The Original KXL-FM message board: Portland Radio History: The Original KXL-FM
Author: Craig_adams
Wednesday, February 18, 2009 - 4:50 am
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On February 23, 1945 KXL Broadcasters, consisting of: Frances R. Symons, President; Edmund B. Craney, Vice-President; Howard S. Jacobson, Secretary-Treasurer & General Manager began the filing process for a new FM station in Portland, Oreg., seeking 95 Megacycles, broadcasting unlimited hours with a coverage of 9,710 square miles. The transmitter site would on Mt. Scott. At the time, no station was broadcasting from that location. The proposed 100 foot self-supporting tower and 64 foot "Lingo six-bay horizontal turnstile" would make the overall structure 164 feet. A 10kw transmitter was planned, supplying the antenna with 9.6kw and an effective radiated power of 40.8kw. KXL Broadcasters proposed 50kw if the FCC found the 40.8kw not adequate to serve Portland.

On May 18, 1945 the FCC received KXL Broadcasters application and issued it file number: B5-PH-502 on May 25, 1945. On June 23, 1945 the FCC placed the application in the pending file, pursuant to FCC policy of February 23, 1943. Here is the standard letter mailed to all FM applicants during WWII:

Washington, D. C.; Serial No. 71; February 23, 1943

The Commission has decided that because of great shortages in material, equipment and skilled personnel, and in order to sustain the interest in high frequency (FM) broadcasting, it will not dismiss or deny applications which cannot qualify under the provisions of the Memorandum Opinion of April 27, 1942, for construction permits or for modification of construction permits requesting extension of the periods of construction for high frequency (FM) broadcast stations, but instead will take no action at this time upon such applications.

Permittees or applicants for construction permits for high frequency (FM) broadcast stations whose construction permits or applications were surrendered or dismissed pursuant to the Memorandum Opinion of April 27, 1942, may request reinstatement of their applications.

This policy is in addition to the policy announced August 4, 1942, which provided for the issuance of licenses for high frequency (FM) broadcast stations during the war provided construction has reached a point where substantial service can be rendered.

Similar policy has been adopted with respect to television stations.

T. J. Slowie,

On October 19, 1945 the FCC "Conditionally Granted" KXL Broadcasters a "Construction Permit" for a new metropolitan, possibly rural FM broadcast station in Portland, Oregon. KXL had requested "rural". On April 10, 1946 the FCC assigned the station call letters "KXL-FM"; Class: Rural, on 96.5 Megacycles with 39.9kw; Antenna height 952 feet above average terrain; Tower 164 feet above ground. On April 13, 1946 KXL Broadcasters was one of four Portland AM stations announcing in The Oregonian, the intent of building an FM station.

On June 19, 1946 KXL Broadcasters proposed an idea to KALE, Inc. for joint operation of dual broadcast facilities on Mt. Scott. KALE was in the planning stages of moving from the KOIN transmitter site at Sylvan. KALE was not interested in this plan. On August 5, 1946 Federal Telephone & Radio Corp. sent KXL Broadcasters a quotation price for a "164 foot International Derrick Self-supporting Steel Tower designed to support the Federal Square Loop Antenna including CAA lighting" $4,462. "Erection of above including the necessary foundations and tower lighting" $3,950.

On January 21, 1947 KXL Broadcasters announced to the FCC plans to purchase a REL 250 watt FM transmitter for testing with a 3 Bay turnstile antenna. KXL-FM would begin as a mobile station with FCC permission. The transmitter would be operated from a truck. The transmitter laying on its side. A 22 foot aluminum mast would require only a limited crew to erect. A station wagon would be equipped with an REL receiver to determine if multi-path signals were predominant in a particular terrain. The FM receiver station wagon would be tested in rural locations, including the side of Mt. Hood.

On February 4, 1947 KXL Broadcasters placed an order with Radio Engineering Laboratories, Inc., Long Island City, N.Y. for a REL transmitter and 3 Bay Antenna made in two 12 foot sections which would make an antenna 22 feet high when put together. Also two additional sections that could be placed under this antenna to raise it another 22 feet. Ed Craney to REL "We intend to use this transmitter lying on its side, as you indicated it could be operated and will mount it in a truck. We are telling you this because some changes will probably have to be made in the crystal mounting and rectifier tub mounting. If you can give us any suggestions as to the securing of the transmitter to the truck, we will greatly appreciate it. If any special mountings could be secured from you to let the transmitter rest on sponge rubber so as to protect it as much as possible, we would like to have such mountings if available."

On February 18, 1947 the FCC granted KXL Broadcasters authorization for making site tests. On March 19, 1947 Ed Craney requested REL to equip the transmitter with a transformer and a tap on primary so it could operate on 110 volts as this was the voltage of the generator. On May 13, 1947 REL shipped the order which included one "REL model 549( )-DL, 250 Watt Frequency-Modulated Broadcast Transmitter, using the Armstrong Dual Channel Direct Crystal Controlled Modulator." (manual 5-1-46). Complete with 2 sets of tubes and 1 set of crystals. Serial #7099 for $4,700.00. One REL model 642 Three Bay Antenna plus REL model 689 Special Mounting. $950.00. One REL model 643 Pre-Emphasis Unit. $125.00. Two 100 foot transmission lines (open) #8 copper wire and 50 three inch spreader insulators. $30.00. Total: $5,805.00.

There is only speculation KXL-FM did test broadcasting on 96.5mc in the Summer and Fall of 1947. In an FCC letter dated February 17, 1948 to KXL Broadcasters, the FCC does make reference to testing in 1947: "Although the Commission authorized the issuance of a construction permit on April 10, 1946, the permit has never been issued due to your desire to make tests to determine the best site for the station. It is understood that, while considerable measurement work has been done, it was desired to make further test in the area. In view of the time that has elapsed, the Commission desires to know whether such tests have been completed, or, if not, present plans concerning them. The Commission desires to issue a construction permit for your station as soon as practicable. If regular operation cannot begin in the near future, please advise the Commission concerning the practicability of interim operation."

In a reply letter to the FCC on March 19, 1948 KXL Broadcasters stated: Interim operation of the FM station pending final construction is not feasible for the reason that the FM transmitter to be used by KXL-FM is the one which will be used in the tests to be commenced around April 15, weather permitting. Moreover, the AM transmitter of KXL is located on low ground--too low for proper use in this area of the FM transmitter. The plans are to take the antenna to the top of the mountain (Larch Mtn.) for the purposes of conducting the tests. During the testing period it is the desire of the station to duplicate KXL's program service from the test location."

Author: Craig_adams
Wednesday, February 18, 2009 - 4:50 am
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On April 1, 1948 the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture - Forest Service - Mount Hood National Forest - Portland; gave KXL-FM authority to park its station truck in the vicinity of the Larch Mountain fire lookout tower. The period granted was approximately two weeks, during April or May, for its required experimental work. No occupancy of buildings or structures were authorized and no trimming or cutting of trees was permitted. On April 8, 1948 KXL Broadcasters wrote FCC "that the roads to the test site on Larch Mountain will probably not be open until May 1 or after because of snow conditions. Please be assured that tests will be commenced just as soon as weather conditions permit."

On May 4, 1948 the Dept. of Commerce - Civil Aeronautics Administration - Seattle; informally approved KXL-FM's construction of "One tower, 155 feet above ground level and 1247 feet above mean sea level. Geographical location: Latitude 45 - 27' - 16" North and Longitude 122 - 33' - 04" West." On May 21, 1948 KXL Broadcasters sent a telegram message to the FCC "We wish to continue with KXL-FM site tests shortly." On May 26, 1948 KXL Broadcasters sent yet another telegram message stating "KPFM agrees to and no objection to operation of KXL-FM on 96.5 Mc for this test." Since KXL-FM didn't not act on its construction permit, the experimental station was still assigned to its original "Conditionally Granted" frequency which was now very close to KPFM's new 97.1 Mc assignment.

On June 30, 1948 KXL-FM most likely began conducting test broadcasts from Larch Mountain with its experimental mobile station. This is verified in a reception report letter:

July 1, 1948
Radio Station KXL

Dear Sir:

When do you expect to have KXL-F.M. on the air? I received an A.M.-F.M. radio as a gift in November and I am constantly listening to it. When I first got my radio I heard your F.M. rather very often and then it was off from about December until yesterday I heard it again. Would you be so kind to write and inform me of this because KXL is my favorite station to listen to for real enjoyment but I prefer F.M. to A.M. so that is my question.

Sincerely yours,

Michael Leahy
2944 S.W. Montgomery Drive
Portland, Oregon

As you read in the letter, Mr. Leahy stated that he had heard KXL-FM as early as November 1947. At the time KPFM was already broadcasting on its new 97.1 Mc. assignment. KPFM began on this channel June 22, 1947 moving from 94.9 Mc. I found no KXL telegrams or letters asking KPFM for permission to broadcast in 1947. And nothing sent to the FCC announcing KXL-FM was experimentally broadcasting anywhere. This leads me to believe Mr. Leahy might have mis-identified KXL-FM in fall 1947 for KGW-FM, KPFM or KPRA, all of which changed frequencies during the period, further confusing station identities on the dial. We'll probably never be able to answer this question. I concentrated my newspaper microfilm research on October/November 1947 as well as late June and early July 1948 for any announcements or reports of hearing KXL-FM. Nothing was found.

On July 6, 1948 KXL Broadcasters responded:

Dear Mr. Leahy:

At the present time we have an FM experimental station. We have been conducting some extended experimental surveys in this field and probably will be ready to build our station sometime this fall. I am glad to hear that you listen to KXL as it is always gratifying to know that we are making new friends and listeners.

Yours very truly,

H.S. Jacobson,
General Manager

At the time of the KXL-FM broadcasts, Ralph C. Mifflin was Chief Technician with Paul J. Robinson, Program Manager; Bob Roberts, News Director; Reuben "Rudy" H. Lachenmeier, Sports Editor & Benjamin "Ben" Buisman, Farm Editor. On December 1, 1948 Ed Craney wrote to the law offices of KXL Broadcasters representatives in Washington. (Burton K. Wheeler & Edward K. Wheeler).

Ed Wheeler
Wheeler & Wheeler
704 Southern Building
Washington 5, D. C.

Dear Ed:

I had expected to get this material back to you before now but haven't had it available until today. You will find the material enclosed which gives our expenditures on the FM surveys.

We must point out in the letter we write asking for dismissal of the KXL-FM CP that the information on 3 surveys in the Portland area has been made available to the Commission. We must point out that in that area the irregular terrain makes reception of FM signals somewhat doubtful in some sections, that two stations have been in operation for 2 1/2 years and that the Hooper breakdown of FM listeners shows but few people interested in FM in that area. We must quote Carr on possible receiver instability being the cause of this. We should thank the Commission for allowing the tests. We should show that because of terrain there are many places within the present KXL 500 mm/v area where the FM signals were not satisfactory or not received at all. We must call attention to the fact that KXL is a limited time station and with income limited from this operation and rising operating cost that it is doubtful if we could place into operation and operate a station for a continued period of time on present AM profits.

On Spokane, there was no FM CP asked for. We should point out that we have made available to the Commission the two surveys made. We should thank them for allowing the survey and should tell them that the information gained may be used at a later date for both an FM and a TV application.

Please send me a copy of your letter to Butte and Spokane and a copy of it to Jacobson at KXL so it may complete our KXL-FM file.

Best regards,
Ed Craney

On December 29, 1948 the FCC deleted the construction permit and call letters KXL-FM. On June 29, 1949 Ed Craney wrote to Frank A. Gunther at Radio Engineering Laboratories where the transmitter was obtained. The firm purchased it back. Craney reported the transmitter "has not run but 700 hours" and reported the equipment "in good shape".

Special Thanks to Mike Everhart & Larry Wilson. Without them, this entire story would've been lost in time. This radio history comes directly from the KXL Archived files.

Author: Tombrooks
Saturday, February 21, 2009 - 9:53 pm
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Interesting about KXL-FM.

It would also be interesting to know when did the KXL-FM change to the frequency of 95.5 FM?

Also, the ownership of the station being bought by Kaye-Smith Enterprises (The owners of KXL-Am for many years. (Kaye as in Danny Kaye the actor/Singer/dancer)

I was working there (KXL AM-FM) in the early 80's and I believe they were celebrating their 50 year birthday...(John Salisbury was just a god at the station too - what a memory he had)

I can still remember the 15 minute sigments .. "Welcome to KXL-FM beautiful music 24 hours a day, The place to relax...(As the elevator goes up or down - or dental chair take your pick) I may chuckle but KXL-FM ruled the market in Portland for many years - ratings far out did the KXL-Am side..

Author: Craig_adams
Saturday, February 21, 2009 - 11:24 pm
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Tom: You're new to the board and missed my KXL history which was posted last November. I've brought it to the top of the "Portland Radio" board. So don't click on "Last Day". Click on "Portland Radio" and you should see the thread titled: KXL - The Voice of Portland.

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