KNX is an Entercom-owned all-news radio station broadcasting on 1070 kHz in Los Angeles, California. It is also one of the oldest stations in the United States, having received its first broadcasting license, as KGC, in December 1921, in addition to tracing its history to the September 1920 operations of an earlier amateur station.
|City||Los Angeles, California|
|Broadcast area||Greater Los Angeles Area|
|Branding||KNX 1070 Newsradio|
|Slogan||All News, All the Time.|
Depend on Us.
(also on HD Radio)
|Repeater(s)||101.1-2 KRTH HD2 (simulcast)|
|First air date||September 10, 1920 (as 6ADZ)|
|Class||A (Clear channel)|
|Transmitter coordinates||33°51′35″N 118°20′59″W|
|Callsign meaning||Randomly assigned. A backronym explanation suggested it came from the Spring Street Arcade ANneX.|
|Affiliations||CBS Radio Network, Bloomberg Radio, The Weather Channel|
(Entercom License, LLC)
|Sister stations||KAMP-FM, KCBS-FM, KROQ-FM, KRTH, KTWV|
The station's studios, shared with sister stations KCBS-FM, KTWV and KAMP-FM, are located on Los Angeles' Miracle Mile. KNX holds a Class A license as one of the original clear-channel stations allocated under the 1928 General Order 40 band plan. Its full-time 50,000-watt non-directional signal is heard during the day around Southern California, and at night throughout much of the western United States and parts of Mexico, Canada, Alaska and Hawaii. The station is even received by DXers across the Pacific Ocean. The transmitter and antenna array site are located at Columbia Park in Torrance (northeast of the intersection of Hawthorne Boulevard and 190th Street).
Although KNX received its first formal broadcasting station license on December 8, 1921, the station has traditionally dated its founding to September 10, 1920, starting with broadcasts conducted by Fred Christian over his amateur station, 6ADZ. Christian was a former shipboard radio operator, who lived at 5118½ Harold Way in Hollywood, California and was the manager of the Electric Lighting Supply Company at 216 West Third Street, Los Angeles. He later explained that he began the broadcasts in order to provide something to listen to by customers who had constructed receivers from parts purchased at the store. Christian began making broadcasts with a five-watt vacuum-tube transmitter, operating on the standard amateur wavelength of 200 meters (1500 kHz).
Initially there were no specific standards in the United States for radio stations making transmissions intended for the general public, and numerous stations under various classifications made entertainment broadcasts. However, effective December 1, 1921, the Department of Commerce, regulators of radio at this time, adopted a regulation that formally created a broadcasting station category, and stations were now required to hold a Limited Commercial license authorizing operation on wavelengths of 360 meters for "entertainment" broadcasts or 485 meters for "market and weather reports" (833 and 619 kHz). By the end of 1922 over 500 stations would be authorized nationwide.
On December 8, 1921, the Electric Lighting Supply Company was issued a broadcasting station license with the randomly assigned call letters KGC, authorizing operation on the 360 meter entertainment wavelength. The station's location was listed as Fred Christian's Harold Way home. The shared 360 meter wavelength required timesharing agreements between an increasing number of stations needing exclusive time periods. On May 4 the Los Angeles Times reported that a total of seven local stations were slated to make broadcasts that day, comprising a schedule that ran from noon to 9:00 p.m., with KGC assigned 2:00-2:30 and 7:30-8:00 p.m.
On May 4, 1922, the Electric Lighting Supply Company was issued a broadcasting license for a station with the randomly assigned call letters of KNX, also on 360 meters, and located at the company's Los Angeles store on West Third Street. This was technically considered to be a second station in addition to KGC, however, after KGC was formally deleted on June 20, 1922, the Department of Commerce concluded that KGC and KNX were functionally the same station, and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) records list December 8, 1921 as KNX's "date first licensed".
The new authorization coincided with preparations for a move to the California Theater, with Fred Christian continuing as station manager. On June 12, 1922 the Los Angeles Times reported that "After more than two months of preparation, the new broadcast station at the California Theater had its opening program Saturday evening at 9:15, sending out a wavelength of 510 meters [588 kHz]. The station is said to be one of the best in the land, the call letters of which are KNX." KNX's regular broadcast schedule on 360 meters was 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. A week after it commenced operations from the theater, the Times reported that "Numerous reports have come into The Times radio department commending the quality and audibility of material broadcast from KNX, the California Theater radiophone. This station differs from other stations in that it gives its listeners-in the music of the complete orchestra of the California Theater."
KNX's power was raised to 100 watts in early August 1922. In the fall of 1924, Guy Earl, Jr., owner of the Los Angeles Evening Express, arranged for the newspaper's purchase of KNX. The Express made significant upgrades, including increasing the power to 500 watts, and began broadcasting from the Paul G. Hoffman Studebaker building in Hollywood. KNX was one of the last stations to have stayed on the original 360 meter wavelength, and the newspaper engineered a move to 890 kHz. It remained on this frequency until November 11, 1928, when the station was reassigned to 1050 kHz, under the provisions of a major reallocation resulting from the Federal Radio Commission's (FRC) General Order 40.
In early 1928 KNX changed owners and was then operated by the Western Broadcast Company. In 1929 the station's transmitter power was upgraded from 500 to 5,000 watts, followed by an increase to 10,000 watts in 1932. In 1933, the station moved its studios to another part of Hollywood, after being granted permission by the FRC on June 7, 1932, to raise its output to 25,000 watts. The following year, KNX's transmitting power was raised to the nationwide maximum of 50,000 watts, which the station continues presently.
CBS purchased KNX in 1936 and began operating it as its West Coast flagship, which ended CBS's eight-year affiliation with KHJ. In 1938, the CBS Columbia Square studios were dedicated for KNX as well as West Coast operations for the entire CBS radio network. That October, the station carried Orson Welles' celebrated version of The War of the Worlds. In March 1941 the station was shifted to 1070 AM as part of the North American Regional Broadcasting Agreement assignments, where it has been ever since.
Several legendary performers from the Golden Age of American network radio broadcast from there, including Jack Benny, Bing Crosby, George Burns, Edgar Bergen, Gene Autry and TV situation comedy star Bob Crane, who was KNX's morning host between 1957 and 1965 at the same time he was appearing as a featured supporting player on the ABC television network's The Donna Reed Show.
KNX was a strong competitor in the Los Angeles market while Crane was a morning personality, but began declining in popularity after he left to star in the CBS television series Hogan's Heroes. Following the example of corporate sister station WCBS in New York City, which had enjoyed renewed success with an all-news format, KNX then became an all-news station in the spring of 1968. By chance, its first major breaking news coverage was a major worldwide story that happened locally: the assassination of Democratic Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, in the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, on June 5 of that year.
In 2009, KNX adopted the slogan "All news, all the time." It was previously used for 40 years by KFWB, KNX's historic rival in the news radio wars before both became sister stations through the 1995 merger of Westinghouse Electric (KFWB's owner) and CBS. KFWB's format change to news-talk in September 2009 (and currently as a Regional Mexican station) now leaves KNX the only all-news outlet in the Los Angeles area, which is now emphasized in its alternate slogan, "Southern California's only 24-hour local news & traffic station".
In 2017, KNX won its first ever national Edward R. Murrow award for "Breaking News". The station was also nominated for two 2017 NAB Marconi awards, Legendary Station of the Year and News/Talk Station of the Year.
On February 2, 2017, CBS agreed to merge CBS Radio with Entercom, then the fourth-largest radio broadcaster in the United States; the sale to be conducted tax-free using a Reverse Morris Trust. While CBS shareholders retained a 72% ownership stake in the combined company, Entercom was the surviving entity, separating KNX from KCBS-TV and KCAL-TV. The merger was approved on November 9, 2017 and consummated 8 days later.
As KNX and competitor station KFI are primary entry points for the Southern California Emergency Alert System, they are responsible for activation of the EAS when hazardous weather alerts, disaster area declarations, and child abduction alerts are issued.
The station's antenna array features a 494-foot main antenna. The original main antenna (circa 1936) was destroyed by vandals on September 14, 1965. An unused 365-foot tower was brought in from KFAC (now KWKW) and was used while the new main antenna was constructed. This antenna was formerly in what is now a residential area to the south of the main antenna.
Non-directional Class A stations are, with very few exceptions, required to have emergency antennas as these stations serve as regional EAS stations. The 365-foot tower now serves as KNX's emergency antenna. It was later relocated when much of the site was dedicated as a park in Torrance; it is now north of the main antenna, within the park.
Only one antenna is active at a time. An experiment in the late 1960s using both antennas in a directional setup during the daytime was abandoned.
The 494-foot main antenna is 0.5375 of a wavelength, or 193.5 degrees out of the 360 of a full cycle at 1070 kHz. It has an efficiency of 400.73 mV/m/kW at 1 km optimum. This is much better than average for a Class A station's main antenna. The FCC's minimum efficiency requirement is 362.10 mV/m/kW at 1 km.)
The 365-foot emergency antenna is 145.5 electrical degrees with an efficiency of about 343 mV/m/kW at 1 km. This is much better than average for a Class A emergency antenna but inadequate for the main.
Notable former on-air staff
- Call Sign Letter Meaning Archived September 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
- "HD Radio Guide for Los Angeles" (hdradio.com)
- "45th Year Marked By Station KNX" Billboard, September 25, 1965, page 56.
- The government's June 30, 1921 annual listing of amateur radio stations has 6ADZ licensed to the Electric Lighting Supply Company, 216 West Third Street, Los Angeles. ("Sixth District", Amateur Radio Stations of the United States (edition June 30, 1921), page 122.) The leading "6" in 6ADZ's call sign specified that the station was located in the sixth Radio Inspection district. The fact that the call sign's first letter, "A", was in the range A-W reflected its status as a standard amateur station.
- "Miscellaneous: Alterations and Corrections", Radio Service Bulletin, January 3, 1922, page 10.
- "New Stations", Radio Service Bulletin, January 3, 1922, page 2. One year Limited Commercial license with the call letters KGC, serial #248, issued December 8, 1921 to the Electric Lighting Supply Company, 5118½ Harold Way, Hollywood, California. This license was canceled on June 20, 1922.
- "What's Doing Today: Radio", Los Angeles Times, May 4, 1922, Part II, page 20.
- "New Stations", Radio Service Bulletin, June 1, 1922, page 3. Three month Limited Commercial license with the call letters KNX, serial #358, issued May 4, 1922, to the Electric Lighting Supply Company, 216 West Third Street, Los Angeles.
- Due to the overlap of the KGC and KNX licenses, the Department of Commerce's June 1, 1922 list of active authorizations included both KGC and KNX (June 1, 1922 list). However, the station list in the May 11, 1922 issue of the Los Angeles Times no longer included KGC, with KNX designated as one of the "stations not yet on the air". ("What's Doing Today: Radio", Los Angeles Times, May 11, 1922, Part II, pages 1, 10.)
- Although 360 meters was the normal transmitting wavelength during this period, on occasion the sixth district Radio Inspector, J. F. Dillon, would give permission for stations to make broadcasts on 510 meters. ("Radio Puts on Miners' Benefit", Oakland Tribune, September 15, 1922, page 32.)
- "Listening in: KHJ", Los Angeles Times, June 12, 1922, Part II, page 2.
- "What's Doing Today: Radio", Los Angeles Times, June 8, 1922, Part II, page 24.
- (untitled filler, third column), Los Angeles Times, June 19, 1922, Part II, page 2.
- "KHJ's 'Radio Cave'", Los Angeles Times, August 6, 1922, Part II, page 6.
- "New Radio Station to Open Tonight", Santa Ana (California) Register, October 10, 1924, page 1.
- Commercial and Government Radio Stations of the U.S. (Edition June 30, 1928), page 173.
- "KNX Gets 25 Kw". Broadcasting. June 15, 1932. p. 19. Retrieved 6 June 2018.
- "KNX 1070 kHz Los Angeles, CA" by Paul Sakrison (sakrison.com)
- "Biggest station deal in history effected." Broadcasting, April 1, 1936, pp. 7, 62.
- Today in Radio History August 12 2005
- KNX History
- "Bob Crane Biography" (who2.com)
- knx1070 Our Heritage Archived March 14, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
- "CBS Sets Radio Division Merger With Entercom". Variety. Retrieved 2 February 2017.
- "CBS and Entercom Are Merging Their Radio Stations". Fortune. Retrieved 2017-02-02.
- Entercom Receives FCC Approval for Merger with CBS Radio
- Entercom Completes CBS Radio Merger
- "FCC Local Area Plan for the Emergency Alert System" Los Angeles County: Revision 2.0 7-24-2002 (caloes.ca.gov)
- Paul Thurst (June 30, 2010). "Converting electrical degrees to height in meters or feet".
- From FCC public information files.
- From FCC rules, 47 CFR Part 73.
- Calculated from the electrical height, using FCC formulae.
- Cox, Jim (2007). Radio Speakers: Narrators, News Junkies, Sports Jockeys, Tattletales, Tipsters, Toastmasters and Coffee Klatch Couples Who the Jargon of the Aural Ether from the 1920s to the 1980s--A Biographical Dictionary. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-6086-1. Pp. 98-99.
- "Behind the Microphone: Michael Fitzmaurice". Broadcasting. June 1, 1935. p. 30. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
- Abbott, Sam (January 17, 1942). "Hollywood". Billboard. p. 7. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
- "Guide to the Chet Huntley Papers 1920-1977". Northwest Digital Archives. Retrieved 4 February 2015.
- Abbott, Sam (January 24, 1942). "Hollywood". Billboard. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
- Official website (knx1070.radio.com)
- Query the FCC's AM station database for KNX
- Radio-Locator Information on KNX
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for KNX
- FCC History cards for KNX (covering 1927-1980)
- KNX Station History (earthsignals.com)
- Recording of KNX's September 10, 1955 35th Anniversary broadcast (pastdaily.com)
- Farewell broadcast from Columbia Square (August 4, 2006, linder.com)
- KCBS-TV video, KNX Columbia Square sign-off
- KNX tour, on the site of Chief Engineer Paul Sakrison (sakrison.com)