The Weagant’s KKEY & More forums forums History The Weagant’s KKEY & More

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    On November 5, 1953 the FCC issued a Construction Permit for a new AM station on 1150kc with 1kw, non-directional daytime hours only licensed to Vancouver, Washington. Call letters granted were KHFS standing for “Kilowatt High-Fidelity Station”. KHFS was licensed to Western Broadcasting Co. (Charles M. Weagant, 60% owner & Chief Engineer). Charles had been KBPS Chief Engineer. Previous to this, Weagant had made Portland news when on Monday May 6, 1940 Charles, using his 1kw ham station W7GAE made connect with polar explorer Admiral Byrd for 20 minutes from his base at Little America in the Antarctic. Two more additional contacts were made. (son Ralph C. Weagant, 40% owner, Program Director & News Director) Ralph had first been with KVAN-910 & KXL as a news announcer. Western Broadcasting Co. was originally the company name used on KEX’s first license in 1926. KHFS estimated construction cost was $18,500.

    The transmitter was designed and built by Charles Weagant, in the garage at his home at 3221 N.E. 38th in Portland. Warren Weagant: “He had severe Rheumatoid Arthritis and could only get around with crutches. Due to coming down with tuberculosis, some of the broadcast equipment was installed at the station site by his son and freelance engineers, including Bryce Howard (who became Chief Engineer), Bob Way, Harold “Al” Potter, KBPS Chief Engineer, under the direction of Charles Weagant, via phone.”

    On July 3, 1954 KHFS began testing it’s transmitter at 7:00am with Bob Way at the controls until 10:15am when Loyal E.W. Conley (later KLIQ CE) took over. KHFS was shut down at 10:37am due to a transformer failure. At 4:25pm KHFS began testing again with the transformer fixed. Loyal E.W. Conley & Stan Heintz were at the controls. Loyal Conley left at 5:06pm leaving Stan Heintz to finish testing and signing off at 8:00pm.

    On July 4, 1954 KHFS officially began operation from its studios & transmitter site located at 5500 Fourth Plain Road in Vancouver. Once again Bob Way was at the controls with sign on at 7:00am. KHFS broadcast a Hi-Fi Good Music format. Ralph Weagant took over at 11:10am to 4:00pm with Stan Heintz on until KHFS sign off at 8:00pm. Ernest E. “Earnie” Crater was Commercial Manager. Also working at KHFS were Fred Hobbs (formerly on KBOL) announcer and Forest Lovett (formerly KMCM sales). KHFS slogan: Your high-fidelity station, first in the nation. KHFS was “less than 1 per cent over-all harmonic distortion in the 50 to 7500-cycle range.”

    New information E-Mailed from Fred Hobbs. The DJ line up above from the original history, came from KHFS transmitter logs that were obtained. These were the only documents available but did not necessarily reflect who was on the air, only the program log would do that and is most likely long gone. In most cases today, the DJ is also the engineer. This was not the norm in radio’s past. Fred Hobbs (later on AFN Berlin, KBOL PD, KDEN ND, KLZ AM-TV, KWGN-TV ND, KEZW) was not the engineer during his shows. He was on the air weekdays 10am to 1pm.

    Fred Hobbs remembers: “Most weekdays Ralph Weagant was on the air mid-to late afternoon. My recollection is that Stan Heinz finished the day on the air. I worked a shift on Sundays, also. Actually, mine was the first voice on the air on the first regular day of broadcasting which was indeed July fourth, but not in the morning. We went on the air in the afternoon. The first FULL day was the next on which Bob Way did indeed start the day of broadcasting. My first few words were brief, announcing we were formally on the air after the days of testing and then I introduced Ralph who hosted the first show. Music was middle of the road and we had only a few records and some pre-produced tapes. On the first week of October 1954, I received my draft notice, entered the army later that month.”

    On February 7, 1955 KHFS debuted “Read Your Bible Program” weekdays at 7:45am with evangelists Tom Fair & Demcy Mylar (later KRWC co-owner). In April 1955 “The Jimmy Randall Show” (formerly on KVAN) began Monday thru Saturday 7:00 to 8:00am featuring Country Western music. On April 18, 1955 “The Psalm of Life” debuted weekdays 6:45 to 7:00am with Rev. W.E. Klawiter. On July 4, 1955 Eddy Marvin began a Country Western D.J. program at 12:30pm with very little Hill-billy music.

    On May 7, 1956 KHFS debuted “The Caffeine Charlie Show” weekdays 10:00 to 11:45am, giving way Boyd’s Coffee every 30 minutes. By June 1956 the show “Day Dreams” was on weekdays 12:30 to 12:45pm with Leon “Fingers” Drews (formerly on KOIN, KALE, KPRO MD, KFI) organist. Sponsored by “Day Music Co.” By July 1956 Don Dowling had a disc-jockey show Saturday’s 6:30pm to 8:00pm. By August 1956 Wally Thornton (formerly on KWIL, KENE) was also a KHFS D.J. By August 1956 Gene Brendler (formerly on KWJJ & KXL, simultaneously on KPTV ND/PAD; later on KMUZ) was doing a disc-jockey show Saturday’s 9:30am to 4:30pm and Hal Starr (formerly on KXL, KEX, KPDQ PD, KGW) show “Hal’s Half Acre” (later KGW PD). KHFS slogan: 1,000 watts of Personality in High-Fidelity. By March 1957 Sloppy Joe was on 8:00 to 10:00am.

    Fred Hobbs remembers: “KHFS were the call letters chosen by Ralph’s dad. They stood for “Kilowatt High Fidelity Station” which meant a lot to the senior Mr. Weagant, an engineer, but not much to the audience. In addition, those of us on the air found the combination of letters with H followed by F followed by S very easy to stumble over if you weren’t careful. We complained (mildly) to Ralph about this, since he also was on the air live. He turned aside our complaints saying it wasn’t a problem for him until one day on the air we heard HIM say something like “this is KF…er, KS…KHFS, Vancouver, Washington.” He then said, “OK, wise guys, maybe we should find a different set of call letters.” I had already left the station before that was accomplished.”

    On Thursday June 6, 1957 an ad announcement: “Monday is KEY DAY on KHFS Radio.” To promote the event, KHFS mailed out all kinds of Key’s with no explanation. Phone lines were jammed with people wondering what the Key’s were for! Then on Monday June 10, 1957 another newspaper ad: “You Have The KEY. (a Key was pictured with “KEY” in bold letters) The KEY Radio Station of the Northwest. 1150 on your dial. Portland BUtler 9-2565. Vancouver OXford 3-2565. Formerly KHFS Radio.” Warren Weagant: “The call change was desired because KHFS was not easy to pronounce and Ralph thought a catchy “word” would be better.”

    On June 28, 1957 KHFS became KKEY. Warren Weagant: “The call change was desired because KHFS was not easy to pronounce and Ralph thought a catchy “word” would be better.” KKEY’s call slogan: “The KEY radio station of the Northwest”. By July 1958 Wally Thornton (later on KISN) was Program Director; Gordon Shaw, News Director; Clarence Hecox, Farm Director; Marion Olney, Woman’s Director; John A. “Jack” Luetjen (formerly KRTV GM & PD) Commercial Manager & Sam Jones, Promotions Manager.

    On September 29, 1958 KKEY switched to a Town & Country Music format after “9-10 KVAN” abandoned its Country format for Rock & Roll. 9-30-58 ad: “KEY Radio. Now the No.1 Town and Country WESTERN Music Station. The only Western Music Station Serving the Greater Portland-Vancouver Area. KEY Radio Top Western Personalities: Shorty The Hired Hand; Ken DeBord; Bryce Howard.” (DJ’s pictured in that order, so I’m thinking Shorty was mornings; Ken, middays & Bryce, afternoons). Ken DeBord was Program Director & Bryce Howard was still Chief Engineer. Shorty The Hired Hand was formerly on “9-10 KVAN”. Willie Nelson also followed Shorty from KVAN but for Willie KEY Radio was a brief stay, after a reputed show helped with a bottle.

    In August 1959 KKEY switched format back to Good Music. Ad: “Top Tunes from Albums and Shows. KKEY plays S.M.P. Sensible Music Programming. No R&R or C&W.” Al Picinni was Program Director. By December 1959 KEY Radio’s studio & transmitter address had changed slightly to 5500 N.E. Fourth Plain Road.

    In 1961 KKEY changed to a Top 40 format. Slogan: KEY Radio, The Mighty 11-50. The KBS affiliation was dropped. By September 1961 Ernest E. Crater was Commercial Manager; Bob Van Roy (later KGAR ND, KCRA) was News Director; Lucky Leo (aka Leo Erickson formerly KVAN CE&ND, KWJJ; later KGAR CE, KYTE) was doing weekday mornings & Nat Jackson (formerly on KHTV; later with KISN, KPAM/KPFM ND) was doing weekends. Ralph Weagant also filled in as a DJ when needed and did studio Production.

    By October 12, 1962 Johnny Williams (formerly on KBOL, KICN, aka Dapper Dan on KIMN, aka Johnny Williams KICN MD, KTKT, KIMN, KISN MD; later KDAB MD, KRIZ, WABB, KBTR MD, KCBQ PD, KRLA, KHJ, WTAE, KHVH, KHNR OM) was doing afternoon drive at the beginning of the Columbus Day Storm. KEY was shut down at its regular time, sunset and Johnny was just hangin’ around KEY, taking it all in. Johnny Williams: “I can remember reading the wind gauge in the station as it showed 100 MPH. I went out to Fourth Plain Rd. in front of the station and grabbed hold of a telephone pole just to see how long I could stand up in the wind — I managed for several minutes, actually…”

    1962-63 Warren Weagant (younger brother of Ralph, formerly on KBPS; later aka Johnny Edwards on KOFE, aka Johnny Holiday on KAPT, aka Sylvester Behr on KGON-1520, aka John Edwards KPAM/KPFM PD, KGO AM/TV) began Saturdays & Sundays Noon to sunset.

    In March 1963 Roger Hart (formerly aka Roger Ferrier on KENL, KVAN-910, KENL, KUIK, KLIQ, KEX, aka Roger Hart on KISN, KGAY PD, KGAL PD) began doing afternoon drive. Also by this time Russ Ripley (formerly KLOG PD, KISN; later on KGON-1520, KLIQ-FM PD/MD) was doing mornings and Vic Knight (formerly on KGON-1520) middays. In May 1963 Tom Cauthers (formerly on KGON-1230, KYJC, KRVC, KNND MD; later on KGAR, KGRO, aka T-O-M Tom on KRDR, aka Tom Cauthers 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) began DJing Sunday mornings 6 to 11am, followed by Old Dusty (aka Stan Pintarich, formerly on KVAN-910, KWJJ) 11am to 1pm, who would bring in his old 78 RPM’s. KKEY weekdays included Jack Par (formerly on KGRO, KISN; later KDOL AM/FM GM, KAIN, KEEP).

    In Summer? 1963 KKEY scrapped Top 40 for a Good Music format. Cal Coleman (formerly on CKOV, later on KXLY, CKDA, CJOR, CKLG, CKVN) was hired as one of the announcer DJ’s. In 1964 KEY switched to an IGM Automation System, programming IGM’s “The Cosmopolitan Sound” Good Music format. In addition, Doug Pledger programs (from KNBR) were added “Pledger Plays The Classics” a Classical music program and “Pledger At The Opera” featured Opera music. Ad: “Adult programming with an International Flavor. The world’s best music from Holland, Germany, Switzerland, Vienna, America, etc. Music with melody along with bits of wit by Doug Pledger. Portland, Oregon’s Quality Sound. KKEY……The KEY Station.” Slogans: The most refreshing sound in town. KEY Radio, as majestic as the tall timbers, The Fabulous KEY!

    In April 1964 Jerry Johnson (later on KYMN, aka J.J. Mitchell on KGAL MD, KEED, KYMN, KASH PD, aka Robin Mitchell on KOL, KING, KOL PD, WRKO Acting PD, WSAI PD, WIFE PD, KYYX PD, KB101 PD/KYTE/KB101 OM, KRCK PD/KYTE/KRCK OM, KRXY PD, KKUR PD, KWJJ-AM/FM PD/OM, KUJZ PD & cluster OM) began weekend mornings, threading big metal automation reels, watching carousel machines that regularly jammed, plus a Noon newscast on Sundays. KEY had no wire service, so stories were cut out of the newspaper. By 1965 KEY Radio’s studio & transmitter address had changed slightly again to 5500 N.E. Fourth Plain Blvd.


    On March 1, 1965 KKEY became a secondary affiliate of the ABC Radio Network when it picked up “Don McNeill’s Breakfast Club” program. KWJJ had dropped the show from its schedule when it switched to a Country format. By October 1966 KKEY was broadcasting a “Continental” music format. KEY Radio described itself as playing “Distinctive Good Music” and went on to say “Total Announcements limited to Nine Minutes per hour.” KKEY as also an “NAB Code” station. In 1967 KKEY was granted pre-sunrise authorization of 500 watts. KEY continued daytime with 1kw non-directional. By October 1967 Eugene “Gene” Berg was Chief Engineer. By November 1967 KEY slogan: Better music.

    On November 29, 1967 KKEY was authorized to change city of license from Vancouver, Washington to Portland, Oregon. In addition KKEY was also authorized to raise power from 1kw to 5kw and install a daytime directional array. On January 1, 1968 The ABC Radio Network was spit into four new networks. “Don McNeill’s Breakfast Club” became part of the American Entertainment Network. KKEY became an Entertainment affiliate, carrying its news at the bottom of the hour. By May 1968 KKEY had opened an additional studio in Portland, Oregon in “The Flatiron Building” at 1226 W. Burnside St. This had previously served as a KEY sales office back to 1967. By October 1968 Ronald “Ron” Hudson was Chief Engineer. KKEY Slogans: The most refreshing sound in Town. Distinctive Good Music. As of November 1968 it was said KKEY was the only fully automated AM station in the Northwest.

    Between November 18, & 22, 1968 KKEY raised power to 5kw, using a 3 tower array from its Vancouver broadcast site. A new Bauer model FB-5V transmitter had been installed. After KKEY raised power, the long running program “The Scandinavian Hour” moved to KEY Sundays 9:00am to 10:00am. This program began on Portland radio’s KFJR in 1925, moving to KXL, KGW & KPOJ before landing at KEY. “The Scandinavian Hour” on KXL had been hosted by Bob Anderson since 1942. Ralph Weagant also a KXL alumni who had worked with Bob, persuaded him to move his show to KEY. Bob Anderson was originally a KBPS alumni. Another such program “The Italian Hour” with “Rudolfo, your genial host” also moved to KEY from KWJJ where the program had begun in 1958. “Rudolfo” was Agostino Potestio.

    On December 27, 1968 “The Don McNeill Show” as it was now known, was cancelled. Immediately after the cancellation KWJJ requested ABC move the Entertainment Network from KKEY to KWJJ, pointing out “Paul Harvey News & Comment” was an Entertainment Network program. Up to this point, original ABC Radio affiliates that previously carried Paul Harvey, could continue, even though they had affiliated with one of the other four ABC Networks. Paul Harvey was growing in popularity and KWJJ didn’t want to take a chance on loosing clearance, incase the Entertainment Network was picked up by a more powerful station like KEX, where it might run into trouble. ABC offered KKEY the Information Network affiliation, which KWJJ was jettisoning. KEY decided to go independent again.

    On February 6, 1969 the FCC issued a license to KKEY covering the power increase and city of license change. KEY was now a Portland station. KEY Radio also changed format in early 1969 to an automated Top 40 format. Slogan: The KEY to Contemporary music. In 1970 KKEY switched their format to an automated Country format.

    Then on October 4, 1971 Jack Hurd (formerly aka “Just Plain Jack” on KLIQ AM/FM, KGAR & 1969 founder of “Animal Aid”) became the first talk show host on the station, beginning KKEY’s 25+ years in the Talk Radio format. Jack Hurd’s program was on the air 11:00am to 1:00pm. The rest of KEY’s program day was filled with Country music but this would slowly be fazed out.

    On November 29, 1971 two more talk show moderators debuted on KEY Radio. Russ Myer (formerly on KLIQ AM/FM) was on 9:00am to 11:00am. Dave Collins (formerly on KLIQ AM/FM & KWRC) 1:00pm to 3:00pm. KEY slogans: People to People Radio 11-50. KEY two-way conversation. On February 10, 1972 Jerry Dimmitt aka “The Dimmitt” (formerly on KUTY, KGIL, KOOS, KMCM CM, KLIQ AM/FM; later on KAYO) began weekdays 3:00pm to sunset. Also in 1972 Florinda J. “Linda” Weagant, wife of Ralph Weagant became acting General Manager of KKEY when her husband had a heart valve operation. Ralph recovered quickly and only missed a few weeks running the station.

    Warren Weagant: “Ralph cancelled his ASCAP and BMI licenses and did not allow music on the air when he started fulltime Talk Radio programming. Only 8 commercials were allowed per hour, 2 minutes each and all ‘personal endorsements’ by the talk show host, who were also show salesmen. No recorded spots were allowed either…all live, personal endorsements. The only produced, regular type spots were just the ones on the Mutual network. Generally, no guests were allowed on the talk shows. Virtually all of the time was a conversation between the show host and the caller.” Moderators were private contractors for their shows. They received 40% of a sale and KKEY, the other 60%. If a separate salesman was involved, the split was 20%, 20%, 60%.

    By December 1973 KEY Radio’s Portland studio address at the “Flatiron Building” had changed to 1223 S.W. Stark St. In 1974 Mary Pierce began her show on KEY. On August 12, 1974 Alan Hirsch (formerly on KLIQ AM/FM) joined with Jerry Dimmitt to co-host “The Dimmitt & Hirsch Show” 8:00am to 11:00am; Jim Fenwick (formerly KUIK CM, KPOJ, KOL, KGW CM) Portland’s first talk show host, did a more laid back program on KEY 11:00am to 1:00pm, than his KGW days. Also in 1974 Craig Weagant (son of Ralph) began Producing talk shows 1:30pm to sunset, Monday through Friday. Producing and call screening were done at the Vancouver studios with moderators at the Portland studios.

    In February 1975 “The Dimmitt & Hirsch Show” expanded from weekday mornings to included also Saturdays 8:00am to 11:00am. In Spring 1975 Brad Eaton (formerly on KLIQ AM/FM, KVAS ND; later on KCYX PAD, KXL, KAYO, KPAM-860, KING AM/FM) began Saturday mornings, co-moderating with Jerry Dimmitt one weekend and Alan Hirsch another. Soon Brad Eaton was solo fill-in 8:00am to 11:00am, including an hour of “Buy & Sell”.

    On June 24, 1975 Fenwick announced he would terminate his program on July 1, 1975. By mid July 1975 the KEY’s broadcast day consisted of Country Music 6:00am to 8:00am; Alan Hirsch & Jerry Dimmitt 8:00am to 11:00am; Laura Hall (or) Peter Marland-Jones aka P.M.J. (formerly on KMCM, KROW & KEX) 11:00am to 1:00pm; Jack Hurd 1:00pm to 3:00pm; Dave Collins 3:00pm to 5:00pm; Mary Pierce 5:00pm to 7:00pm; Ed Richter (later KBOO GM) 7:00pm to 9:00pm sign off. Steve Bradley (formerly on KPOK AM/FM / KUPL-FM; later on KGAR) served as Sunday morning producer, engineer and call screener. Shortly after being hired Steve relieved Ron Hudson CE to work on engineering projects Monday through Wednesday 8:30am to 1:30pm. Ron continued producing shows on Thursdays & Fridays, with Bill Mulikan producing on Saturday mornings. Steve Bradley then added Thursdays 8:30am to 1:30pm sometime later.

    On August 1, 1975 Alan Hirsch left KEY. Jerry Dimmitt went solo, hours were shortened after a time 8:00am to 10:00am. Laura Hall moved to 10:00am to 11:00am. Brad Eaton was given the Saturday morning co-host position with Jerry Dimmitt. A while later Brad was given the Sunday morning show as well, 6:00am to 8:45am. Also in 1975 KKEY affiliated with the Mutual Broadcasting System’s “Progressive” news feed at :55 past the hour. In Fall 1975 Addie Bobkins (formerly on KLIQ, KWJJ, KXRO, KXL, KEX, KEED, KVAL, KPTV, KISN, KCOP) inaugurated Sunday talk shows on KEY when he began his show 1:00pm to 4:00pm. Addie’s sidekick was Dallas McKennon (formerly on KGW & the voice of many cartoons). By then Laura Hall had been moved into thr 11am to 1pm time slot. In 1976 Lee Raymore (formerly on KMO, KYXI) joined the KEY moderators.

    On May 3, 1976 KEY Radio became possibly the first Talk Station in the Nation to have a caller literally die while a moderator talked to the person on air. Laura Hall was chatting with caller Ruby Nelson, 62 “on the line when she heard a gasp, a thud and excited barking of a dog”. Laura Hall on the incident: “The ‘on air connection’ was open. The audience could hear the dog barking.” For 90 minutes Hall tried to rouse Nelson and learn her address. Hall: “I did leave the studio when we got the correct address, and went in with the emergency officers at the Nelson home. It did take more than 2 hours for the call to be traced.” Nelson apparently died almost instantly from a massive heart attack. In Summer 1976 Paul Moore (formerly on KVAN-1480) began producing KEY shows Saturday & Sunday afternoons. In May 1977 Laura Hall moved to KNND as P.D., then to KUGN & KAYO, Mutual News as their Paris correspondent, KPNW N.D., KMTR(TV) Managing Editor.

    In May 1977 Jack Hurd died at age 59 of Emphysema. Leo “Lee” Evans took over Jack’s time slot 1:00pm to 3:00pm. John Cole was mornings 6:00am to 8:00am; Brad Eaton was added to the weekday schedule 8:00am to 9:00am, as well as continuing weekends; Jerry Dimmitt was 9:00 to 11:00am; The Bob Dye Show (formerly on KYXI, later on KLIQ, KXL) 11:00am to 1:00pm. On weekends Mary Kangas (formerly on KLIQ) was added to Saturdays 6:00am to 8:00am. In 1978 Rick Miller was doing a Midday talk show & Mike Caulkins was on Sunday mornings 6:00am to 8:45am. KEY slogans: People to People Radio 11-50. KEY two-way conversation.

    [NO DATING FOR THESE HOSTS YET] Al Emrich (formerly KWLK AM/FM CM, KLIQ AM/FM, KGAR PM, KAAR VP/GM), Jim Cuomo, Henryene Edwards, Jack Hammer, Pat King, Frank Marshall, Merv Martin, Stormin’ Norman, Owens, Jimmy “Bang! Bang!” Walker (formerly on KGAR), Playboy Buddy Rose (formerly on KPTV).

    By March 1980 Dave Collins is on KEY Radio 2:00pm to 5:00pm weekdays. By May 1980 Bill Haslam was doing a Sunday morning talk show. In Summer 1980 Roger Hart returned (formerly on KGON-1520, KISN, Paul Revere & The Raiders, manager and early producer, KGAR MD; later KKUL, KKEY, KYTE, KKSN, KZNY MD/PM, KKAD) doing his first talk show weekdays. The KEY Radio moderators were: John Cole, 6:00am to 9:00am; Roger Hart, 9:00 to 11:00am; Mary Pierce, 11:00am to 1:00pm; Lee Evans, 1:00pm to 3:00pm; Dave Collins, 3:00pm to 5:00pm; Jerry Dimmitt (later on KYXI, KAYO, KTNT, KMO, KAAR, KKEY, KXL, KKEY, Northwest Talk Radio Network PD, KVAN-1550, KKEY, KXYQ) 5:00pm to Sunset & off & Program Director. Weekends featured Ruth Kriko aka Ruthie Kaye. Also in 1980 Mutual’s Progressive Network became known as Mutual “Lifestyle”. By 1981 Todd Weagant (son of Ralph) began producing weekend afternoons. Sometime later Ron Hudson’s son, Kevin Hudson also produced weekend shows.

    In 1983 KKEY was granted PSSA – Post-Sunset Authority of 186 watts for the first half hour and 100 watts in the 2nd hour. A power reducer was connected to the main transmitter to switch to these lower power levels. The Roy Masters program was then extended to 5:30pm year round. Also in 1983 Mutual’s Lifestyle news service at :55 past the hour was discontinued. KKEY then switched to Mutual’s “Comprehensive” news service at :30 past the hour. In 1984 Ruth Olin was a weekend moderator. On September 1, 1985 KEY Radio began carrying a morning block of religious programs. These shows had been moved from KLIQ, when the station became KMJK, a simulcast of its FM sister. By this time KKEY received FCC approval to begin night operation with 47 watts directional. KKEY then purchased a 50 transmitter and began 24 hour operation. KEY continued daytime with 5kw directional. Same pattern day & night.

    On May 9, 1987 KKEY President & General Manager, Ralph C. Weagant died. In 1987 Rick Miller (later on KGW, KING, KXLY, KOMO, KGA) returned doing middays. On June 29, 1987 the FCC authorized KKEY to operate its transmitter by remote control from its Portland studios. By October 1987 Lee Raymore was on the air 1:00pm to 2:30pm, 5 days a week. KEY slogan: Portland’s Conversation Station. In late 1987 control of KKEY’s licensee, Western Broadcasting Co. was transferred to wife Florinda J. “Linda” Weagant, becoming President & GM. Also in 1987 KKEY began carrying Mutual’s on the hour news feed.


    On November 14, 1988 it was announced “The Flatiron Building” built in 1916 and housing KEY Studios was recently declared a Portland Landmark. In December 1988 Carl Daly was on KEY 1:00pm to 4:00pm and Mike Lee 4:00pm to 7:00pm. On February 4, 1989 “Sue ‘The Astrologer’ (Owens) began her new show on Saturdays 2:00pm to 4:00pm. On March 16, 1989 “The Flatiron Building” was placed on the National Register of Historic Buildings. On November 21, 1989 it was announced Ed Anderson (formerly on KEX) would begin doing Middays. By February 1990 Carol Simitachi was on KEY Radio 9:00am to Noon, Sylvester Hendricks 2:00pm to 4:00pm & Robert Allen 6:00pm to 8:00pm. KKEY slogan: Talk of The Great Northwest.

    On April 9, 1990 KKEY began carrying CBS Radio Sports, Major League Baseball’s “Saturday Game of The Week” and later the “World Series”. Locally on KEY Pat Bladorn did a 50 minute sports talk show before the games. In 1991 Jim MkKey (spelling correct) was on KEY 6:00am to 9:00am weekdays and KKEY added affiliations with NBC & DayNet. By November 1991 KKEY had shut down its Portland studios at 1223 S.W. Stark St. KEY slogans: Portland’s Conversation Station. People Power. By 1992 Tim Jordan was doing a morning talk show on KEY. The show was later moderated by Pam Parson. By July 1992 Roy Masters was on KEY Radio 8:00am to 9:00am via KOPE Medford. By February 1993 KEY was carrying old time radio drama’s evenings. By this time Stephen Bradley was Promotions Manager.

    On February 15, 1993 KKEY picked up Mutual’s “The Larry King Show” Noon to 3:00pm, after KEX refused to carry King after his program was switched to daytime. On June 6, 1994 two syndicated programs began on KEY. Chuck Harder’s “For The People” taking over the Larry King slot. King had moved to TV exclusively. “For The People” came from PRN – Peoples Radio Network. From 3:00pm to 4:00pm KEY ran its old time radio programs. Also picked up on this date from Talknet was “Bruce Williams” (formerly on KXL), 4:00pm to 7:00pm.

    On July 4, 1994 KKEY celebrated its 40th Anniversary with a special program of remembrances and also broadcast recordings of old KEY Radio talk shows. By September 1994 “Love Makes A Family” with host Bonnie Tinker was on Wednesday mornings. Chastity Bono was once a guest her show. By December 1994 “The Italian Hour” was hosted Lucia Galizia (later on KBOO) Sundays 10:00am to 11:00am. By 1995 KEY had added an affiliation with Westwood One. By April 1995 “The Birdwell & White Show” hosted by Robert Birdwell & Jamison White was on KEY weekdays at 3:00pm.

    By August 1995 “The Voice of Homeland” with host Pervez Saleem was on Sundays 1:00pm to 2:00pm. By September 1995 Chuck Harder’s “For The People” show had expanded 11:00am to 3:00pm weekdays. KEY Slogans: This is Talk Radio 11-50. KEY Talk Radio. By December 1996 Ronald Hudson was Chief of Operations in addition to Chief Engineer. On January 20, 1997 KEY Radio debuted “Stanford & Friends” weekdays Noon to 2:00pm. The show was hosted by Phil Stanford (formerly with The Oregonian newspaper) with sidekick Mike Johnson (standup comedian). By September 1997 KKEY had traffic reports weekdays on the hour and half hour. KEY slogan: More two-way telephone talk radio continues.

    On September 24, 1997 KKEY was purchased by Jeannine J. Wells, aka J.J. McKay (formerly on KWJJ, KATU), President & G.M. and the new licensee of Western Broadcasting Co. for $345,000. (FCC approval on 3-1-98). The Studio building and towers were on leased land from Linda Weagant. J.D. Fort (formerly KUIK Asst. ND, KMJK; later aka Jon Davenport on KEX, as well as J.D. Fort) became Chief of Operations; Stephen Bradley was Public Affairs Director; Theodore J. “Ted” Piccolo, Sales Manager & Michael Anthony, Production Manager. The station employed 5 full-time & 7 part-timers. On February 28, 1998 KKEY became KKGT. Call slogan: Great Talk 11-50, the evolution of Portland Talk Radio. The format was: Conservative Talk. NBC & DayNet affiliations were dropped, as was “The Scandinavian Hour” which was later picked up by KXYQ.

    In March 1998 new shows began on KKGT. “Daybreak” from USA Radio Network began the broadcast day, followed by “Bruce Williams”, by now on Westwood One and continuing on KKGT. “The Mary Matalin Show” from CBS Radio was picked up. KKGT also had its own show called “Local Lalapalooza” 3:00pm to 5:00 pm weekdays. It featured different hosts each day: J.J. McKay, Bill Sizemore, Dave Anderson (later on KXL, KEX, KATU), Harry Lonsdale & Kevin Starrett.

    On November 17, 1998 KKGT ownership was transferred to Frank A. Eisenzimmer (founder of Oregon Taxpayers United) & Myrna M. Eisenzimmer. By February 1999 Bill Deiz (formerly on KCBS-TV, co-currently on KEX, KGW-TV, KEWS, KKSN-FM, KBNP, KVAN-1550) was doing traffic reports for KKGT. On April 18, 1999 Westwood One owned Mutual Broadcasting System was shut down after 62 years of service to the Pacific Northwest. Mutual programming became part of Westwood One.

    On June 8, 1999 it was announced Frank Eisenzimmer & Bill Sizemore would form a partnership in KKGT and that KKGT studios would move to Clackamas, Oregon. On June 28, 1999 “The Bill Sizemore Morning News Program” began 7:00am to 9:00am. Studios were moved to 15240 S.E. 82nd Dr. in Clackamas, Oregon. KKGT also installed a new ??????? transmitter. Syndicated shows on KKGT included Ken Hamblin & Neil Boortz.

    On July 29, 1999 William L. “Bill” Sizemore & Cynthia B. Sizemore purchased 50% of KKGT for $165,000. from Frank & Myrna Eisenzimmer. Bill Sizemore became KKGT General Manager and is Executive Director of Oregon Taxpayers United. On September 2, 1999 Jeannine J. Wells & Theodore J. “Ted” Piccolo became the other 50% owner of KKGT with Bill & Cynthia Sizemore. These were the new licensees of Western Broadcasting Co. Total estimated station transaction: $330,000. The towers were on leased land from Linda Weagant.

    Jeff Mitchell (formerly on KRWQ, KYOS, KCMX, KTMT, KBOY AM/FM, KGON) was Chief of Operations, P.D. & Public Affairs Director; John White, Chief of Engineering & Steve Albrecht (formerly on WNOE, KILO, KAAT, KKGD/KZKS GM, KUPL/KBBT) General Sales Manager. KKGT began 24 hour operation and affiliated with Jones Radio Network, USA Radio Network, Talk Radio Network & Radio America. KKGT slogan: Great Talk all day long.

    On March 25, 2000 Kermit Washington (former Portland Trail Blazer) began his Saturday Sports Talk Show 10:00am to Noon. On December 4, 2001 Bill Sizemore purchased KGUY Milwaukie, OR for $750,000. KGUY moved into the KKGT studios. On January 13, 2002 Dave Collins died at 78. By March 2002 Jim Greenfield was doing a talk show on KKGT 2:00pm to 4:00pm weekdays. On May 25, 2002 “Scandinavian Hour” host Bob Anderson died at 83. Also in 2002 Kenneth “Ken” Inlow became KKGT General Manager. On December 8, 2002 Al Emrich died at 89.

    On April 29, 2003 KKGT was purchased by Bustos Media Holdings of Oregon, LLC, (group owner: Bustos Media, LLC; Amador S. Bustos, Chairman & CEO; brother, John S. Bustos, Operative Vice-President ) for $1.25 Million. (FCC approval on 8-21-03). The towers were on leased land from Linda Weagant. KKGT moved studios to 24 South A. St., Suite C. in Washougal, Washington. Spencer French (formerly KWBY/KCKX GSM) Vice-President & G.M.; Tom Trullinger became Station Manager; Emilio Barrales, Program Director & Tom Oberg, General Sales Manager. On May 30, 2003 Bustos purchased KMUZ Gresham OR for $1.13 Million. KKGT moved into studios with KMUZ at 24 South A. St., Suite C. in Washougal, Washington.

    On August 1, 2003 at 12 Noon KKGT began playing Spanish love songs and became “Romance 11-50”. On October 29, 2003 Bustos purchased KKSN Oregon City for $2.8 Million, becoming KZNY. On October 30, 2003 it was announced Portland Trail Blazer games would air on KKGT in Spanish with Arnulfo Alvarez doing play-by-play and analyst with Emilio Barrales.

    On November 18, 2003 KKGT became KRMZ reflecting “RoMance” in the call letters. On November 19, 2003 Bustos purchased KGUY Milwaukie OR for $1 Million. In July 2004 Humberto C. Perez became Corporate Controller. KRMZ moved studios to the Mount Tabor District of Portland at 5110 S.E. Stark St. (former studio home of KPDQ AM/FM). On February 2, 2005 Addie Bobkins died at 72.

    On February 3, 2005 KRMZ became KXMG reflecting in call letters the new “MaGia” format of Spanish Adult Contemporary music. In August 2007 Gabriel Nacht became Senior Vice-President. On February 1, 2008 KXMG switched to a Regional Mexican format called “Ke Buena”. By March 2008 Rick “Ricky” Tatum (former KKHI-FM VP&GM) was Vice-President & G.M.

    On May 1, 2008 KXMG switched format once again, this time to “Radio Mison Cristiana” which is Religious Spanish music. On October 20, 2008 it was announced Spencer French had become Vice-President & G.M. for the Northwest Region. In early 2009 KXMG went 5kw non-directional. On April 14, 2009 KXMG became KLPM which means: La PolaMa or “The Dove”. On April 26, 2010 Bill Sizemore (former KKGT Co-owner) announced he would be running for Governor for the 2nd time. By October 2010 Juan Carlos Salceda, Program Director.

    On October 1, 2010 Bustos Media Holdings of Oregon, LLC began an LMA merger with Adelante Media of Oregon License LLC. On January 17, 2011 KLPM switched format to “Exitos” Regional Mexican. On January 25, 2011 KLPM changed calls to KXET, reflecting its new slogan “Exitos.” On August 13, 2011 KXET was knocked off the air when metal thieves broke into its Vancouver transmitter site and sole equipment. On October 26, 2012 KXET returned to the air after 14 months, simulcasting sister station KGDD’s “La Gran D” Regional Mexican format. Power was reduced to 1kw non-directional.

    A Special Thanks to: Steve Bradley, Tom Cauthers, Jerry Dimmit, Brad Eaton, Roger Hart, Robin Mitchell, Tom Murphy, Steve Taylor, Todd Weagant, Warren Weagant, Johnny Williams & Fred Hobbs.


    This history is not complete as of yet. We need your input for the up coming final posting. If you have any information you think should be included, post it here or E-Mail me at and you’ll be added to the “Special Thanks” listing above.

    [Various paragraphs in this comprehensive KKEY history have been updated or amended to incorporate additional information as of Dec 11, 2012]


    Craig, I don’t know if it’s of any interest, but there was a time in the winters of the late 1970s when they did what I called the winter squeeze. At that time, Mary Pierce was doing 5 to 7 PM and they were going to have to do something about her time slot. Rather than lay her off, they decided to cut Dimmitt back to 90 minutes, run Bob Dye from 10:30 to 12:30, have Mary from 12:30 to 1:30, Lee from 1:30 to 2:30 and Dave Collins after that. This started in October 1977, I’m almost positive of that. I don’t think they did it for more than a couple of winters, Mary and Lee got their full shows back when Rick Miller and Bob Dye left one year and this ushered in Mary’s permanent midday slot.

    Also, I seem to remember Lee Evans getting fired by Mrs Weagant about 1987. He had been having quite a few health problems and as I remember had a co-host near the end of his run. It also may be kind of fun to remember the many KKEY careers of Dimmitt and his run-ins with the as he affectionately called her battle-ax.


    Just to comment about the last post, Lee Evans’ co-host was Jay Justice. He later had his own show, just before or after Lee. The official word was that Lee retired. Squeezing the shows probably occurred each year until Roy Masters was picked up or possibly later, into his run.


    Thanks to pdxliberal & Semoochie. I will add this. It’s interesting to note how daytimers were constantly having to deal with time restrictions and what solutions were put into effect.


    Thanks again, for a wonderful history post !!!

    “KHFS standing for “Kilowatt High-Fidelity Station””

    Interesting, any specs on frequency response, s/n ratio of the station?

    I read somewhere that in the 30s there were some “double wide” bandwidth channels allocated by the FCC, presumably for high fidelity transmission… Did KHFS have to have special permission from the FCC to use a wider than normal bandwidth?

    Andy Brown

    “Interesting, any specs on frequency response, s/n ratio of the station?”

    Proofs of performance documentation, although no longer required, were never required to be submitted to the FCC and therefore are not in the master 1150 AM Vancouver file in Washington, D.C. They exist only in the local files at the station. Although they might still exist, I doubt it. Also, “high fidelity” meant something totally different back then.

    “double wide” ???? Never heard of this. Without a custom made receiver, wider broadcasts with better frequency response would be undetectable. Receiver performance is traditionally the weak link in AM broadcast reception.

    Jr, I am sure it was marketing and not engineering. Early AM transmission systems didn’t pass full fidelity signals. With plate modulation, the size of the modulation transformer (and the price) would be untenable if you had full spectrum audio. Better sounding AM didn’t really come along until low level modulation techniques came around, eliminating a high level modulation transformer.


    It wasn’t marketing. The transmitter and associated equipment were built by Charles Weagant and the station WAS high fidelity! I understand the distortion figure was less than 2%, which is said to be better than FM of the time. I’ll see if I can get some other figures.

    Andy Brown

    Too bad no one could receive it. AM receivers of that era purposefully filtered out anything above 8k and with good reason (noise).

    “distortion figure”

    Depends on EXACTLY what you’re talking about. THD, THD + N, or IMD. Also, low distortion by itself does not qualify as “high fidelity.” LP records were making their debut, with stereo on the bench and response exceeding the 15kHz FM broadcast limit.



    I found a “wideband/doublewide” channel reference:

    “On December 19, 1933, the Federal Radio Commission authorized three new broadcast-band channels above the previous upper bound of 1500 kHz. The three channels, at 1530, 1550, and 1570 kHz, were 20 KHz wide instead of the standard 10 kHz, thereby making high-fidelity broadcasting possible without interference from adjacent stations.”

    Andy Brown

    That precedes the Telecommunications Act of 1934 which more than likely made that regulation obsolete, adding 1520, 1540 and 1560 to the band and keeping the 10kHz width across all channels. The Act replaced the Federal Radio Commission with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). I’m not sure, though.


    The official word was that Lee retired.

    OK, I didn’t know this. The only reason I knew about it was at the time, Peter Farrell was doing the TV/radio column for The Oregonian and he had reported it as a dismissal due to Lee’s absenses.


    I had read that 1500-1600 kHz weren’t added to the band until the North American Broadcasting Agreement of 1941 (see ).

    I’d like to hear more about what was actually meant by “high fidelity” in regards to KHFS’s operation. Other stations in that era and previously (such as WHAM) had loosely used the term in describing their operations, but without some numbers, the term becomes somewhat meaningless. Nonetheless, I had been under the impression that AM broadcasters of the 1950s era did not use any deliberate means to control frequency response and as a result the bandwidth of the transmitted audio was just a function of the bandwidth of the transmitter, the studio-to-transmitter link, and any transformers that might have been in the audio path.

    I once saw a frequency response plot for a late 1930s era 50kW AM broadcast transmitter, which was rated for a response from 50 Hz to 10 kHz (+/-1 dB, if memory serves me correctly). The same book presented the response curves for several 1920s era transmitters, all of which had roll-off below 200 Hz or so and above 4 kHz or so). Needless to say, I was surprised to see that 1930s era broadcast equipment could perform that well.

    Andy Brown

    The modulation transformers on those old transmitters were HUGE. I saw the old KOMO transformer from (the 40’s?) in the 80’s. The old transmitter was still in use part time. The parts of the transmitter were so big, they were in rooms with doors and lots of M.C. Hammer signage as you walked through.

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