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Airwaves: October 28, 2011

Los Angeles helping Monterey to stay cultured?

Classical music is a passion for K-Mozart (1260 AM, 105.1 FM HD-2) owner Saul Levine. So perhaps it makes sense that the Southern California broadcasting icon has decided to do something about the loss of an on-air classical station in Monterey.

Earlier this month, KBOC/Monterey made the switch from classical to what they call soft oldies (which brings to mind the question - is that a format or a medical problem?) as B-Bach became B-103.9. KBOC had been playing classical music for over three years, since February, 2008.

Almost as soon as the change occurred, Levine sprung into action, issuing a press release stating that “our plan is to restore full-time classical radio to the Peninsula and beyond.” The release is light on details but hints that it will be more than just a web presence: “We want classical listeners to know that we are working to serve them on-air as quickly as possible.”

Currently, Levine does not own a station in Monterey. Unfortunately I was unable to talk with him personally by press time, but the obvious question to ask is, does he have plans to buy a station in the area, might he lease space on an FM station’s digital HD stream ... or is there another plan in the works?

In the meantime, Levine’s local stations - Go Country (105.1 FM), K-Mozart, and Retro 105 (105.1 FM HD-3) all sound amazing using StreamS Hi-Fi Radio on my iPhone. Now that radio is available on so many different platforms, the sting of losing a fabvorite station is not what it once was. Still hurts, but not quite as bad.

Old classic

I read long ago that men make friends while they are young, and that the friends they have when older are usually those they knew since childhood.

I am that way, for the most part. My best friend is my friend Dean, who I have known since 1st grade (maybe kindergarten ... I can’t remember) at Crestwood Street Elementary school in San Pedro. Well, what I call “fake” Rancho Palos Verdes officially now, but it was San Pedro when I was growing up.

Anyway, his parents passed away a few years ago, leaving him and his brother to clean out 50 years of life from the family home. Among the treasures was a radio from a company I had never heard of: Gilfillan.

It’s a Model 56B from Gilfillan Brothers, an electronics and airplane manufacturing company based in ... Los Angeles! Of course it is not that unusual for a radio manufacturing company to be based out of Los Angeles back then. I had just never heard of Gilfillan before seeing this radio; now I find that not only is the company still around (as ITT Gilfillan, manufacturer of radar, air traffic control and air defense systems), but in its early days had some part in the manufacturer of numerous other brands of radios, from Packard Bell to Los Angeles Radio to Sears to Western Auto to Baldwin and many more.

The radio itself is very similar to others of its era (circa 1947) ... a typical American 5-tube AM radio. I haven’t plugged it in yet; I am a little leery of doing so since I don’t have a way to slowly increase the current to make sure I don’t blow out capacitors that haven’t seen electricity in probably over 40 years. I did notice a design quirk that may have been common but that I nonetheless have never seen: an asbestos pad on the inside of the wood cabinet above the main output tubes.

If I get this thing up and running, I’ll let you know. Perhaps it would be a good time for someone to buy an AM station and program my version of top-40 so I could relive my youth. KHJ, anyone? ...


Copyright © 2011 Richard Wagoner and Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

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