KGA, KREM, etc. from Moran Prairie
4102 South Regal Street.
SUMMARY This site, across the street from KHQ's Moran Prairie in the 4100 block of South Regal Street, has had two antenna configurations. The first one was used by KGA from 1942 to 1948, when Louis Wasmer moved KGA from the Lidgerwood site in North Spokane. The second configuration is the one presently in use and was first used by KREM in 1948. We will take a closer look at these two configurations below.
KGA's Use of This Site
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 prefunctory construction permit testing period, the station was officially licensed to broadcasst on 1510 from this site on 15 July 1942.
According to Albert Kern 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 an 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.
Ed Antosyn's Account of KREM on Moran Prairie
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 800-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 800-foot tall tower on Tower Mountain."
Location KGA and KREM's Tower
With the aid of Tom Read of the American Pioneer Broadcasters, www.apb.org, and of FCC records, we have determined that the shorter of the two towers currently used by the station on 970 kHz (KTTO as of this writing), was also used by KGA. As far as can be determined, KREM initially used both 300-foot towers that were licensed to KGA. One of the towers was moved to a point near the south boundary of the property in order to fit KREM's antenna pattern, and the other one was located near where the current 700 foot tower is located, and was not moved. After sometime, KREM's owners decided to raise the power to 5,000 watts and at the same time erect the current 700-foot tower next to the other 300-foot tower. That tower was razed and its pedastal is still visible on the site. According to Tom, a pedastal for another tower, the one that was moved to the southern part of the property, is located closer to KHQ. A sketch of where the towers have been positioned is available below. Just click on the thumbnails.
View of studio office building in 1954. (Photo by Libby Photography, Spokane Washington. Used by permission of the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture/Eastern Washington State Historical Society, Spokane, Washington.)
Photo of KREM studio circa 1975 with the bottom portion of KREM's two towers can be seen in the background. Also, Tower Mountain with two towers can be seen in the background. (Photo taken by John Johnson, courtesy of www.johninmontana.com
This is a photo from the KREM construction permit packet filed with the FCC by Cole E. Wylie in the late 1940's. On the left you can see KHQ's tower. On the right you can see KGA's two tower array. If you look closely, you can see the towers on which the transmission line run across the street from the transmitter building to KGA's towers.
- 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 and July 2007.
Compiled and edited by Bill Harms - updated 26 May 2007