KGA - 1510 - 15 July 1942-
KREM and its successors- 970 - 26 Octobet 1950-present
4102 South Regal Street.
This site was first used by KGA 1510 kHz from 1942 to 1948 and later by KREM and its successors on 970 kHz from 1950 to present. The shorter of the two towers currently standing on the site is one of the two original towers used by KGA. The taller tower served as a mount for KREM-FM and KREM-TV when they first came on the air. This tower uses a unique switching system which activates the entire tower for daytime operation and isolates the lower part from the upper part for use in a nighttime directional array. Please see below for further details
KGA's Use of this Site
From the Lidgerwood site on Spokane's Northside, Louis Wasmer moved KGA to this site after it was discovered that the ground conductivity was better on the Moran Prairie than it was at the Lidgerwood Site. The final straw that spurred the move was the Caulkins Field nearby the Lidgerwood site which was putting pressure on Wasmer to remove the remaining 225 foot tower at Lidgerwood. After the perfunctory construction permit testing period,KGA was officially licensed to broadcast on 1510 from this site on 15 July 1942.
According to Albert Kern, an engineer at KGA, in correspondence to T. Jorgenson in 1981, KGA and KHQ shared the same transmitter building. KHQ's tower was on the west side of the street, the same side as the transmitter building. KGA's tower was on the east side of the street, the opposite side of the street from the transmitter building. KGA's transmitter was a 10-kW air-cooled Westinghouse (model unknown) that used 891R tubes to modulate a pair of 892R tubes. The station was directional at night to protect WLAC, Nashville, Tennessee. The two 300-foot high antennas were fed with a four-line open-wire transmission line that ran from the west side of the transmitter building to the north, then east across Regal Street, and further north to where KTTO's (970, ex-KREM) towers are currently located. Kern also related how cleaning the insulators above Regal Street was problematic. By August 1948, KGA had moved to its next home at 6228 South Regal Street.
KREM's Use of This Site
After KGA moved from this site in 1948, Cole E. Wylie saw an opportunity to move KREM to the Moran Prairie. Cole originally applied for 1110 kHz, but changed to 970 kHz after KFAB raised objections due to the possibility of night time interference. Cole came to an agreement with KOIN in Portland also on 970 after he demonstrated that there would be minimal interference to KOIN. After a few months of testing, KREM received its license to transmit on 970 kHz on 26 October 1950. The taller of the two towers still on the sight is a modified Franklin-type.
Ed Antosyn Comments about the Site
Ed Antosyn, longtime radio engineer for several Spokane stations related the following regarding KREM at the Moran Prairie Site:
"KREM first used a 1000-watt RCA transmitter at the Moran Prairie site. Some time later, a 5000-watt Collins 21E transmitter was installed. Robert Silliman designed the antenna system. For daytime operation, a sectional 663-foot guyed steel tower was used. For nighttime operation, a second tower, one quarter-wave in height, was built and a switching system which isolated the higher tower at the quarter-wave point was added." According to Antosyn, "a Harris MW5 5000-watt transmitter replaced the Collins transmitter by 1980, and this transmitter used pulse duration modulation. Originally, the higher tower served as a mount for KREM-FM and KREM-TV before they moved to the 663-foot tall tower on Tower Mountain."
The latter configuration as described by Antosyn above is still in use at the site. The taller tower has been called a modified Franklin toweror simply a Franklin tower. In any event, only a handful of towers in the country use a system to switch between two different heights on the same tower.
KREM's use of KGA's orignal towers
According to Kern, the shorter of the two towers presently used at the site was one of the original two KGA towers. An examination of the FCC license records and field visits by Tom Read of the American Pioneer Broadcasters, www.apb.org when his company operated KTRW and by Ed Atonsyn accompanied by Bill Harms in August 2008 to the site confirm this. When KREM first transmitted from this site in August 1950 with 1000 watts day and night, it used both of KGA towers. The north tower remained in place, but the south tower was moved to its current location in order accomodate a directional array. Later, the north KGA tower was taken down when the current taller tower was built. The remains of this tower are still at the site next to the taller tower. The pedestals of the two original KGA towers are still on the site but not in the original locations. Apparently, someone moved them out of the way.
- Antosyn, Edward. "Radio Station KREM Spokane, Washington." Article written for the "Early Days of Spokane Radio", 1981. Spokane, Washington.
- Kern, Albert. "Early Memories of Radio in Spokane." correspondance to T. Jorgenson 15 February 1981. Spokane, Washington.
- FCC records. Station Application Records. National Archives. Washington, DC. Sent to Bill Harms by Xen Scott.
- Read, Tom, American Pioneer Broadcasters, www.apb.org. Email correspondance to Bill Harms on 26 May 2007.
Compiled and edited by Bill Harms - updated 26 May 2007