authorization and temporary site through 4-4-71.
April 1, 1971 FCC extended KVAN’s temporary authorization and temporary site through 5-4-71.
April 30, 1971 FCC extended KVAN’s temporary authorization and temporary site through 7-2-71.
June 29, 1971 FCC extended KVAN’s temporary authorization and temporary site through 10-1-71.
September 30, 1971 FCC extended KVAN’s temporary authorization and temporary site through 1-1-72.
By Dec 1971 KVAN had opened a sales office in “The Myler Building” at 314 S.W. 9th Ave. in Portland.
December 27, 1971 FCC extended KVAN’s temporary authorization and temporary site through 4-1-72.
By January 1972 KVAN programmed Religious 6 to 11am. Progressive Rock 11 to 5pm and Public Affairs 6 to 11am Saturdays. By 1972 KVAN slogans were: “K-Van, The Mono Maniacs.” (referring to the D.J.’s) and “K-Van, Back to Mono.” The Big B.A. and contestant directions: “Regarding the studio we would tell winners coming to the station to take a right at The St. Johns Dog Motel. The Gun Club had a Wednesday night skeet shoot outside the studio window, guns going off during the broadcast.” It’s verified! Was called “Family Trap Shoot” every Wednesday evening, all August & September 1970. There were six more FCC temporary extensions in 1972-73. Finally on June 28, 1973 the FCC grew tired of this and issued a temporary authorization through out 1973.
On March 15, 1972 the FCC announced that Wallace E. Johnson, Broadcast Bureau Chief recommended to FCC Hearing Examiner Millard F. French that the application of Cathryn C. Murphy for license of KVAN Vancouver, Wash. should be denied. Chief Johnson stated: “In the past, the Commission has been faced with licensees who have been seriously deficient in the operation of their stations and the Commission has also been faced with licensees whose candor has been found wanting. But we can safely say that never in the annals of this Commission has there been a licensee so deficient in the conduct of the affairs of her station as Mrs. Murphy. Nor has there been a licensee so lacking in candor. This total lack of candor by Mrs. Murphy and willingness to submit false statements in order to escape embarrassing inquiry by this agency require the ultimate conclusion that she does not possess the requisite qualifications to be licensee.”
The 50 page Recommendation showed that since 1960 Mrs. Murphy had been cited for 133 violations of Commission rules. Mrs. Murphy’s attorneys submitted a 27 page proposed Finding and Conclusions. This document suggested Mrs. Murphy had been misled by other individuals. Punishing her for not knowing she made a false report would be senseless and vindictive. In June 1972 K-Van’s monthly music survey, showed these slogans: “KVAN Makes AM Radio Worth Listening Too.” and “KVAN, Not Just A Service of Records But With A 13 Year Record of Service.” This slogan was used to convince the FCC that K-Van did its public service announcements. On September 11, 1972 the FCC announced that Hearing Examiner Millard F. French had come to the same conclusion. He denied license renewal of station KVAN, listing eight instances of “Mrs. Murphy’s misconduct:
1. The license renewal application was filed after KVAN’s station license had expired.
2. False representations were made about current public affairs and news programs on KVAN.
3. False representations were made about proposed public affairs and news programs on KVAN.
4. An unauthorized change was made in the location of the transmitter.
5. False testimony was given at a hearing about the location of the transmitter.
6. She failed to provide program and operating logs for the station.
7. Misrepresented true facts in an affidavit filed with the commission.
8. Testified falsely regarding the matter at a hearing.
After the FCC decision Mrs. Murphy filed for an involuntary assignment of the KVAN license to her mother and conservatrix, Ada C. Brown. In October 1972 Cathryn C. Murphy was listed as President; Ada C. Brown, General Manager; Ada Cragen, (aka Ada C. Brown) Commercial Manager; Robert D. “Bob” Ancheta, Program Director; Cindy Carpenter, Music Director; Samuel P. “Sam” King, News Director & Thomas H. “Tom” Phelan (formerly on KWJJ, KEX, KISN, KPOJ) Chief Engineer. The Big B.A. remembers: “The FCC would stop by all the time and just shake their heads.”
On November 24, 1972 the FCC granted involuntary assignment of the KVAN license to Ada C. Brown, conservatrix of the estate of Cathryn C. Murphy, effective on 12-14-72. Mrs. Brown having been a creditor of the station, lending her daughter over $160,000 to continue KVAN operation. A physician’s report was the reason for the license change because of Mrs. Murphy’s serious illness (alcoholism), she would not be able to accept the responsibilities of conducting a business. “There is no evidence of involvement by Mrs. Brown in the derelictions of KVAN. We do not wish to penalize her efforts to assist her daughter financially. Also, we recognize that the special facts of this case indicate Mrs. Murphy, because of her illness, may not have been totally responsible for her actions. Although the infractions were of a most serious nature, the unusual circumstances in the case justified moderation in our actions.”
On February 12, 1973 KVAN changed its newspaper listing to: Rock, Blues & Jazz 7am to 5:15pm. Also in about 1973 Gray Frierson Haertig was back as KVAN Chief Engineer.
The Big B.A. remembers Ada Brown: “She lived in the radio station at night, slept in a fold out orange comfy chair, she took sponge baths in the Gun Club, ate at any restaurant she had trade at, drove an old Cadillac. She used to come in the studio when I was on the air telling me not to play Cold Blood because she screamed too much, or war protest songs from Bob Dylan (she pronounced his name as Bob Die Lan). She also said she took out all the Dylan but I was staring at all his albums in the studio when she said that. She was the only sales person and once sold commercials to “Albina Pipe Bending Co.” why in the hell would a pipe bender company want to advertise on the radio? She wrote copy on napkins and handed it over to us to read, and often sat in a dark room and typed wearing sun glasses.”
On May 24, 1973 Ada C. Brown conservatrix for Cathryn C. Murphy appeared before the FCC en banc to present arguments on the license of KVAN. The FCC concluded on August 20, 1973 “It is further ordered that Ada C. Brown, conservatrix of Cathryn C. Murphy, for station KVAN Vancouver, Wash., is granted subject to the condition that the licensee shall file an appropriate application with the Commission to assign the station license to a qualified assignee without profit within six months of the release of this decision.” Also in August 1973 Bob Ancheta moved to KQIV. On January 14, 1974 the FCC granted KVAN a permit allowing the previous transmitter move five years earlier.
On February 22, 1974 KVAN was purchased by The New Broadcasting Corp. (Dr. Howard R. Slobodin, President & General Manager, brother Alan J. Slobodin & Leonard N. Kesselman) for $150,000. (Application 10-73 / FCC granted 2-22-74 / effective 3-31-74). Leonard Kesselman also owned KZON/KXFM Santa Maria, CA & KZEN Seaside, CA. Mr. Kesselman sold his shares to Howard Slobodin in the next couple of years. Howard Slobodin: “We plan innovative programming. We feel the Portland-Vancouver area would appreciate a station which concentrated more on Jazz. So we made some changes in this direction Sunday.” April 14, 1974. Additionally Slobodin said, the station would make certain technical changes, with FCC approval, possibly getting a directional north-south contour. Studios and offices will probably be moved to a shopping center. KVAN slogan: “You’re Driving Home In Your K-Van.”
On April 21, 1974 Dr. Clayton (formerly on KTAO & KPFA) began a Jazz program, Sundays from 4pm to 8pm. By July 1974 Ivan Kafoury was KVAN Sales Manager. On August 9, 1974 KVAN was authorized to begin Pre-Sunrise Authority to operate with low power between 6:00am and local sunrise. On August 19, 1974 the FCC granted KVAN’s request to reduce power from 1kw to 500 watts. The original 1956 Collins 20V-1 (aka 20V) transmitter was in need of replacement. By December 1974 KVAN had installed a Request Line: 286-8181. In early 1975 Gray Frierson Haertig (later with KGON) returned for a 3rd time as KVAN Chief Engineer.
By April 1975 Bruce Funkhouser (formerly KINK PD) was KVAN Program Director. On April 24, 1975 Portland Trailblazer, Bill Walton became a K-Van Mono Maniac when he debuted a 5 hours show which included Bill reading the news and voicing some commercials. Time permitting he would occasionally do shows. On May 3, 1975 co-owner Howard Slobodin began a Jazz & Blues show Saturday & Sunday’s at 7:15pm. Known on the air as “The Jazz Freak” he played albums from his personal collection. By this time Ken Heine was Chief Engineer.
On May 4, 1975 Bob Ancheta “The Big B.A.” (back from KQIV) began a Sunday evening program called “Homegrown” at 6pm which featured local bands. On June 11, 1975 KVAN reported to the FCC that it was now operating a new Collins 820D-2 (FCC mentions Collins 820-D1) transmitter installed by Tom Cauthers and Margaret A. “Midge” Cauthers (Tom Cauthers wife) became Office Manager, Receptionist & assistant to Howard Slobodin. Midge would answer phone calls with a Very Sexy “K-Van.”
Also in 1975 Gloria (aka Gloria Johnson) (formerly on WBCN, KLOS, KNAC, KQIV) began at KVAN. On October 17, 1975 KVAN presented “Tower of Power with special guest stars REO Speedwagon” 8pm at the Paramount Theatre. Advance tickets $5.50. $6.50 day of show. On October 25, 1975 KVAN presented “An Evening with Bruce Springsteen & The E. Street Band” 8pm at the Paramount Theatre. Advance tickets $5.00. $6.00 day of show.
[Actual KVAN Memorandum, undated] Memo to all airstaff:
OK so KVAN doesn’t have a bathroom, but you are encouraged to use the one in the gun club down the road. I realize the gun club is infested with rodents and not heated or lighted, but the peeing off of the back porch is becoming a health hazard. Besides, you could get electrocuted, the ground wire to the antenna are back there. Our former engineer mentioned feeling a tingle. I realize this is an inconvenience, but we have no choice in this mater. The County will not let us hook up a bathroom. As always, if you expect to be away from the booth for any length of time, be sure to play a long song. Suggestions include:
Mountain Jam – Allman Brothers;
Who Do You Love – Quick Silver Messenger Service;
Get Ready (Long Version) – Rare Earth;
In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida – Iron Butterfly;
or just play side-2 of The Beatles, Abbey Road.
Turntable #2 has been known to skip! We don’t want another incident like last week with Gloria and B.A. to ever happen again. 22 minutes of a record skipping will not help our ratings. As soon as we can hire a new engineer, we will get this problem resolved.
By February 1976 the K-Van Mono Maniacs were: The Big B.A. 6am to 10am; Gloria 10am to 3pm & Mike Waggoner 3pm to Sunset. In Spring 1976 Iris Harrison (formerly on KFMY) began weekends & Freddie Flack (formerly aka Tommy Randall on KONE, KBUB; aka Tommy Jeff Randall on KCBN; aka Tom Randall on KBET, KNEV, KSRN, KBUB; aka Jeff Thomas on KONE, KBZY, KSLM, KGAY MD; aka Charlie Stevens on KISN; aka Jeff Clarke KQIV co-MD, KGON) leaving weekends. In Summer 1976 The Mono Maniacs were: Iris Harrison 6am to 10am; Gloria 10am to 2pm; The Big B.A. 2pm to Sunset. KVAN slogan: “Balloon Powered Radio” (DJ announces after breathing helium).
Ray Bartley remembers: “KVAN’s format consisted of a 3×5 card file, where you could dip back into and select songs that fit at that moment. Songs were color coded and had 1 to 4 colored dots signifying the songs HOTness, or stress level (frequency of rotation). In addition to the card file, DJ’s would come in before their shifts and select albums from the library and certain cuts from those albums could be added into the rotation. It was a GREAT format and compared to what there is today, it was wide open!”
On August 19, 1976 the FCC granted KVAN a construction permit to build a $175,000 four tower array, so KVAN could begin broadcasting at night. The 5kw directional facility would be built on 10 acres in Evergreen, (Parkside) Wash. On September 17, 1976 KVAN announced administrative and sales offices were moved to the 32nd floor of the “First National Tower” building, Suite 3231 at 1300 S.W. 5th Ave. in Portland. In Summer 1976 Mike Waggoner left for Seattle. In late Summer 1976 Gloria (aka Gloria Johnson KGON APD/MD) also left. By October 1976 Bob Ancheta was Program Director again, doing afternoons. In October 1976 Andy Brown (formerly on WZTA, WLVR, WSAN, KUPL AM/FM) began weekend air work and was acting KVAN Chief Engineer.
In October 1976 Les Friedman (formerly on KWAX, KFMY, KZEL) began mornings on KVAN. In late November 1976 Iris Harrison left. The K-Van on air schedule changed to: Les Friedman 7am to Noon & The Big B.A. Noon to 4:45pm. In January 1977 “Sleepy” John Cuthbertson (formerly on KZEL) became Music Director. In about January 1977 Andrew L. “Andy” Brown was officially given the title Chief Engineer. By February 1977 KVAN News was heard at 7:15am, 8:15am, 12:15pm & 4:15pm.
In March 1977 Iris Harrison returned briefly to weekends, then jumped to KGON in the same month. In Spring 1977 Mono Maniacs were: Les Friedman 6am to 10am; Sleepy John (later on KGON, KQFM) 10am to 3pm; The Big B.A. 3pm to Sunset. By August 1977 KVAN News was heard at 6:50am, 12:15pm & 6:15pm. On September 1, 1977 Cathryn C. Murphy died at age 65 in San Mateo, CA. In September 1977 Nancy Jackson became a newscaster.
On November 11, 1977 KVAN began 24 hour operation with nights from Evergreen (Parkside) WA. A Continental Electronics 316F transmitter using 5kw directional array at 15507 N.E. 34th St. Andy Brown remembers: “The four towers were aligned East-West with protections in three directions.” Daytime broadcasting continued at K-Van’s 1kw non-directional transmitter site at 11197 N. Portland Rd. Studios at Smith Lake were shut down and moved to new studios at the night transmitter site in Evergreen WA.
The new schedule of Mono Maniacs included: Les Friedman 6am to 10am; Paul Mitchell 10am to 3pm; The Big B.A. 3pm to 7pm; Lee Abrahms 7pm to midnight; Andy Brown 12am to 6am; Ed Hepp (formerly Ed Mitchell on KRLA, KFRC; aka Ed Hepp on KMPX, KSAN, KMYR PD, KQIV, KGON) was doing weekends along with Bill Glass. Midge Cauthers became the daytime transmitter operator at the Smith Lake site in addition to being Office Manager.
Andy Brown remembers: “Lee Abrahms was a tall lanky fellow whose real name was Jay Nordlund. Howard talked him into calling himself Lee Abrahms after the famous rock radio consultant. Jay almost quit before he started, over this name.” Les Friedman remembers additionally: “Lee Abrahms was not only named after the rock radio consultant by Howard Slobodin but actually to stick it to KGON who had recently hired the real Lee Abrams to consult their format change. Slobodin, in his inimical way thought it was a hoot that someone might think the real Abrams was consulting KGON during the day and doing evenings for us. I recall some heated words between KGON management and Slobodin about the naming.”
When K-Van began 24 hours Lester M. “Les” Friedman became News Director & Paul Mitchell was made Music Director. Additionally (In this time period I’m guessing) Robert D. “Bob” Ancheta was named Station Manager. Format described as A.O.R. (Album Oriented Rock) or Progressive Rock with Blues & Jazz dominate programming. KVAN local news was heard at 5:45am, 6:45am, 9:00am. News Blimps at 12:15pm & 6:15pm. Side note: The Evergreen studios are now “Eastside Baptist Church”.
In February 1978 The Mono Maniacs were: Les Friedman 6am to 10am; Dave Lee 10am to 3pm; Valerie Stefan (formerly on KAGO) 3pm to 7pm; “The Cookie Lady” 7 to midnight & Andy Brown midnight to 6am. In March 1978 Andy Brown left to later become KMJK CE, KATU EME. By June 1978 “Robert “Bob” Gordon was Sales Manager. On June 20, 1978 KVAN began weekly broadcasts of local musicians, with the debut of the program “Live From The Rock Creek Tavern” Tuesday nights at 10pm. In June 1978 The Big B.A. split for KGON. Les Friedman remembers: “When BA left he was Station Manager. Howard Slobodin offered me that title but I declined and asked to be named Head Wrangler instead (it seemed more fitting).”
In late July 1978 David L. “Dave” Bischoff (formerly with KOIN AM/FM; later KYTE AM/FM/KLLB/KRCK CE, KKCW CE, KEX/KKRZ, KPAM/KVAN/KKAD/KKOV CE) Chief Engineer. By 1978 The Mono Maniacs were: Les Friedman 6am to 10am; Dave Lee 10am to 3pm; Valerie Stefan 3pm to 7pm; Bill St. James (formerly KBCQ PD, KQFM PD) 7pm to midnight; Ron Smith midnight to 6am. On September 23, 1978 Valerie Stefan was married, becoming Valerie Ring (later on KINK, KKCW, KMGE, KMJK-FM, KKRZ, KVMX, KEX/KPOJ/KKCW/KRVO) on the air as well.
On October 25, 1978 “Live From The White Eagle Cafe” debuted at 10pm. In November 1978 KVAN local news was heard at 2:15am, 4:30am, 6:55am & News Blimps at 3:15am, 12:15pm & 6:15pm. By November 1978 Gilles de la Tourette was Program Director; Tyronne Davis, News Director; Ron Smith, Chief Engineer; Margaret A. “Midge” Cauthers (later with KARO & KAAR) Commercial Manager & Ike Teter, Promotion Manager. And KVAN’s new Request Line was: 222-5826.
On June 8, 1979 it was announced KVAN was sold to Patten Communications Corp. (Myron P. Patten, President) for $967,725. FCC approval on 10-24-79. Effective on 12-20-79. Patten Communications owned: KLNT/KLNQ Clinton IA, WMAD Sun Prairie WI, WKHM/WJOX Jackson MI, WMPX Midland MI, WQXQ Daytona Beach FL & WNJY Riviera Beach FL. Patten Communications Corp. was an automobile Ad Agency located in Detroit, MI.
By November 1979 Bruce Taylor was 7pm to midnight. In November 1979 Ray Bartley (formerly on KOHI) began weekends midnight to 6am. On January 1, 1980 John Harper (formerly WKAT SM) became News Director and remembers: “The station was owned by the Patton Advertising Agency in Detroit, Michigan…a true absent owner and they had no clue what was going on at the station (KAR Radio) an therefore had local management in Portland who had no clue on how to run a local radio station on a limited budget.”
On Monday January 8, 1980 the K-Van Mono Maniacs were no more. The Format was changed to Top 40. Les Friedman (later KKSN ND) remembers: “On my last day at KVAN there was a huge blizzard that struck Vancouver, WA. The new air staff had arrived from Florida the night before and were all stranded at the studios for at least 24-hours until they could dig their convertibles and Camaros out of the snow, which must have been about 2-feet or more deep. I got a ride in from my house, about 3 miles away, from a listener on his snowmobile. Fitting end.”
Ray Bartley remembers the format transition: “In the course of a weekend KVAN went from playing Elvis Costello, The Police, Bob Marley, Led Zeppelin, etc. to playing Barbra Streisand, Kenny Rogers The Bee Gees, etc. People freaked out! KVAN had a very loyal following. The station at the time was located in a grove of trees located in what was then a farm-rural area. I was working a weekend night, and had forgotten to lock the door. A car pulled up and in walked a group of very pissed off, and drunk Mono Maniac listeners, demanding we stop playing the Top 40 crap. I was able to appease them and continue playing the crap, without breaking format.”
Ray Bartley remembers the K-Van library: “The fate of KVAN’s amazing record library. Word got out to the Car Radio staff that the new owners were going to clear out the albums by hauling them off to the dump! Most of the DJ’s managed to make off with a few of them before they were dumped. Working nights, I had planned to try to snag the incredible collection of comedy albums. There were probably over 300 of them from Carlin, to Pryor, Firesign Theater, Lampoon, you name it. I was beaten to the punch though by another member of the staff.”
On January 18, 1980 KVAN became KARO. Call letter slogan: “Car Radio 1480.” On January 31, 1980 the FCC approved the license name change to: Patten Broadcasting-KARO, Inc. effective February 15, 1980. KARO slogan: “You know what our friends call us? Our friends call us Car!” Ron Eric Taylor, Program Director for about 2 or 3 weeks. Then Bwana Johnny (formerly on KJR, KYA, KGB, WWDJ, WFUN, KLOG; aka Dick Simms KISN MD; aka Dick Kilpatrick on KGW; aka Dick Johnson on K103) became Acting P.D. until Joe Nasty (formerly on KTNQ) arrived to become Program Director & Kelly McCrae, Music Director.
By March 1980 the Car Radio Jocks were: Bwana Johnny with John Harper news 6am to 10am; Bruce Taylor 10am to 2pm; Joe Nasty (formerly on KTNQ, KOPA, KITY) 2pm to 6pm; Kelly McCrae (formerly on KQIV; aka J.K. McCrae on KYAC; aka Jay McCrae KUIK MD, KGAR; aka Kelly McCrae KLOG MD) 6 to 10pm; John Windus (formerly on KLYK, KLOG) 10pm to 2am; Ray Bartley (later on KLOG MD, KUKN) 2am to 6am. Duke Blazer (later aka John Meissner on KLOG, KCYX, KOHU; aka Art Stanly on KAAR) was on weekends.
By April 1980 Peter Gayton was Sales Manager. On May 18, 1980 Mount St. Helens erupted. Due to the proximity of the volcano and the eminent danger it created, the FCC granted KARO an STA (Special Temporary Authority) to broadcast at 1kw non-directional nights from KARO’s Smith Lake studio & transmitter site (11197 N. Portland Rd.) for a two year period. KARO could now broadcast at night even though the station was supposed to protect KRED Eureka, CA. The Evergreen WA site was shutdown permanently. The towers were situated on ground that was unsuitable for radio signal conductivity, it was said.
Dave Bischoff, Chief Engineer remembers: “KARO being geographically the closest radio station to Mt. St. Helens…of course this was a joke. There was only one incident where ash was sucked into the 5kw Continental…knocking it off…it was really nothing…just clean it out…move on. It was enough however to get things rolling on some kind of weird FAST TRACK! It was one of the fastest STA’s I ever saw that shot through. Anyway, that was the worst ash fall here. I can remember ripping across the Interstate Bridge. The ash was coming down in brown clumps…and there was this weird brown fog…and the taste of it. This was Real Radio.”
By August 1980 Gloria Feves was Promotion Director. KARO ID slogan: “Car Radio 1480 is KARO Vancouver. Your Continuous Music Station.” Request lines, Portland: 286-3630. Vancouver: 256-7757. In August 1980 Greg Fabos (later KCNR AM/FM GM, KSLM/KSKD GM, KSLM owner) became Vice-President & G.M. On August 25, 1980 KARO presented Seafood Mama & R.W. Stone, 6:15pm at Civic Stadium, before The Beavers game. KARO slogan: “Sports Car 1480.”
On September 25, 1980 the FCC granted KARO permission to move its nighttime transmitter site location to the Northeast end of Government Island, Oregon. By November 1980 Jo Justice was Commercial Manager. By November 1980 The Car Radio Jocks were: Bwana Johnny with John Harper news 6am to 9am; John Windus 9am to Noon; Beau Rafferty, Noon to 3pm; Joe Nasty 3pm to 6pm; Kelly McCrae 6am to 10pm; Dan Packard (formerly on KLOG) 10pm to 2am & Mike Scott (formerly on KLOG; later aka Mike Mondo on KARO; aka Mike West on KWJJ) 2am to 6am. Joe Nasty would occasionally change his persona on Saturday nights to “Wolfgang Jock.”
By December 1980 KARO had moved its executive offices to 117 S.W. Front Ave. in Portland. On March 11, 1981 KARO was turned down by Multnomah County, Hearing Officer, Paul Norr to build four 172 foot towers on Government Island. The decision was made because of the impact it would have on wildlife, as well as wildlife habitat. Plus the low altitude needed for air space near Portland International Airport. In February 1981 Joe Nasty (later KTFM PD, KTNQ, KPWR, KPOW) left KARO and Bwana Johnny became Program Director. Also in February 1981 John Harper left to become WXYZ AOM & later WMEL Owner & President & Dan Packard became News Director with Beau Rafferty, Production Manager & John Windus, P.S.A. Director.
Beginning on March 9, 1981 The Car Radio Jocks were: Bwana Johnny with Dan Packard news 6am to 10am; Dan Packard -DJ- (later on KUIK, KMJK, KYTE, KJR, KBSG, KWJJ; aka Timmy T. on KXL-FM; aka Freddy Chrysler on KB101) 10am to Noon; John Windus (later KUIK PD, KXL, KCNR/KKLI, KXYQ, KWJJ-FM, KSWB/KVAS/KKEE/KULU/ KCRX PD (later additions KAST AM-FM PD), KYSN/KAAP/KWWW/KZPH/KWWX OM, KKRV/KWIQ PD, KPQ AM-FM/KWWW/ KAAP/KYSN/KWWX/KWNC/KZNW OM) Noon to 4pm; Beau Rafferty 4pm to 8pm; “Crazy” Kelly McCrae (later on KSLM, KYTE; aka Jay McCrae on K103; aka Kelly McCrae on KCNR-FM, KWJJ-FM) 8pm to 1am; Dan Maher 1am to 6am. By this time KARO was issuing a music survey “1480 KAR TUNES”.
On March 25, 1981 KARO became KAAR. Call letter meaning: “All American Radio.” Slogans: “The All American. All the Music you can handle.” Plus KAAR continued using the slogan “Car Radio”. It’s said that the call letters were changed because it was being associated with Karo Syrup! By April 1981 KAAR had moved its executive offices to “The Governor Building” at 408 S.W. 2nd Ave. in Portland.
On May 6, 1981 the KAAR jocks voted to be represented by AFTRA (American Federation of Television & Radio Artists, union) AFTRA in a statement mentioned improvements in working conditions: “The studios where the ‘air-personalities’ work, has no running water or bathroom facilities in the building. The company provides “bottled” water and an out-door “portable” restroom. The grounds are poorly lighted at night and the surrounding lawn area is seldom maintained. Tall grass that surrounds the area, once dried out, may create a serious fire hazard.” KAAR owner Patten Communications Corp. answered: “They are in financial difficulties and are operating the radio station at a loss.” KAAR owner refused to negotiate. At midnight on July 1, 1981 KAAR jocks went on strike. KAAR offices were picketed that day. On July 4, 1981 picketing moved to the KAAR studio and transmitter site. Nothing was ever settled.
The Car Radio Jocks were: Bwana Johnny 6am to 10am; Beau Rafferty (formerly on KMJK) 10am to 2pm; Jay Richards 2pm to 6pm; Ray Deo 6pm to midnight & Art Stanly (aka John Meissner later on KLOG, KOHI, KLIQ, KQRR, KERR, KNLF, KUKN, KBLG, KYYA, KLYC ND, KMAS ND, WNBZ SD, WYZY, KMHK, KCTR, KBYZ, KLXX, KACL, WMEL OM, KROR, KXPN, KHAS, KKPR) midnight to 6am. By November 1981 the Car Radio Jocks were: Beau Rafferty 6am to 10am, Bwana Johnny (later KB101 MD, KSND, KZEL, KODZ PD, KKBR) 10am to 2pm; Larry Deyoe (formerly on KBPS) 2pm to 6pm & Jim Ryan (formerly aka Jim Maass on KLIQ, KBZY, KMCM; aka Captain Jim on KCYX; aka Jim “The Big Ragu” Maass & KGW APD) Saturday & Sunday nights 6pm to midnight. By December 1981 Beau Rafferty was Music Director & Robert E. “Rob” Marssdorf, Commercial Manager.
On February 20, 1982 KAAR was off the air for two days when heavy rains caused high water to short out KAAR’s transformer station. In early 1982 KAAR moved studios to 6301 N.E. Highway 99 in the Hazel Dell district of Vancouver. The building was originally built as a “7-Eleven” store. New request lines were: Vancouver: 696-1480 & Portland: 228-1480. On March 1, 1982 KAAR debuted “Heartline” hosted by Huggy Hart (Dave Edgmon). This lonely hearts talk show was heard 11pm to 1am Tuesday’s through Saturday’s. On August 6 & 7, 1982 nationally known talk show host Bill Ballance did two live shows from KAAR studios from 9am to Noon. “The Bill Ballance Show” a female oriented talk show had been heard on KAAR since May 1982 on tape. Ballance did his shows from KFMB.
On November 1, 1982 KAAR debuted Portland area’s only AM – PM sports talk show. “The Northwest Sports Beat” hosted by Chuck McKeen (formerly on KROC AM-TV, KMCM ND & SD) & Greg Barton was heard weekdays 7am to 9am & 6pm to 9pm. In 1982 Alfred C. “Al” Emrich (former KWLK AM/FM CM, KLIQ AM/FM, KGAR PM) was Asst. Sales Manager. On November 5, 1982 KAAR’s license name changed to Patten Broadcasting-KAAR, Inc. Tetry Goger was General Manager; Robert “Bob” Meyer (formerly on KGAR) Program Director; Steve Meredith (formerly on KGAR) News Director; Byron K. Swanson (KISN CE & DJ Johnny Dark, KPAM AM/FM CE, later KUPL AM/FM CE, KEX/KKRZ CE) Chief Engineer & Donna-Mae Shyduik, Sales Manager.
On February 14, 1983 KAAR switched format to “Golden Hits” of the past 30 years. “The Northwest Sports Beat” continued 4pm to 6pm weekdays. Alfred C. “Al” Emrich became General Manager, Robert “Bob” Meyer continued as Program Director and mornings. Robert T. Fletcher (formerly on KEED, KOMB, KBAR, KFLY, KGAY, KRXL, KLOO, KWAY GM, aka Bob Duke KGAR PD&GM) became Sales Manager. Also in February 1983 Dan Dubay began weekends. KAAR slogans: “Car Radio”, “Classic Car Gold”, “K-double-A-R”, “Radio The Way It Used To Be”. By June 1983 Bob Coffee was doing weekend overnights. In June 1983 Roger Smith (simultaneously KMHD MD) became a weekender, dong a split shift Saturdays, 6am to noon & 6pm to midnight. On June 20, 1983 John Cole began a late night talk show on KAAR weeknights.
In July 1983 The Car Radio Jocks were: Dan Alexander (formerly aka Danny Daniels on KOHI SD) 6am to 10am with Craig Batterson, News Director; traffic from Tony Martinez (later aka Officer Tony on KKRZ, KPTV) & Captain Clay (Gordon, formerly on KYTE/KLLB). Ric Elgin (formerly on KYXI, KOIN-TV, KGAR, KOHI, KRDR MD) was middays. Toni Smith, afternoons. Michael Jack Kirby (formerly on KBOO, KKSN, KWIP, KKSN, KCYX) began as a weekender but was moved within a week to 2pm to 6pm weekdays, 6 days a week.
Dan Alexander remembers “Radio Bingo” on KAAR: “Although I have tried to repress my memories of Radio Bingo, it did exist. I would sign on at 5:30, I think, and work until 9. Then, for an hour, we would read bingo numbers. Agonizing. It seems like Ric did it first, then I was given the wonderful opportunity. I do remember having to go do a bingo remote in N.E. Portland. Clearly the highlight of my illustrious career.”
By mid 1983 Ric Elgin was Program Director. Dale Hanson (aka Dale Diamond on KOHI) was Sales Manager. By September 1983 James “Jim” Caskey was Sales Manager. In September 1983 “The Preacher” Pat Pattee (formerly on KCAP, KWIK, KOIL, KISN, KLSC; later on KKUL) began on KAAR afternoons. Also in September 1983 Michael Jack Kirby became Program Director and moved to middays. By October 1983 Nancy Condray was with KAAR. In Fall 1983 the Car Radio “Disc Jerkeys” (from an ad) Steve Young with Craig Batterson, news 6am to 10am; Michael Jack Kirby 10am to 2pm; Pat Pattee, 2pm to 6pm & Earl Ray 6pm to 10pm. Also in Fall 1983 Dan Alexander moved into sales, became Sales Manager in early 1984.
On February 2, 1984 KAAR began 24 hour operation with its Oldies format, except for Jerry Dimmitt (formerly on KBVM Lancaster PD, KUYY, KGIL, KOOS, KMCM CM, KLIQ AM/FM, KKEY, KYXI, KAYO, KTNT, KMO) talk skow, aka “The Dimmitt” which ran 10pm to 1am weeknights. By this time “The Wolfman Jack Show” was heard on tape Saturday evenings and KAAR had affiliated with the ABC Contemporary & Direction networks, plus an affiliation with CBS’ “Radioradio” network.
In February 1984 Car Radio Jocks were: Kelly Smith (later on KEX) & Craig Batterson news 6am to 10am; Michael Jack Kirby 10am to 2pm; Pat Pattee 2pm to 6pm; Dan Dubay or Roger Smith or 6pm to 10pm, 7 days a week; Jerry Dimmitt talk show (later on KXL, KKEY PD, KVAN-1550, KXYQ) 10pm to 1am & “The Frenchman” Kim Fuqua (later aka Ron Leonard on WINC; aka The Frenchman, Kim Fuqua on KLVS, KBSP) 1am to 6am. Daniel L. “Dan” Dubay was KAAR Production Manager. In July 1984 Diana Rodriguez began overnights 1am to 6am. On April 2, 1984 the FCC granted KAAR 2.5kw night power, using a three tower directional array from its transmitter site at Smith Lake. Daytime power would remain at 1kw non-directional.
On September 4, 1984 KAAR moved studios to “The Tower Mall” at 5411 East Mill Plain Blvd. in Vancouver. Al Emrich explained: “The broadcasting company is leaving a larger space in Hazel Dell to gain visibility at The Tower Mall.” Suite B-4 was 1,295 square feet with the studio facing the mall. Then Jocks went on the air they’d place their name card in the window for listeners who could hear KAAR on a speaker in the mall. At times, some of the businesses would ask KAAR to turn it down. New hourly ID: “From The Tower Mall…This Is KAAR Vancouver, Portland.” By saying that line, Car Radio’s studio and office space was rent free.
Once again the 1480 was without a restroom. Jocks were forced to use The Tower Mall public restroom, which was quite a distance (DJ’s running down the mall). Plus you’d have to leave the KAAR sliding glass door into the mall unlocked! Anyone shopping in the mall could have walked in, locked the door and taken over! KAAR furnished Jocks with a portable radio they could take to the restroom to make sure the cart (music cartridge) wasn’t eaten during the journey. On September 14, 1984 KAAR presented “Ricky Nelson Live in Concert” at 8pm at the Rock Palace (64th & Foster). Advance tickets $14. $15 at the door.
In September 1984 the Car Radio Jocks were: Earl Ray 6am to 10am; Michael Jack Kirby 10am to 2pm; Pat Pattee 2pm to 6pm; Dan Dubay 6pm to 10pm; Roger Smith 10pm to 2am; Todd Tyler (simultaneously with family owned KKEY as producer/eng.) 2am to 6am & Sundays 6am to Noon. By November 1984 Earl R. Cogdill was Chief Engineer & Len Sinkus, General Sales Manager. ABC’s Contemporary & Direction Networks were dropped but hourly news continued (taped) from CBS Radioradio. In January 1985 the Car Radio Jocks were: Dan Dubay 6am to 10am; Michael Jack Kirby 10am to 2pm; Pat Pattee 2pm to 6pm; Roger Smith 6pm to 10pm; Diana Rodriguez 10pm to 2am; Todd Tyler 2am to 6am & Sundays 6am to Noon. In March 1985 Dan Dubay (later on KYTE AM/FM, KMJK/KMXI, KKSN AM/FM, KLTW/KQAK) left KAAR but would fill-in occasionally through June 1985.
On April 6, 1985 KAAR became the 2nd station in the Nation to join the new “Radio Aahs” children’s (taped) network, headquartered in Marina Del Ray, CA. (1st station was WEXI Jacksonville, FL). The children’s programming began at 6am daily, running until 8pm. Announcers on the network were from 8 to 16 years old. Radio Aahs featured interviews and stories between music and trivia for children under 12. Golden Oldies were played between 8pm & 1am and all weekends. Pat Pattee left. Michael Jack Kirby moved 8pm to 1am. As time went on, less & less hours were devoted to Radio Aahs. The network was not sending enough programming, so repeats began. On May 26, 1985 Craig Adams (formerly aka Craig Foster KCYX MD) began weekends Noon to 6pm. Slogan: “Good Times & Great Oldies.” On June 8, 1985 KAAR began broadcasting Friday nights live from “Van’s Drive-In” at 15350 N.E. Sandy Blvd. from 7pm to 9pm.
Michael Jack Kirby remembers Radio Aahs: “Al was so disgusted by the lack of interest and the ad revenue which had fallen off to almost nothing, that he came into the booth on a Friday evening (6-7-85) and asked how quickly I could get the oldies format back up and running. Since we’d still been doing it all along on nights and weekends, I told him we could start immediately and I knew all the jocks would be very happy about the move back to oldies. The Radio Aahs shows that had played that afternoon and early evening were the last to be aired.” On June 9, 1985 KAAR announced in print, it had scrapped Radio Aahs. Al Emrich: “We were being successful with the oldies thing, and we made a mistake when we changed.” KAAR was on the air playing Oldies 5:30am to 1am daily. By this time Leonard “Len” Sinkus was Sales Manager.
By July 1985 KAAR was carrying traffic reports from Dan Osterman, of “Northwest Informational Networks.” On July 24, 1985 KAAR switched to daytime hours while work continued on building its new 2.5kw directional three tower night array. (Towers 166 feet each). KRED Eureka had successfully argued to the FCC on dropping KAAR’s STA (Special Temporary Authority) which was issued 5 years earlier. The KAAR Jocks were Johnny Diamond 5:30 to 10am; Diana Rodriguez (later on KGW) 10am to 2pm; Michael Jack Kirby (later on KYTE, KXYQ-FM, KKRZ, KISM MD, KFFM PD, aka M.J. on KXJM, aka Michael Kirby on KXL) 2pm to 6pm; Roger Smith 6pm to sunset. Todd Tyler Sundays 6am to Noon & Craig Adams weekends Noon to 6pm.
By August 1985 KAAR format was described as: hits of the 1950’s & 1960’s. In mid September 1985 Steve Feder (formerly WFMT CM, KATR/KZAM) became General Manager & General Sales Manager. Al Emrich became The Tower Mall Manager. On September 18, 1985 Robert D. “Bob” Ancheta (aka The Big B.A., formerly KVAN PD, KQIV, KGON PM) returned as Program Director on 1480KHz for a third time. John G. Hugill (formerly on KWIP, KYTE/KRCK; simultaneously on KKRZ, KCYX PM) became Music Director. Todd S. Weagant (aka Todd Tyler) became Chief Engineer. Former C.E., Earl Cogdill left to work at KEDO. The Car Radio Jocks were: The Big B.A. 6am to 10am; Kathy Lynn 10am to 3pm; Roger Smith 3pm to 7pm; John Hugill 7 to midnight. KAAR Slogan: “Good Time Rock & Roll.”
On November 30, 1985 the weekend schedule changed. Todd Tyler, Saturday mornings 6am to 10am; Tom Costello (later KMHD GM) 10am to 3pm Saturdays; Craig Adams, Saturdays & Sundays 3pm to Sunset and later to 8pm; Brien Morris (simultaneously on KXL, KMJK-FM, KWJJ, KSKD, KCNR-FM, KXYQ, KKLI, KUIK, KRDR, KPDQ, KYTE, KSGO traffic) Saturday nights 8pm to midnight and Sunday mornings 6am to 11am; Dan Alexander returned (simultaneously with KYTE/KRCK sales; later KKCW NSM, WMXL/WLAP GSM) 10am to 3pm Sundays.
On December 20, 1985 KAAR began night operation from its Smith Lake transmitter site with 2.5kw directional. Continuing with 1kw non-directional daytime. Studios continued from The Tower Mall. Todd Weagant remembers: “The transmitter, phaser, towers and ATU’s were all from the former 5kw site in east Clark County recycled. The transmitter was a 5kw Continental 316F and the Collins 820D-2 was still in place as a back-up. It’s interesting that the original CP was for 2.5kw both day and night using four towers, two different patterns day and night. In fact there were four ten foot piers built for the towers and ground systems installed on each before the decision was made to stick with 1kw non-directional days. The 1kw non-DA actually covers a larger population area than the predicted 2.5 daytime pattern.” KAAR hours were 6am to midnight.
There was a metamorphose after KAAR switched to directional night pattern. The format also switched from Oldies to Classic Rock. The Big B.A. remembers: “It was time for a change. Back in the KVAN 1480 days we were different and attracted an audience. KAAR could not compete with the stations already playing oldies with stronger signals. We changed to classic rock before anybody else, became rebels and got noticed. It was a blast.” The Car Radio Jocks were: Kathy Lynn 6am to 10am; Roger Smith 10am to 3pm; The Big B.A. 3pm to 7pm; John Hugill 7 to midnight, with the weekend staff intact. In January 1986 Steve Michaels began as a commercial copy writer for Lee Grover, KAAR Sales Manager. On February 23, 1986 KAAR began running Mike Harvey’s “Super Gold” from syndicator Transtar, Saturday’s at 6pm.
In March 1986 KAAR officially changed its format to Classic Rock and the jocks were then dubbed “The Mono Maniacs,” reborn! Slogans: “1480 Rock, Because Everything Else Sucks!” “1480 Rock, The Radio Station That Crushes KGON!” “1480 Rock, Because Nobody Wants To Listen To A Bunch of Pansy Ass Wimp Music!” On April 13, 1986 “The Doctor Demento Show” (formerly on KGON, KQFM, KKSN aka Barret E. “Barry” Hansen KRRC PD/GM) began airing on KAAR Sundays from 10pm to midnight, from Westwood One. About this time Steve Michaels began Sunday mornings 6am to 10am.
On April 29, 1986 “1480 Rock” broadcasts were interrupted at about 8:35pm and again after 11pm by a pirate station. The intruder calling himself “Captain Midnight”. The static-filled interruptions lasted about 10 to 15 seconds and happened again the following night at about 7:30pm and again after 10pm. Captain Midnight criticized the quality of radio broadcasting in the area. He announced: “I may, or may not be back. Nightie night.” KGW-TV News carried the story. This all happened after a video Captain Midnight, two days earlier in a national story, had broken into the HBO signal with a printed message against Home Box Office’s plan to scramble its satellite signal. “1480 Rock” denied the interruptions were a gimmick. The Big B.A. responded at the time: “It was apparently a pirate broadcaster of some sort, overriding the station’s signal. It is technically possible to do, and it may be that we are being picked on because of our lower power than other AM stations in the area.” The FCC Portland Field Office looked into this but the pirate station was never found. ARrrrrrrrrrr!
The Big B.A. remembers: After hearing about the Captain Midnight incident on HBO, I decided to pull a publicity stunt and try and get our little radio station some free publicity with the help of John Hugill & engineer Todd. We faked a tape of Captain Midnight breaking into our signal and called the media. KGW-TV showed up first and aired the story but after a few days we caught wind the FCC was going to investigate and fessed up it was a farce. It got people talking and that is what you have to do at times to get noticed with no budget for promotion. Nobody was hurt or killed during this stunt, do not try this at home.” John Hugill remembers: “Captain Midnight was actually the voice of Lonnie Kinser (who later did KAAR sales) recorded off the hot line. I produced the parts adding static and phasing. I just slammed them in a song on the air.” KAAR G.M. Steve Feder issued this: STAFF MEMO
RE: CAPT. MIDNIGHT SPOOF OVER OUR AIRWAVES
QUESTIONABLE MATERIAL SUCH AS THE CAPTAIN MIDNIGHT SPOOF WHICH OCCURRED A FEW NIGHTS AGO IS NOT TO BE AIRED IN THE FUTURE WITHOUT FIRST MAKING MANAGEMENT OF KAAR RADIO AWARE.
IF ANY OCCURRENCES SUCH AS THIS HAPPEN IN THE FUTURE, THE PARTY OR PARTIES INVOLVED WILL BE SUSPENDED IMMEDIATELY! THIS MEMO IS TO BE READ AND INITIALED BY ALL FULL AND PART-TIME MEMBERS OF THE KAAR RADIO STAFF.
After we signed the original memo, everyone was given a copy. The undated memo on KAAR stationery is a nice souvenir of the “1480 Rock” days. It features all of the air personality signatures. Out of the ordinary things continued to occur with 1480 Rock.
It was in this time period KAAR’s old G.M., now “The Tower Mall” manager Al Emrich had decided to remove all of The Tower Mall men’s room stalls because of “sexual hanky panky” going on in the “Head”. Remember, jocks had to run down the mall to use the public restroom between records. Now it was even more awkward! You quickly learned the only toilets equipped with toilet paper were the ones built into the restroom walls. The others were off limits but there were no warning signs for the novice! It was kinda fun to see people’s faces when they first walked in. Some were so startled or shy, they walked right out! And the others, watching them choose one of the middle thrones, knowing they’d sealed their fate. John Hugill: “I remember Joe Cassavetti doing the legal I.D. as “Live from The Tower Mall where the bathroom has no stalls, this is KAAR Vancouver/Portland.” and Steve Feder losing his mind and nearly canning Joe on that spot.”May 27, 2011 at 2:59 am #1944
In June or July 1986 the entire KAAR staff were evacuated from their studios along with the entire mall, when when a strange odor, overpowered us! Todd Weagant remembers: John Hugill was on the air, Craig Adams was in the back dubbing music to carts. John Hugill remembers: Some kid next door at Bob’s Pet Land spiked the refrigerant line of an industrial cooler with an ice pick and the mall filled with ammonia vapor. The fireman told Todd and me “You have to leave” and I said “but I’m doing a show! I CAN’T leave!” (willing to risk my health for rock and roll). Meanwhile over at Bob’s Pet Land, birds were dropping like canary’s in a coal mine. Todd and I ran and helped rescue most of the animals, splashing through liquid ammonia all over the floor, we grabbed cages and containers and hustled them out doors. The splashing through the liquid was the worst exposure to me personally. I felt pretty ill. The record I played while Todd and I went to the transmitter was Inna-gadda-da-vida.
Todd remembers: John and I grabbed a spare cart machine and the bulk of The Beatles carts and headed to the transmitter site. Craig followed, I got the cart machine set up and a mic with test clips and no board. John remembers: “feeling really dizzy and Todd passing out at the transmitter site.” Todd remembers: Hugill and I went back to the studio and ended up being hosed down by the Fire Department in the parking lot.” Craig Adams remembers: “John & Todd were having breathing problems after those trips. I played it safe, staying outside. At the time we didn’t know what it was or how hazardous it was to breath. Later I was able to go on the air from the transmitter site unaffected, playing mostly The Beatles on one cart machine until B.A. called around 9pm and said: “give it up!”
Meanwhile John & Todd return to The Tower Mall. John remembers: “This all happened around the time of the Captain Midnight affair and, as I understand it, news crews were reluctant to report on the evacuation as it may be “just another stunt” from that little radio station. Can you imagine TV arrives and there is emergency personnel, a Clown (from “Clown Alley”, the mall party clown), Rodents and Reptiles, Dogs and Cats, upset Drunks (mall Safeway closed) and DJ’s stripped to their britches being hosed down by the Fire Dept. That night footage aired of Todd on oxygen in his boxers being hosed down and loaded into the back of an ambulance.”
On June 30, 1986 “1480 Rock” debuted “Nostalgic Nuggets” at Noon. On July 5, 1986 KAAR switched from “Super Gold” to Dick Bartley’s “Solid Gold Saturday Night” at 6pm, from United Stations Radio Network. In late July 1986 Tim Underwood (formerly on KACI & simultaneously on KBPS) joined 1480 Rock weekends. In August 1986 Mike Cooley (simultaneously KGON/KSGO CE) became Chief Engineer. Former C.E., Todd Weagant (later on KEZE-FM, KMOK-FM, KCLX) had left to attend Wash. State Univ. Slogans: “K-double-A-R is 1480 Car Radio.” “1480 K-double-A-R with 60 minutes of non-stop rock classics.” “1480 Car Radio.”
In August 1986 The Mono Maniacs were: John Hugill 5:30am to 10am; Roger Smith 10am to 3pm; The Big B.A. 3pm to 7pm & Joe Cassavetti 7pm to midnight. Weekends featured: Rich Craig, Saturday & Sundays 6am to 10am; Tim Underwood, Saturdays 10am to 3pm & Sundays 8pm to 1am; Craig Adams, Saturday & Sundays 3pm to 8pm; Steve Michaels, Saturdays “The 1480 Rock All-Request Show” 8pm to 1am; Brian Morris (later on KXL, KUIK, KSGO, KEX/KKRZ/KKCW/KEWS, KBNP, KVAN-1150, KKSN-FM/KGON/KRSK/KNRK, KGW-TV traffic) Sundays 10am to 3pm. Plus Mark Dornfeld traffic. Gloria Johnson (later on KKSN-FM, KKJZ ND, KXL-FM ND, KGON) would do weekend fill-ins occasionally. Also later on weekends was Hosea Johnson.
On September 6, 1986 KAAR presented “Johnny Limbo & The Lugnuts, The Kingsmen & The Razorbacks In Concert” 2pm to 8pm at The Clark County Fairgrounds. Tickets $10. John Hugill remembers the 1480 Rock vibe: “KAAR The Mono Maniacs was so fun. We were small but mighty. Live Summer broadcasts from a pool at the Clark County Fair. Every live concert presentation BA could finagle. Live bands upstairs and downstairs every Wednesday night at Eli’s and more. The creative level was through the roof. Hats off to BA for enabling that level of inspiration.”
Robin Banks (formerly aka Bill Van Lom on KPAM-FM; aka Robin Banks on KGON; later on KGON, KNRK) was The Voice of “1480 Rock” recorded slogans and had done occasional KAAR weekend fill-ins, did not like fulltime air work but was on September 20-28, 1986 for The Big B.A. on vacation. As B.A. wrote it in a staff memo: “After months of negotiations Robin Banks and KAAR Radio have come to a mutual agreement to do my show.” On October 25, 1986 “1480 Rock” debuted “Rock At The Edge” Saturday nights at 10pm, an hour of new rock releases, sponsored by Everybody’s Records. By October Ken Broeffle (simultaneously KPDQ AM/FM C.E., KUIK C.E., later KMJK-FM C.E., ARS – Infinity – CBS Radio-Portland Dir. of Eng., Clear Channel, Asst. Dir. of Eng.) was KAAR backup Engineer.
On November 7, 1986 Steve Feder was named KYTE AM/FM GM (later KAAK GSM, KKZX AM/FM GM, KGON/KFXX VP&GM) and left. Robert D. “Bob” Ancheta became KAAR General Manager and announced the retirement of The Big B.A. as an air personality. On December 29, 1986 “1480 Rock” began airing “Rockline” at 8pm from Global Satellite Network. On January 5, 1987 “1480 Rock” debuted “Explosive Talent Northwest” Mondays at 8pm. The 30 minute program was touted as the “first commercial radio station program of it kind” showcasing local rock talent. Interested bands submitted radio quality reel-to-reel tapes or albums. By this time David Wall was Sales Manager; Deborah Abbe, Office Manager; Tami Olson, Traffic Manager; Kathy Wellington, Dan Osterman & Lonnie Kinser, sales.
On March 27, 1987 Belridge Broadcasting of Portland, Inc. (incorporated on 2-4-87. Rhonda Kramer Green, President & husband Kenneth A. “Kenny” Green, Vice-President) officially took control of KAAR. The Green’s had purchased the station on February 14, 1987 for $550,000. Rhonda Kramer had been a DJ on KFOX and was know a traffic reporter for the Green’s company “LA Network” which provided traffic reports for 13 Los Angeles area stations including KRLA, KFWB, KDAY, KGIL, KROQ & KMGG. Kenny Green served as the company’s accountant. LA Network traded their traffic reports to stations in return for air time. The Green’s would follow this policy at KAAR as well. Employees were told they could be paid in lieu of a paycheck with items instead. Do you need a new set of tires?
On April 5, 1987 The Mono Maniacs of “1480 Rock” gathered in the KAAR studio for one last broadcast beginning a 8pm and all hell broke loose til midnight! Tim Underwood (evening DJ) presided on what was dubbed “The Death of A Radio Station”. The 1480 Rock library was even advertised on the show as being sold at Goundhog Records. The Big B.A. announced on the program: “You, Damn, Wimpy FM Radio Stations, Better Start Rockin’ and Filling in The Void! This Is Ridiculous!” The last song played was a medley of Rocks songs, John Hugill had spliced together. At midnight Steve Michaels took KAAR past the witching hour, to 24 hour status but now as a board operator only. Calls continued to come in from mad listeners. One irate caller asked if it was ok to burn the transmitter site to the ground! We talked him out of that, a long with starting a protest at The Tower Mall.
On April 6, 1987 KAAR reverted back to an Oldies format and was said to have affiliated with the CNN Radio Network. Dick Bartley’s “Solid Gold Saturday Night” returned at 4pm and “Bob Costas Coast To Coast” debuted on KAAR Sundays at 6:05pm. In addition KAAR now featured taped segments of air personalities Charlie Tuna 6am to 10am (board-op: Steve Michaels), Roger W. Morgan & Wolfman Jack (board-op: Gerry Gaule aka The Mighty Gerr). Dave “Records” Stone (formerly aka Junior Rockaway on KRDR; aka Junior on KGAL; aka Bobby Mitchell on KGAR; aka David Stone on KISN; aka Hurricane Hunter on WMYQ; aka Jay Stone on KYA; aka Dave “Records” Stone on KISN; later on KMXI, KKSN AM/FM, KXL) afternoons, John Hugill. Craig Adams weekends Noon to 4pm. Roger Smith, Steve Michaels, Joe Cassavetti (later on KGON, KWJJ), Tim Underwood (later on KGON), Dana Rae (later on KINK), Kim Schmick (later aka Kim Mathews, KKRZ MD) & Hosea Johnson. KAAR slogan: “The Talk of Portland” “Good Time Rock & Roll.”
Bob Ancheta continued as G.M. John G. Hugill became Program Director and Craig Adams, de facto Music Director. John Hugill remembers: Kenny Green’s first telephone conversation with me went something like “Hey! You seen the new Playboy? We should get a copy and J*** off to it together.” This was on weird dude.” In May 1987 John Hugill (later on KMJK, KKSN AM/FM PM, KLTH) forced the Green’s to fire him so he could file for unemployment. Terry Donahue (formerly on KLLB, KKRZ) became Program Director.
A very young Scott Lander, just breaking into radio, remembers: I was running the board on a weekday afternoon, Kenny walked into the small studio (with its’ view of the food stand in Tower Mall) and said: “Soo, Scotty-how long is your d**k when it’s hard?” Needless to say it was awkward. It was soon after that, the checks started bouncing. What an experience!” In May 1987 eight year old Sam Rogoway debuted on KAAR as Little Rockin’ “Ricky Rocko” (later on KKRZ, KMXI) weeknights 6 to 8pm on “The Little Ricky Rocko Show”. “The Worlds Youngest DJ” was also heard 2pm to 6pm on Saturdays on “The Little Ricky Rocko All Request & Dance Party.”
On June 1, 1987 Craig Adams (later on KKSN AM/FM, KLTH) was fired by Rhonda “when she found out, I thought she was nuts! This actually saved me from dealing with bounced checks, which started in June.” Also in June 1987 Roger Smith (later on KRDR, KYTE/KESI/KKCY, KPDQ AM/FM PM, KKPZ PM) took off. “I heard checks were starting to bounce, thought I’d better cut my losses and get out of there.” On that same day Steve Michaels (later on KBBR, KHSN MD, KOOS, KUIK) also quit! “Payroll checks had started to bounce for a lot of people. Mine, thankfully, never did.” About July 1st Tim Underwood (later on KMJK-FM, KSGO/KGON/KFXX) remembers: “I left KAAR during the Kenny Green era when checks started bouncing, morale started plummeting and my desire for un-Green-er pastures prevailed!” In July 1987 Terry Donahue left “being very angry at the Green’s, Lander remembers” and Curtis Wilson (formerly on KOHI, KRDR; later on KVIX, KXL) became Program Director.
On July 15, 1987 Michael Burgess wrote in his “This Week” column, Burges Sez: “Recent ship-jumpers at Radio KAAR are muttering about sexual harassment and unpaid wages….” In the first days of August 1987 Scott Lander (later on KXYQ, KKRZ, KBBT-FM, KOTK, KRSK, KXJM, KZMG, KWJJ-FM, KXL/KXJM, KALZ, KSTJ APD/MD, KUPL-FM, KFBW) remembers: “Kenny decided to give me a raise (seriously-yikes) but by that time, the checks had already started bouncing. I quit soon, thereafter.” Bob Ancheta remembers early August 1987: “Yes paychecks were bouncing and I was getting the excuse from Rhonda Green that the money exchange to our bank account was accidently sent to Vancouver, B.C., not Vancouver, WA, at that point I knew that was BS and packed up my stuff and left.”
On August 10, 1987 a Michigan corporation Gemy, Inc. filed a lawsuit against Belridge Broadcasting of Portland, Inc. for $550,000 promissory note Belridge was in loan default on. Belridge failed to make the July 1987 payment of $4,583. On August 11, 1987 at 3:05pm Portland General Electric pulled the plug. Bob Ancheta (later KGON APD/MD, KKRH, KINK) remembers: “PGE shut off the power at the North Portland transmitter within a week after I left. The manager of the Tower Mall “Al Emrich” caught wind of what was going on and locked the doors. The radio station went back to the original owner Patten Communications Corp. Myron Patten hired me to overlook the facility while trying to sell it. Kenny Green and Rhonda were the weirdest people I ever worked for and I was glad to have it over. I felt bad for everybody who got a bounced check including me.”
In January 1988 Christopher H. Bennett Broadcasting Company of Washington, Inc. (Christopher H. Bennett, President & wife Gloria V. Bennett, Secretary/Treasurer) purchased KAAR fixed assets for $475,000. The company owned KRIZ Renton WA. (FCC approval on 4-12-88). On April 26, 1988 KAAR signed back on the air with an Urban Contemporary format with slogan calls “KBMS”. Studios were located in “The Postal Building” 510 S.W. Third Ave., Suite 100, in Portland. Leon L. Harris, General Manager & Theodore “Ted” Salter, General Sales Manager. 1480 morning air personality was Carnell Foreman. George Fitz weekday mornings 5am to 6am and on Sunday mornings “The George Fitz Gospel Show” (formerly on YSOL, KBOO) aired 5am to Noon. Slogan: “Soul Radio”. Request line: 222-1480.
In June 1988 Christopher H. “Chris” Bennett became General Manager. On July 20, 1988 KAAR became KBMS standing for: “Bennett’s Music Station.” Slogan: “Portland’s Best Music Station.” In September 1989 KBMS affiliated with CBS Sports radio. By December 1989 Ron Lee was Program Director & Music Director. In 1990 Johnny Jordan (formerly on KMAI, KIKI, KWAI, KSSK, XHRM, KWAV, WYJB; later on sister KYIZ, KTSX) joined the KBMS air staff, pulling both morning & afternoon drives. By December 1990 Thomas Williams was General Sales Manager & Michael Brown, Chief Engineer.
On January 19, 1991 former KBMS air personality Anthony DuPree Casey died at age 27 from complications of pneumonia. KBMS slogan: “Portland Vancouver’s Soul Choice.” In 1991 Angela V. Jenkins became KBMS Station Manager, Program Director & Music Director. By December 1991 KBMS had affiliated with the CBS Spectrum Radio Network (CSN, formerly known as CBS Radioradio network). By December 1992 Christopher H. “Chris” Bennett was both KBMS General Manager & General Sales Manager & Richard Wilson (formerly KEX/KKRZ CE) Chief Engineer. In February 1993 KBMS switched to ABC’s “The Touch” or “Hits & Oldies” satellite delivered adult “Urban Contemporary” format. On March 14, 1993 Gene R. Johnsick 1956 KRIV 1480kc Camas station founder died at age 73 in Mount Angel.
By November 1993 KBMS studios had moved to the transmitter site at: 11197 N. Portland Rd. KBMS offices were moved to “The Heritage Building” at: 601 Main St., Suite 400 in Vancouver, WA. KBMS slogans: “More Than Just The Same Songs Over And Over, We’re Portland’s Best Music Station.” “KBMS, The More You Listen, The More You Like.” In November 1995 KBMS moved to new studios in “The Heritage Building” in Vancouver, WA. Request line: 283-3358. On February 20, 1996 KBMS was knocked off the air for 6 days because of flooding at the Smith Lake tower site where the transmitter was underwater for several days. By September 1996 KBMS slogans were: “The Best Variety of Hits And Oldies.” “The Home of Mellow Music At Night.”
On April 25, 1997 Kenneth A. “Kenny” Green died at age 65 in Las Vegas (former KAAR co-owner & V.P. 1987). In 2000 KBMS moved studios back to the transmitter site at: 11197 N. Portland Rd. Between October 15 & 22, 2002 KBMS switched satellite formats to ABC’s “Solid Gold Soul” network “Where Music Meets Soul!” On January 14, 2004 KBMS switched format back to ABC’s “The Touch” network “Today’s R&B and Old School” By July 2006 Opio Sokoni had a talk show on KBMS. By November 2006 Angela Jenkins was host of a talk show Sunday mornings 6am to noon.
By 2007 KBMS had affiliated with “News One” radio network, hourly and half hour feeds during daytime talk shows. Syndication from “Reach Media” carrying weekday talk from “The Tom Joyner Morning Show” 3am to 7am. From “Syndication One” talk programs “Warren Ballentine” 7am to 10am & “The Rev. Al Sharpton Show” 10am to 1pm. Switching format to current Rhythm & Blues music mixed with Soul Oldies from “The Touch” network 1pm to 3am. By October 2007 Opio Sokoni was General Manager with Frank Barrow, Operations Manager & Angela V. Jenkins, Program Director, Music Director & Public Service Director.
On July 28, 2008 the FCC fined KBMS $5,600 for main studio violations. The Commission found the main studio locked and unmanned at various times during regular business hours. The agent was told “he would have to make an appointment. The FCC stated “KBMS must be made available to Commission agents during the station’s business hours, or at any time it is in operation, and that the KBMS main studio must be accessible to the public during regular business hours to ensure, among other reasons, that the public has access to the KBMS public inspection file.”
Slogans: “Celebrating Black Music 365 Days A Year, Right Hear On 1480 KBMS.” “The Right Touch, We’re Your Station For Today’s R&B and Classic Soul.” “For The Best Blues & Oldies, Listen To 1480 KBMS.” “Playing Today’s R&B and Your Memories From Yesterday.” “We Play The Best Variety of Hits, 1480 KBMS.”
Special Thanks to the following individuals who helped in the writing of this radio history, making it more complete: Bob Ancheta, Ray Bartley, Dave Bischoff, Jim Boland, Andy Brown, Chris Burns, Tom Cauthers, Dan Dubay, Les Friedman, Kim Fuqua, Bob Gallucci, David Gleason, Rob Haas, Gray Frierson Haertig, Paul Hanson, John Harper, Iris Harrison, Dan Hotchkiss, John Hugill, Johnny Jordan, Michael Jack Kirby, Scott Lander, Jim Maass, John Meissner, Steve Michaels, Brien Morris, Joe Nasty, Dan Packard, Valerie Ring, Paul Schindler, Roger Smith, Tim Underwood, Todd Weagant, John Windus.
References: Billboard mag., Broadcasting mag., Broadcasting Yearbook(s), Camas Public Library, Camas Washougal Post-Record, The Downtowner, FCC.gov, The Los Angeles Times, Multnomah County Library, The Oregon Journal, The Oregonian, pdxradio’s KVAN History Page, This Week, Vancouver Community Library, Williamette Week.
The first history of 1480 was originally posted on April 13, 2002.May 27, 2011 at 5:15 am #1945
Could NOT stop reading this.
Any of us who have cracked a mic on a teakettle somewhere have one or two stories like these, but this collection (with its scrupulously accurate timeline) is a classic.
Sure took my mind off Live 95.5. Thanks, Craig.May 27, 2011 at 6:22 am #1946
Could NOT stop reading this.
Yes, same here! A fascinating insight to all the trials and tribulations of AM 1480. Excellent Craig!May 27, 2011 at 6:38 am #1947
“Could NOT stop reading this.”
Amen! Craig, you have put together something really special!May 27, 2011 at 8:04 am #1948
“Boring Gospel Time” Words fail me! 🙂May 27, 2011 at 2:46 pm #1949
This could be a book, titled “No Bathrooms Allowed! The story of an AM Radio Station.” I’m glad I was a brief part of this history. I remember the day I quit thinking “I could never bring my parents on a tour of this place.” I was 21. God bless us all for making it through.May 27, 2011 at 3:23 pm #1950
Thanks for the memories! My two weeks there were, uh, interesting, exciting, and fun.May 27, 2011 at 4:31 pm #1951
KAAR was such a great channel with MLK at the head. the Preacher sure sounded great. if only it had a better signal. and I remember the mono maniacs. Iris and BA later worked on KINK. I guess old mono maniacs never die they just get KINKier.May 27, 2011 at 4:35 pm #1952
I meant MJKMay 27, 2011 at 6:28 pm #1953
It was all good. Except for that morning out at tower 3 when my hand slipped while inside the tuning box. Yeah, and the time I had to tie RF/tower earth ground to studio ground to get rid of the hum swamping out the new studios … I mean really, I wasn’t expecting a four inch arc between two grounds … or the night of the very first official KVAN 1480 all night show when I finally had indoor plumbing but no toilet paper. Howard showed up around 7 AM with TP in hand. I was working in the production studio, still finishing wiring up some gear. Les Friedman had been on the air since I finished my show at 6 AM. Fortunately neither of us had needed the TP, yet.May 28, 2011 at 12:55 am #1954
Incredible work. What an exciting history. Truly an example of much that can transpire at a radio station. As one of the participants in this glorius parade, I can assure you that there are at least a hundred more stories that I could tell, but not in a public forum. Great memories, an exceptional cast of characters and all the credit in the world to BA for all of his positive efforts.May 28, 2011 at 2:16 am #1955
Who said radio doesn’t have a little drama now and then— 😀May 28, 2011 at 3:02 am #1956
Great work (as usual), Craig! I wasn’t at the mighty K-DOUBLE A-R for much more than a summer, but it’s a time and a place that I’ll never forget. Again-Outstanding!May 29, 2011 at 3:07 am #1957
Thanks Everyone! And to all that helped in the writing of this. I couldn’t have done it without you. 🙂
Oh and Wayne, Iris never worked for KINK.
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