Back in the day, mid-60’s, KJR’s market share approached 35% with their top-40 format. Today that kind of market share is unheard of for a music station. KJR is an AM Seattle station on 950 KHz. Today it is a sports radio format.
The Internet, cable, satellite, podcasts, all competing have resulted in a degree of specialization that did not exist 40-50 years ago and really has killed broadcasting and replaced it with narrowcasting. It’s not the same now when you listen and you know the experience is shared by only a few that share your interests.
There was magic in those days when there were a good number of clear channels where a station just went forever. KJR didn’t have the power that clear channel stations had, they ran 5Kw directional at night, but they still were widely heard. Part of the reason is that they had their antenna on Harbor Island, which was just a few feet above sea-level in a salt-water area so ground conductivity was excellent.
When I was a teenager (40 years ago), I ran a bootleg radio station and used to go down to KJR to scrounge old equipment which was often given to us or sold for almost nothing. The folks there were very nice. The engineers let me sit in on proof of performance testing, actually at KISW, which helped me to learn what was involved as I was working towards a 1st phone at the time.
Most music format stations have moved to FM, and most clear channels got turned into minority stations, and digital has created so much hash from the powerful stations that weaker adjacent stations are lost in the hash. The magic is gone, the fun is gone, it’s a lost era.
After threats and gunfire and other assorted bad things happening, Art Bell has once again called it quits and is ending his broadcast.
Wish I could say I was surprised but I am sad none the less. I do understand that his family is at risk and I understand why he needs to do this. However, if I were in his shoes I think I’d move back to the Philippines, he’s always expressed that he enjoyed living in Asia, and broadcast from there.
I’m sure the Coast to Coast folks are jumping for joy. They’re back to not having any real competition once again.
Today, December 11th, 2015, is his last broadcast.
I’ve added a link in the side bar to the KRAB archive at http://www.krab.fm/. This was provided by a comment to an earlier post.
The archives main page features an excellent color picture of KRAB from the street (Roosevelt). I used to live about two blocks from this. Glad that some aspects have been preserved.
The FCC defines profane material as “including language so grossly offensive to members of the public who actually hear it as to amount to a nuisance.” Like indecency, profane speech is prohibited on broadcast radio and television between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.
This ought to keep Rush Limbaugh off the air during those hours.
Here is a section of the old tower with a ton of stuff mounted on it. I can see at least a dozen cell antennas, a bunch of microwave dishes, vertical UHF and VHF antennas (look like police and/or fire stuff), and various others. While they’re not still broadcasting from this tower (though it is my understanding it can serve as a backup for KCMS), they’re sure making good use of it.
I ran across this very excellent article on the history of KRAB radio, written by Jack Caldbick, and thought I’d share it. I grew up two blocks from this station and spent quite a lot of time there in my youth. I’m really sorry it didn’t survive as it was a quintessential representation of radio counter-culture and a significant contribution to the community.
This is the old tower where KCIS, formerly known as KGDN 630AM, and KCMS formerly KBIQ 105.3 FM, used to transmit from at the Kings Garden campus, part of Crista Ministries, in now Shoreline Washington.
In the early 1970’s, KBIQ was one of the most powerful FM stations on the West Coast, transmitting with an effective radiated power of 240Kw. Now they are transmitting from cougar mountain with a mere 54Kw.
The AM station used to be daytime only, and that massive tower had a seemingly small (compared to the tower) ceramic insulator at the base supporting all that weight but insulating it so that it could serve as an AM transmitting antenna as well as a tower for the FM antennas.
I do not know if the insulator is still there. It can no longer serve as an AM antenna because a directional array was required to protect other stations at night. I wasn’t able to find a public vantage point where I could see the base of the antenna anymore. And they have a plethora of other antennas on the tower that didn’t used to be there, cellular antennas, microwave antennas, and others.
KCIS 630, a Seattle area radio station operated by Crista Ministries, has been operating with a directional array at night to allow them to operate at high power by protecting another station that they otherwise would interfere with.
When I was young, they used to be a Daytime only station, and then for a while they were operating with a very low power at night from their location in Shoreline, and then they got their directional array and were able to operate at high power at night.
God used this station, through their ministry, to provide me a great deal of comfort during some troubled times of my life and I’m sure he uses it to help many others.
One tower in their AM directional array was destroyed in the unusual late August windstorm we had this year. I’m a believer in God, the Bible, and in Romans 8:28, but it is hard for me sometimes to see how something like this can be used for the good of anyone.
Click on the image to see their article on the KCIS station blog. This structure was only partially insured. They need your help to pay for the uncovered portion of the repair expenses. You can help them by donating here: https://donate.crista.org/kcis.
Listening to Art Bell tonight and he related an incident where he heard his own 80 meter signal come back 3-4 seconds after transmitting. While the distance to the moon and back is about right for that, generally moon bounce requires full legal powers, high gain antennas and frequencies much higher so that they penetrate the ionosphere, and even then voice is almost impossible, only narrow band Morse code which is very narrow bandwidth, is generally usable. More over, the echo was a 20db over S9 signal not just above the noise threshold barely as you would expect with moon bounce.
He tuned his transmitter up and down to make sure it wasn’t just someone sending it back to him somehow and it followed.
I have also experienced this phenomena, but not as long of a delay and on 1200 Khz. Back before 1210 Khz was in local use, I operated a pirate radio station on 1200 Khz, this was back in the mid 1970’s. I had a radio to monitor our transmission in the studio. One night when I signed off I heard the last second or so of our transmission after I cut the transmitter power. A second at the speed of light is 186,000 miles, we were lucky if our signal reached 20 miles.
I have read of many accounts of this phenomena, some with delays as long as 15 seconds. I’ve yet to read a reasonable explanation. The Wikipedia contains five theories, but none of them seem to account reasonably for the typically very strong signal strength of these echoes.
I’m fascinated by these because I wonder if they aren’t tickling a much more exotic phenomena such as portals or some oddness in time. All the theories given on the Wikipedia don’t seem to account for the signal strength of some of these phenomena.
All of the incidents I’ve heard of have been relatively low frequency, 80 meter, 160 meter, AM broadcast band, but the Wikipedia documents cases at 432 Mhz and 1296 Mhz.
Having been interested in TV and radio DXing for many years, I will note that there are many rare but interesting forms of propagation. Even at optical frequencies interesting things occur. One of the photos I use in my headers has a ship floating up in the sky. Obviously the ship wasn’t really in the sky but differences in the density of the air bent the light reflection to make it appear so. The same things and many others happen at radio frequencies. So it might be something ordinary but at present unknown. I find it fascinating none the less.
Today I heard one of the new low power FM stations while driving, “The Voice of Vashon”, on 101.9. It had adequate signal to listen to except for interference from another station on the same frequency even though I was in Shoreline, probably 25 miles north north-east of Vashon.
I wasn’t able to identify the other station. The program material that was on was all in Russian and I don’t speak Russian.
The station sounded reasonably well run, good audio, announcing, no dead air, and the signal was usable even out in Shoreline.