Friday, November 12, 2010

FM Chronology - The 1960s Part III - KBNO-FM, KAJC-FM, KWHI-FM, KLEF-FM

Broadcasting Yearbook gives January 1, 1964, for the launch of KBNO-FM at 93.7 mc but the station got on the air a couple of weeks before that. A story in the Chronicle on December 7th reported that the station expected to get on the air between the 10th and 15th. It was to operate 24 hours a day from studios on the 34th floor of the Gulf Building playing ‘popular music and show tunes,’ according to General Manager Dick Kenyon. The owners were Independent Music Broadcasters of Ohio which also held the license for WDBN-FM, Cleveland/ Akron. The Chronicle was publishing radio listings only sporadically; there were none published from the 10th of December through the 20th but on the 21st , KBNO-FM appeared in the paper’s listings for FM stations. According to a feature article in the Post in 1981 on the meanings of Houston call letters, at one time a listener contest on KBNO came up with the phrase Keep Beatle Noise Off as a slogan for the station but by the fall of 1971, KBNO-FM became KRLY-FM, a Top 40 station. The station was very successful for most of the decade but started slipping in the early 80s and by mid 1981 was identifying as Love 94 FM. Then as of March 20, 1984, it became KLTR-FM, K-Lite, a lite rock station, and flipped again as of December 20, 1993, to become KKRW, the Arrow, a Classic Rock station. As of January 15, 2014, the calls were changed to KQBT.   (For more on format changes on this station see the comments section below).

The Chronicle reported on Sunday, January 26, 1964, that KAJC-FM had begun broadcasting the previous day at 102.1 mc. It has been claimed that this station was previouly licensed to Alvin Junior College as KAJC-FM and operated at 102.3 mc and was bought by some employees of NASA but the Chronicle article made no mention of the previous operation and referred to it as a new station calling itself ‘The Voice of Spaceland.’ It was to operate 24 hours a day with ‘popular, semi-classical, and semi-jazz music and news.’ Jeff Thompson, fomerly of KXYZ was the Manager. Broadcasting Yearbook gives the launch of the station as February 1, 1964. The City of License was Clear Lake.

The station later changed call letters to KMSC-FM, which stood for ‘Manned Spacecraft Center.’ KMSC-FM later became KLYX-FM, ‘Klicks, The Music Station,’ and moved its studios to a motel on the Southwest Freeway at Buffalo Speedway in Houston. It featured an adult soft rock format and was automated in 1974. KLYX-FM was then briefly a news station. From 1975 to early 1977 it carried an NBC 24 hour news and information service but the network did not last. As of 3pm, Friday, February 25th, 1977, KMJQ-FM, "Majic 102" was born on this frequency and it has retained those calls and been a major factor in the ratings ever since.

According to Broadcasting Yearbook on September 15, 1964, KWHI-FM, Brenham, signed on at 106.3 mc. The station ran small ads in the Chronicle for some time advising it was ‘Now on the Air’ from 5pm to 11pm daily.  For more on this station and it's sister AM, go here.

On the 21st of October, 1964, Houston got another Classical music outlet when KLEF-FM took to the airwaves at 94.5 mc. This frequency had been occupied since late 1960 by KARO-FM but it’s not clear if KARO-FM had been on the air continuously since its launch or if it was on the air at the time of the switchover. Houston based Apollo Broadcasting was the owner of the new station; they also owned KRBG-FM, San Francisco and had an application for an FM in St. Louis. The station was to be full-time in stereo (18 hours a day) from a transmitter atop the Tennessee building putting out 45,000 watts. Roland Schmidt was the Manager; he had previously worked for both KODA-FM and KTRH-FM, both of which had regularly scheduled classical music programs. The program director was Ray Landers and the Chief Engineer was Bert Adkins. Broadcasting Yearbook gives the launch of the station as 11/1/64.

KLEF-FM continued as a full time Classical music station until March of 1986 when it flipped to KJYY, ‘Joy FM,’ which lasted until April, 1988. KLDE-FM, an oldies station, was born on that date. The music library of KLEF-FM was donated to the University of Houston station, KUHF-FM. On July 18, 2000, KLDE switched frequencies with co-owned KTBZ-FM, moving to 107.5 while The Buzz took over 94.5.

The same week that KJYY-FM launched, KIKK-AM moved into a new 2 story facility in Pasadena.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Day in the Life -

- of a Houston radio listener, Friday, June 30, 1961, and Saturday, July 1, 1961, from the Chronicle and Post. The Chronicle was an afternoon paper at that time, hence the day's listings begin at mid-afternoon.

The same page of the Chronicle carried a brief announcement that the next day, Saturday. July 1, KHGM-FM, 99.1, would switch call letters to KODA-FM. President Paul Taft explained it was just the first step in an expansion that would bring a new AM station to Houston in a few weeks, KODA-AM, at 1010 kc.

By this time the Post was running only abbreviated radio listings. As the decade wore on and TV continued its ascendancy as the primary home entertainment medium, the Chronicle would follow suit. Both papers eventually would offer only very brief mentions of developments in radio, sometimes not for days or weeks after the fact.