Monday, July 2, 2007

FM Chronology - Part 4 - KTRH-FM

Note: This article was originally published as an Anniversary titled 60 Years on 101.1.

A Construction Permit was issued by the FCC on August 2, 1946, for KTRH-FM to operate on 99.3 megacycles with 290 kilowatts from an antenna on the Gulf Building, Houston's tallest building, at the corner of Main and Rusk. Construction was due to start in 90 days and B.F. Orr, General Manager of KTRH, said it should be completed in 6 months and be the first FM in Houston.

It was either the 3rd or 4th CP issued for a Houston FM and it would take 11 months to get on the air. In the interim there were some changes in the original assignment, apparently. It would be Houston's third FM station.

‘Static Free’ KTRH-FM took to the airwaves on Monday, June 30, 1947. ‘What DDT does to pests, FM does to static’ proclaimed the first line of the Chronicle’s front page story on Sunday, June 29, going on to explain ‘when static comes squeaking into the path of FM, it just naturally curls up and dies.’ Freedom from static was one of the big selling points of FM, before high fidelity and stereo.

The station was on the air from 2pm to 10pm daily; that was longer than either KPRC-FM or KOPY which were both on the air 6 hours a day at that time. It operated on 101.1 megacycles, FM channel 266, with 3000 watts, and was the most powerful FM in Houston at that point. London T. England was supervisor of the FM operation which was located on the 34th floor of the Gulf Building with the antenna on top of the building, a square loop, 5 bay antenna, 480 feet high. There were estimated to be only about 3500 FM receivers within the 50 mile radius to be served by the station.

FM Listings were included for the first time in the Chronicle on the 30th for KTRH-FM, KPRC-FM, and KOPY. Some programs were duplicates of KTRH-AM, including some CBS network programs, while others were FM only, including an FM Concert Hall, Dance Parade and Music for Dreaming.

KTRH-FM became KLOL-FM in August of 1970 and still uses those call letters as Mega; it is the next best candidate after KODA-FM for oldest surviving Houston FM.

The images are from archives of the Houston Chronicle at the Houston Public Library. The top image is from Sunday, June 29, 1947, the second image from the next day. I apologize again for the poor quality of these images taken from microfilms.

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