Our April 2010 visit to Southern California really did pack a lot into just a couple of days - not just the studios we showed you last week, and the KRLA 870 site we showed you the previous week, and Flint Peak, as profiled late last year, and KFI, as profiled back in 2010 - but a bunch of drive-by tower visits, too, which we present in this final installment (for now) of pictures from that trip.
We start, in this case, on the eastern fringe of the Los Angeles market - so far east, in fact, that we"re out in that no-man"s-land between the LA market itself and the Riverside-San Bernardino market where 626-land shades into "the 909."
Out, in fact, where we find the other half of the trivia question we posed in our visit to the Santa Clarita Valley"s KHTS (1220) a few weeks back: there are two full-time signals on 1220 in sprawling Los Angeles County, the only such situation we know of in any U.S. county, and the other 1220 is out here.
KWKU is licensed to Pomona and transmits from the three-tower array seen above at right, on Riverside Drive just east of East End Avenue in Chino. It"s a lot of tower (top-hats included) for not much station: this signal runs just 250 watts day and night, aimed vaguely eastward at Los Angeles, though KYPA (1230) keeps it from getting all the way there. It"s an ESPN Deportes affiliate, simulcasting (mostly) with KWKW 1330 in Los Angeles.
Just a short hop up East End Avenue to the north, across the 60 freeway, we come to the other Pomona-licensed AM. KAHZ (1600) uses two towers tucked amidst the warehouse sprawl and railroad tracks of this rather un-scenic area, and these days it"s a simulcast of Chinese-language KAZN (1300 Pasadena), but "twas not always thus. There was a time when this was a fairly vibrant local radio station, first as KPMO and then most famously as KWOW, playing country and then oldies. After a few years as "Money Talk" KMNY, reputedly the first all-financial-talk station in the country, it"s been multilingual for a decade or so, acquiring its current calls in a 2005 trade with the 1360 signal in Fort Worth, Texas, which had been a "Radio AAHS" affiliate way back when. KAHZ is a 5 kW full-timer, but it"s had several longstanding applications to change city of license to Yorba Linda and relocate to the Orange County hills with higher power.
Meanwhile, Multicultural Broadcasting has a CP to move another of its stations, KALI (900 West Covina) over to the 1600 site from its current location in La Puente, closer to LA, trading greater distance for a big power boost (from 500 watts to 5 kW, daytime.)
Back we go to those rugged hills that separate the Inland Empire from Orange County: on their eastern slope, in the fragrant farmlands south of Chino Hills, near Norco, we find one of the market"s more remote sites. For the last decade or so, these three towers off McCarty Road have been h0me to the Orange-licensed KLAA (830), whose studios on the other side of the hills we saw in last week"s installment. KLAA"s 50 kW signal from here blasts out over the hills to blanket most of the LA market by day; at night, its 20 kW signal goes west to cover Orange County and the coast but has trouble getting north of downtown Los Angeles and into the San Fernando Valley.
If KLAA isn"t remote enough for your tastes (and this site is downright metropolitan compared to 830"s original site way up in the hills southwest of Corona, the location soon to be built out for the new KBRT 740 site), here"s another one you can"t easily drive to.
We didn"t have close-up access to the Anaheim-licensed 1190 on this trip, either, but we saw its six towers up off the side of the 57 Freeway as we returned to Orange County from our little Pomona/Chino adventure. Once a daytimer transmitting from Anaheim (it was originally KEZY, broadcasting from the Disneyland Hotel), 1190 is now doing Korean religion with 20 kW by day and 1300 watts at night. When we drove by in 2010, it was KXMX, owned by Salem and LMA"d to the Korean group; it"s since been sold outright and the calls are now KGBN.
Safely back in the heart of the LA market, we close out this week"s installment with one downtown site and two sites on the West Side.
The downtown site is a familiar LA landmark that hasn"t been used for broadcasting in many decades.
We"ve dug into the history of the 1150 frequency in Los Angeles in previous Tower Site of the Week stories, most notably the 2006 installment that looked at the site in Montecito Hills where KRKD moved in 1948.
These towers in downtown Los Angeles went up in 1932 when the former KMCS moved to the Spring Arcade Building and took new calls reflecting its new home - "K-Arcade." LA radio historian Jim Hilliker shares the story of how the new towers" dedication was marked with a tightrope walker striding from tower to tower along the flat-top antenna wires that were strung between them. KRKD was never a fulltime operation on 1120/1150 here; it shared time with KFSG at Aimee Semple McPherson"s Foursquare Gospel Church, and several sources inaccurately mingle the two stations" histories, claiming that McPherson broadcast her fiery sermons from these towers. (She didn"t; those came from KFSG"s own antenna at the Angelus Temple.)
Amazingly, KRKD only operated from the twin towers atop the Spring Arcade Building for a few years. By the mid-1930s, Hilliker notes that KRKD had relocated its transmitter to the Angelus Temple in Echo Park, where it was able to boost power from 500 watts to 2500 watts, on the way to a 5000-watt power level from Montecito Heights in 1948. But the short-lived Spring Arcade towers stayed in place after KRKD left, and they"ve been there ever since, proudly proclaiming a callsign that hasn"t been heard in Los Angeles since the early 1970s.
The neighborhood has changed pretty dramatically in recent years: it"s now a fairly hip urban residential area, and the Spring Arcade Building itself is now full of high-end apartments whose owners probably have no idea what those things atop the building are there for.
(The old KRKD site here nearly got a second life on AM a few years back when Multicultural Broadcasting tried to move KYPA 1230 here from its own historic site just west of downtown LA; it didn"t work well, and KYPA is now operating from the KBLA 1580 site above Dodger Stadium.)
And we close this installment in the Baldwin Hills, up in the hills amidst the oil derricks on the West Side. One of the sites up here we"d seen several times in the past, though we"d never featured it here: KTYM (1460 Inglewood) runs 5 kW by day and 500 watts at night from the two towers shown above right in the southern California dusk; mounted on one of the AM towers is the FM antenna for Univision"s KRCD (103.9 Inglewood), while an auxiliary antenna for KLAX (97.9) is on the other tower. The other tower up here is much newer: KDAY (93.5 Redondo Beach) used to transmit from the Baldwin Hills, then moved in the 1990s to the KNX (1070) tower down in Torrance - and then in 2009 it moved back up here to a new tower near the KTYM/KRCD site, where it"s one of the better west-side class A signals - and indeed, one of the better class A signals anywhere in the country, measured by the population it covers.
Don"t miss your chance to order the all-new Tower Site Calendar 2012, available now from the all new Fybush.com store!
And check out our sister site, Tophour.com, beginning Wednesday, February 22, for still more LA legal IDs...
Next week: The Inland Empire and High Desert, 2010