Monday, April 06, 2009

Early Broadcasting in the Bay Area, Pt. 9

Originally published in the March, 2009, Old Radio Times.(

Early Broadcasting in the San Francisco Bay Area: Stations that Didn’t Survive, 1920-25
John F. Schneider
Seattle, Washington Copyright 1997

Another incident Cormack recalled is the night a small orchestra played for the KDN microphone. There wasn’t enough room in the operator's shack for the orchestra, so they stationed themselves on the roof while Cormack positioned his microphone in the doorway. Just as the broadcast got under way, it began to rain. But, the show must go on, and the little group played its entire concert in the downpour, although, as he recalled, the violins sounded a bit "soggy" towards the end.

At one point in the station's history, Mayor James Rolph and several officials of the Matson Line visited the station. A new luxury cruise ship was beginning its maiden voyage that date, and the men's' speeches were picked up by the ship and piped to the passengers through the P. A. system.

In later years, KDN broadcast regular programs of Rudy Seiger's Fairmont Orchestra through a line that had been installed down to the hotel's ballroom for remote pick-ups. In February of 1922, the station built a 50 watt transmitter, and the old five-watter was relegated to standby use. However, the station was still mainly a vehicle for phonograph records and news reports.

Several things finally brought about the demise of KDN. The first was the death of Sheldon Peterson, the driving force behind the station. Mr. Meyberg, the company President, was an older gentleman whose primary interest was in the sale of lighting fixtures and associated electrical equipment. He had little real interest in the station, and lost the desire to operate it after Peterson's death. In addition, a new station, KPO, had installed a remote amplifier to pick up the orchestra programs from the Fairmont, and KPO's 500 watts would provide reception of the Rudy Seiger broadcasts over a larger area than KDN could provide. So, KDN quietly left the air in early 1923.


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