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.


Rage said...

This isn't making sense to me.. how did KLEF launch in 1964 if KARO had occupied in the late 60s?

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.

Bruce said...

It says late 1960, not late 1960s. KARO launched in October, 1960. See the FM Chronology - 1960s - Part III.

Anonymous said...

I began my radio career on KBNO in 1970. It was automated at the time. However, Johnny Goyen had a live morning drive show on the weekdays and a live oldies show on Saturday nights. I did a newscast on the all-night gig until the station went live in 1971. I becane the 7pm-midight jock at some point. The station changed call letter to KRLY and moved to Westheimer, in the same building as TV station Channel 36. I moved on to WFUN in Miami for about a year, then returned to the 7-12 spot again at KRLY for anoth year or so before moving on to San Antonio. During this second stint the other jocks were Ray Cooper, Ron Foster, Rod Tanner, and a jock named Captain Nasty. Great times in radio back then. Sorry to hear it's changed. Thanks!! Bob Allen.

Anonymous said...

KRLY became Y-94 (AOR), Disco 94, then KRLY94, one of the first top 40/urban hybrid stations under PD Michael Jones. When KMJQ got their s--t together and basically copied KRLY's approach, they successfully stole the urban listenership back from KRLY. Then came the change to "Love 94" which gave KMJQ fits until new owners Gulf decided they didn't want a black radio station and launched "K-Lite," KLTR, which was successful for a while. Eventually K-Lite gave way to Classic Rock KKRW.

Anonymous said...

I believe KBNO was one of the earliest automated stations in Houston. The syndicated format, broadcast from tapes, was called Hit Parade. The automation was paused for live shows at drive times. The tapes were of dubious quality and the music mix safe and ineffectual, in contrast to the more dynamic and personable live shows.

Management at KBNO became convinced, so I was told, that the letters "NO" turned off listeners. Thus it became the rock screamer KRLY. Houston engineer Glen English developed the station's own studio furniture and audio. I remember distinctly that the main console had no pots (volume controls) on it at all, as management did not want DJs adjusting volume. Their only way to talk over record intros was to yell.

Aimee Siegler said...

My dad was the GM at KRLY when Michael Jones was the PD. While he was there, Billy White Shoes Johnson guest deejayed and for a period it was the top disco station in the country. When we first moved their the format was Album Rock (Y-94). I remember riding in a KRLY car in the rodeo before Casey and the Sunshine Band performed. I remember the armadillo mascot. My dad also was on the board at the Leukemia Society, and the station hosted the first Gello Jump to raise money for the cause - this was the first in the country - they later held them elsewhere. They also hosted the Outrageous Contest - the winner one year shaved her head and did a manure hairdo then sang I feel pretty. I have lots of great memories of helping in the office when I was in elementary and middle school.

susancanshoot2 said...

Aimee- What is your dad's name?
Anonynous- We need to talk, perhaps we already have. I need to fill in some blanks

Susan Anderson

Bob Allen, not the TV sportscaster said...

I was one of the original DJs on KBNO went it went live, 24 hours a day. When Robert Anderson bought the station it changed callers to KRLY. I was the 7pm-midnight DJ, with Danny O'Brien as the program director at the time. What great memories of that era in Houston radio.

Jim Hanold said...

As a former resident of-and radio listener in Houston, Texas-I found out-via "frequency surfing"-that 93.7 FM had changed its music format from "urban contemporary" KRLY
to "Light Rock" KLTR.

I frequently listened to "K-Lite" from March, 1984-when I was a senior in high school-until Sunday, March 26'th, 1989-when I left Houston to live in the San Francisco Bay Area.

I audio cassette-recorded some of the "K-Lite" radio broadcasts.

I have many happy, joyful, sweet, pleasant memories of listening to 93.7 FM. :)

Thank you!

Jim Hanold

Phil said...

This is a great blog. Does anyone know what happened to Ron Foster? The last I heard of him was in the early 90's when he spun Oldies at Satellite Music Network in Dallas. I ran the board for his show at a AM station in So Cal and liked his style. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Do I remember correctly that KRLY abruptly changed to Tejano station around 1977? What happened to Rod Tanner?

susancanshoot2 said...

I do not remember the station changing to Tejano.
Rod Tanner is in Houston

Scott said...

In the mid 1980s, I was acquainted with a long-time KLEF DJ named Mark, from Galveston. He was/is a very nice, friendly, intelligent and humorous guy. 20 years later, I ran into him in San Antonio. He had a classic, deep "radio voice" and he would crack us up all the time when he would shift into it.

Christopher G said...

I lived in Houston in 1981/82 I remember Steve Harris who was a DJ here at wgci in chicago taking over as PD in late 81,he brought a lot the same format that they had here at gci. I listen to Love94 mostly at that time. I remember their slogan tomorrow's hits today. Does anyone have info on that time period from 82-84? how were their ratings during that time?

Jeremy Cooper said...

Hello! I'm an audio engineer with the Apollo In Realtime project. Did you know that NASA mission controllers regularly listened to KBNO during some of the Apollo missions to the moon? Here's a snippet of KBNO that was recorded on voice loop line during the Apollo 13 mission at 3:59AM Central Time, April 10, 1970.

Bruce said...

Hi Jeremy - thanks for this! I couldn't get the link to work for some reason ("Host problem") but just pulled up and eventually the link pulled up. Found "KV no" mentioned in the transcript but couldn't get the audio to show up. Will keep trying but wanted to post this so others can be checking, too. Complicated website! As I understand the link, this is minus 32 hours, so the ship is still on the ground?

Thanks, Bruce