The Doerr-Mitchell Electric Company applied for a license to broadcast in early 1922 and received one for a station with the callsign KFZ from the Department of Commerce (DOC) on 23 March 1922, making it the first licensed broadcast station in Spokane. Doerr-Mitchell renewed KFZ's license four times for this location. The frequency was 833 kHz and the license says the station was authorized to broadcast entertainment. The station's operator was Frank Hubbard. The transmitter was located on Spokane's South Hill at 1514 West 9th Avenue. Sometime around 18 May 1923, the station moved Downtown Spokane and was jointly licensed with Pacific Telegraph Institute. For more information about the downtown site, click here)
View of Irish Home after renovations.
(© philcobill.com, 26 August 2008)
Description of Transmitter and Antenna
The transmitter described on the applications was a Heising modulating 5-watt radiophone. However, someone crossed this out on all but the first application and annotated "composite vacuum tube radiotelephone" above it. The antenna was described as an inverted "L" using six strands of wire each 120 feet long and were spaced three feet apart. The horizontal portion of the antenna was 40 to 50 feet above the ground and was stretched between two towers made of wood. The vertical portion was 50 feet long. The counterpoise was not described.
In the Early Days of Radio in Spokane, Russ Irish, whose father worked for Doerr-Mitchell, suggested that the KFZ's equipment were originally from a station located at 621 West Providence Avenue on Spokane's Northside. This station operated before the DOC issued licenses. Click here for more historical accounts of KFZ at this site.)
The house still stands, but a third story was added in 2005 and other renovations were done subsequently. As a result, its status as a historical structure is in jeopardy.
Compiled and edited by Bill Harms - updated 2 October 2008
- Commercial and Government Radio Stations, 30 June 1922, Pages 73-78 Department of Commerce, Washington, DC. Accessed online at www.fcc.gov
- Irish, Russell; Letter to Mr. Carl Partlow, about 1975. Spokane, Washington.
- KFZ Applicant's Description of Apparatus. Department of Commerce application filled out by Frank Hubbard, Spokane, Washington, about March 1922. Reproduced at National Archives. College Park, Maryland.
- KFZ License for Land Station. Radio Service, Bureau of Navigation, Department of Commerce. Washington, DC. 23 March 1922. Reproduced at National Archives. College Park, Maryland.
- KFZ Schedule of Station and Apparatus. Radio Service, Bureau of Navigation, Department of Commerce. Washington, DC. 23 March 1922. Reproduced at National Archives. College Park, Maryland.
- Radio Service Bulletin, 1 May 1922, #61, Pages 19-22 Department of Commerce, Washington, DC. Accessed online at www.fcc.gov
- Yeomans, Linda. Spokane, Washington. August 2008.