KPPC (defunct)

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KPPC-FM
KPPC logo.jpg
Pasadena, California
Channels Analog: 106.7 MHz
Owner Pasadena Presbyterian Church (1924–67)
Crosby-Avery Broadcasting (1968)
National Science Network (1969–73)

KPPC-FM was a Pasadena, California FM radio station best known during the period 1967–1971, when it was one of the leading "underground" radio stations in the United States, presenting a freeform mixture of experimental and historical music with countercultural ideas. In contrast to the dominant Top 40 format, each KPPC disc jockey selected his own music, which would veer between genres, including rock and roll, folk music, blues and comedy.

Hosts included B. Mitchel Reed, Steven Segal (aka "The Obscene Steven Clean;" not related to the similarly named actor), Susan Carter (aka "Outrageous Nevada"), Barbara Birdfeather,[1] Jeff Gonzer (aka "Bonzo" Gonzer), Tom Donahue, Program Director and deejay Les Carter, novelty music historian Dr. Demento, Charles Laquidara, Ted Alvy (aka "Cosmos Topper"), Elliot Mintz (whose late-night Sunday show played everything from Baba Ram Dass lectures to listener-created recordings), blues archivist Johnny Otis and comedy troupes The Credibility Gap (featuring Harry Shearer, Richard Beebe, David L. Lander, and Michael McKean), and The Firesign Theatre. Station promos were sung by the a cappella singing group The Persuasions. Other staff members included: Don Hall, deejay and production wizard Zachary Zenor, Mississippi Fats (Joe Rogers), Sam Kopper, The Pierce Family, and Dr. Sound (Ron Johnson).

KPPC-AM was also a Pasadena, California AM Christian radio station from 1924 until September 1996.

History[edit]

KPPC was founded by the Pasadena Presbyterian Church in 1924 (hence the PPC). Starting as an AM station, it was authorized to be on the air for just 22 hours a week (6 a.m.-Midnight Sundays and 7-11 p.m. Wednesdays). This was to carry the Sunday services and the Wednesday night prayer meeting. The station had just 100 watts of power, and barely covered Pasadena. In 1941 the station acquired its frequency of 1240 kHz, where it shared time with a station in San Bernardino. In 1962 the Church wanted to expand the hours and coverage, but other stations had filled in the remaining AM time allotments, so the Church started KPPC-FM, on 106.7 MHz. The studios and transmitters were located in the basement of the church (which later became part of the station's claim to being "underground"), with the antenna on the roof of the Pasadena Star-News building (a newspaper) next door at 585 East Colorado in Pasadena. The FM station had terrible broadcast coverage from this location. The station even distributed plans for an "Super Signal Sucker" antenna made of a broomstick and coathangers for listeners to build and get better reception.

In 1968, the church sold the stations to Crosby-Avery Broadcasting, and in 1969, they were sold to the National Science Network; the church retained the right to broadcast its services over both stations. In April 1970, the studios were moved out of the basement to an office building at 99 South Chester in Pasadena. In September, the transmitter was moved to Flint Peak, a mountaintop adjacent to Pasadena, and the power increased to 25,500 watts.

KPPC-FM was the first station in Los Angeles to broadcast a stereo simulcast with a television station. (A one hour program with 'Leon Russell and Friends' in collaboration with PBS station KCET), and the first to broadcast with Sansui[disambiguation needed] quadraphonic sound. It was also the first FM station in Los Angeles to use two transmitters simultaneously to produce sufficient power.

The golden era of KPPC ended October 24, 1971 when the entire airstaff was fired, replaced overnight with a new line-up that reflected little of the previous freewheeling spirit. In 1973, the stations were sold to Burbank Broadcasting. Because the purchaser already had an AM (KROQ, 1500 kHz, Burbank), KPPC AM was sold to Universal Broadcasting, a religious broadcaster. The AM station continued to carry the services of the Pasadena Presbyterian Church until its last broadcast in September 1996. The FM station eventually became the well known KROQ-FM, which is still on the air.

The KPPC call sign was assigned to an FM station in Pocatello, Idaho which changed their call sign to KEGE in early 2008 to match their name "The Edge".

The KPPC call sign would later be used by a station in the Amarillo, Texas area; that station has since become KBEX.

There is a tribute to the original KPPC-FM currently on Live365 called "KPPC.FM revisited".

References[edit]

  1. ^ "DJ Barbara Birdfeather dies at 69". Variety. April 30, 2009. 

Further reading[edit]

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