Thursday, March 19, 2015

Way Back When

 Some still have an appreciation for the call letters.




















18 comments:

  1. Very cool - I love this kind of nostalgic sh*t :-D Any idea what the date on that form was?

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  2. What's the deal with 50,000 watts? Can any broadcaster "upgrade" to transmit in 50,000 watts? With today's technology does it cost next to nothing compared to back then?

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    1. Signal power is limited to prevent stations on the same frequency from drowning each other out. KGO (as are all three letter call signals) is one of the oldest signals in the U.S. which is why it was given 50k of power. There were a few over the border stations in Mexico with power in the 100k plus range. Wolfman Jack got his start on one of those stations that blasted across a bit chunk o the U.S. at night. It isn't the cost of the energy, it's the limitations of the power you're allowed to operate under.

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    2. Thank you Great historic info! Thank You

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    3. In the old days there were stations like KGO designated as clear channel stations, 50,000 watts and no interfering stations. We had 3 here, KGO, KNBR and the grand daddy, KCBS. You could receive others here at night like KSL and on a good night KMOX.
      Mexico was a different story. In the 60s XERF, Wolfman's original station, blasted 450,000 watts just across the Texas border. XERB in Tijuana was 250,00 and could be heard all the way in Alaska.
      As soon as KFAX, a dawn to dusk, went off the air here XERB came in here as clearly as a local station.

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  3. At least back when it was American Broadcasting - Paramount Theatre, that can give you an idea of the date of that ad.

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    1. It would have had to be 1953 or later. That's when ABC merged with United Paramount Theaters. The theater division was spun off in 1966, so that's a window. As a practical matter, it might have been that the DX card, not exactly a high priority asset, continued to be used for a time after 1966 until they felt the need to reprint them (or just stop printing them altogether, hard to say).

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  4. Those were called DX cards, generally on the back of postcards that stations sent out to listeners who reported picking up a distant transmission (a "DX") of their station. So someone in, say, Washington State or Arizona would write in to KGO to report picking them up on a certain day and time, and the station would respond with a DX card, which these hobbyists would collect like baseball cards. The stations would know that their signal was getting out that far, and perhaps keep a log of where DX reports were received from. The hobby still exists, but it was largely pre-Internet and today it's a very niche activity because of all the atmospheric interference (computers, compact fluorescent lights, LEDs, etc.) and because AM radio is a dying industry. Besides, who really cares that they were able to pick up a distant transmission of Coast-to-Coast when on any given night you can get it locally at a half dozen spots on your AM dial.

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    1. As a youngster (ca. early '70s) I had a multi-band radio. In addition to listening to airport traffic and int'l shortwave stations, the long extendable antenna brought in large stations in the midwest and Rocky Mountains (WLS, WNO, KOB) regularly during the late-night hours, and I picked up Boston and NY stations on a couple of occasions.


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    2. Thanks to all. I learned something! So quaint stations relied on folks to write in. Gee, they valued listeners...what a concept! And it was fun to see how far one could pick up a station.

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  5. Yep, pre-internet it was very cool to pull in distant stations at night. As a kid living in SF, my prize pick-ups on my table clock radio were the 50,000 watt clear channels....KDKA, Pittsburgh, WWL, New Orleans, WHAS Louisville and WLS Chicago. Thought it was cool hearing the local weather forecasts and talk about the local sports teams. Of course, now it's all available online.

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  6. If you google map that 277 Golden Gate address and look at street view, there's an old deli looking placing called "Morty's" across the street. Is that some sort of historic, niche SF eatery like the ones Rich regularly mentions? I guess what I'm asking is can I find Clint Eastwood driving by that place in a movie or perhaps a police car chase in Steets of San Francisco?

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  7. The signature on the card is R. (Richard "Dick") T. Parke, Chief Engineer. That would date the card before 1970. I don't know the dates that covered his service as Chief, but I started in '70, and he had already moved to a position of supplying equipment to stations throughout the market.

    Nice man. But, I only met him because of him making his rounds.



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  8. I would say that it is before 1963 because there is no zip code. Rob

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  9. KGO news employeeMarch 19, 2015 at 3:40 PM

    Rich, we who work KGO appreciate your passion for KGO as well as your concern for the quality which has admittedly gone downhill since the Dickey Brothers bought the station, but here in the news room it would be nice if you weren't always taking shots at our broadcast journalists; particular Jen and John in the morning, and Brett and Nicky in the afternoon. I am not quite sure where this enmity on your part is coming from; whether or not in the past one or more of those folks did you a bad turn, said something negative about you, whatever. In any case, your usual snide and sometimes snarky remarks are thoroughly unappreciated by one and all here in the news room and we find it very unprofessional on your part and are publicly requesting you to stop. Of course, we fully expect you to continue to skewer Ronn and Drex, and the other talk shows, after all, they are fair game, but we here in the news department feel we have as high a quality of anchors and reporters as any radio news station in America. It's not our fault that the ratings suck, and your constant petty pot-shots aren't winning us any new fans or help with the ratings!

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    1. oh, please, spare me.

      The newsroom workforce has plenty of good and solid people--they know I appreciate their work --I don't need your lecture to tell me how to do my posting.

      And guess what, you in the newsroom? We're all "fair game"--if you have issues with the ownership, then deal with it. Send out some resumes. It's not my job to aid in getting you better ratings and new fans.

      Try that one in the booster club, intern.

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    2. When did Chris "leave Britney alone" Crocker get a job at KGO?

      If the "professionals" want to be taken seriously they should act like professionals. Which they don't. And tell Mary Liz Cortese to stop with the personal asides. Quit taking up valuable time and report the news, not your life or opinions,.

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  10. KGO moved to Golden Gate ave after leaving Radio City (Taylor St.) in 1954.

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