Radio AM to FM: August 19, 2005
Last Radio Station in Hollywood Leaves for Greener Pastures
Over 80 years of broadcasting history came to an end last Friday night when KNX moved studios from Columbia Square in Hollywood to Wilshire Boulevard's Miracle Mile, effectively ending radio's longtime association with Hollywood.
Obviously KNX was not the first station to leave Hollywood. Due to consolidation or a desire to find easier parking and cheaper leases, stations have been leaving the area for many years. KPWR, for example, moved to Burbank years ago.
Yet the move of KNX brought out numerous memories of young and old alike because it left the onetime radio broadcasting mecca, Columbia Square, which was built in the 1938 to be the largest and most advanced broadcast studio in America during a time when radio was king and many programs were performed live in front of a studio audience.
Former CBS President William Paley oversaw the design of the building, which featured eight large studios, one of which was large enough to seat an audience of 1050.
Jack Benny, Edgar Bergen, Orson Welles, Jackie Gleason, Rosemary Clooney, Burns and Allen -- all the big CBS stars -- could be seen performing their shows live. Many future radio stars and personalities credit their love for radio from tours taken of Columbia Square when they were young.
To mark the occasion of the switch, KNX broadcast a one-hour retrospective of the studios, CBS and KNX, prepared by reporter Michael Linder. It was quite a program, and hopefully will be made available to the public.
It chronicled the origins of the building, the importance it took as the West Coast source of CBS Radio Network programs, the personalities who performed there, the ghosts that inhabit the building, the transition of KNX from an entertainment station to all news, and the changes radio has seen over the decades.
Ghosts? Yes indeed. In a special segment of the program, they spoke of an investigation into ghosty aspects of the building. In a strange way, it was one of the most fascinating parts of the program.
Then at 11:06, right after Dave Zorn read the local headlines, the switch was made and reporting duties were taken over by Dave Williams, Vicki Moore, Randy Kerdoon and Chuck Rowe.
Dick Clark is going to celebrate New Years Eve with Ryan Seacrest, as Seacrest signs on to co-host ABC's New Year's Rockin' Eve. The plan for now is to share duties; Seacrest -- considered by some to be a modern day Clark -- will take over in a few years.
Former KRLA music director David Schwartz, author and expert on all things game shows, will be part of a panel discussing Concentration at the Game Show Congress convention at the Hilton Hotel North in Glendale tomorrow at 1 PM. For information, go to www.gameshowcongress.com.
Happy birthday Ralph Story!
Copyright © 2005 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.
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