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Happy Birthday KXL!

Portland, Ore. – KXL’s inaugural broadcast hit the airwaves on December 13, 1926 from the top floor of the Mallory Hotel, beginning with a concert from the Mallory Orchestra. The second hour began with dance music presented by the Lyle Lewis Orchestra. On September 20, 1927, KXL moved into the “Rose Studio” on the seventh floor of the Bedell Building which featured a plate glass wall for public viewing from the reception room. KXL celebrated the move with a 40 hour broadcast dedication.

On November 6, 1928, KXL moved to new studios on the seventh floor Mezzanine at The Multnomah Hotel. The new glass enclosed “Rose Studio” was twice the size of the old one. Herman Kenin’s Multnomah Hotel Orchestra headlined KXL’s first broadcast from the Multnomah Hotel. KXL continued to broadcast from the Multnomah Hotel until 1939.

KXL became known as the “Voice of Portland,”in 1927. KXL was also known as “The Telegram Station” because of its affiliation with The Portland Telegram.

The Mallory Hotel is still around. It’s now the deLuxe Hotel. It’s still in the same place at 729 SW 15th Ave.

The Multnomah Hotel is now an Embassy Suites Hotel located at 319 SW Pine Street and is on the historical registry.

KXL became known as the “Voice of Portland,”in 1927. KXL was also known as “The Telegram Station” because of its affiliation with The Portland Telegram.

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On December 13, 1926 KXL began operation on 750kc. with the power of 50 watts. KXL was owned by KXL Broadcasters, Inc. Studios were located on the top floor of the Mallory Hotel, with transmitter on roof.(171 Lownsdale St., now 729 S.W. 15th Ave.) in Portland.

On November 12, 1926 Koo Radio Service Co. (Harry B. Read, former owner of 7ZA, KQP/KOIN; Cecile L. Herheim, a stenographer; Julius N. Hart, a lawyer) was incorporated in Portland, Oreg. The company was based at The Pantages Building (171 Broadway. now: 743 S.W. Broadway). On November 19, 1926 the Radio Division, Bureau of Navigation, U.S. Department of Commerce inspected and passed the new apparatus for granting a license. The following day (11-20-26) Harry Read had the “KXL” call letters reserved under the company name “KXL Broadcasters”. Read’s 2nd & 3rd call letter choices were: KVO and KVI, if KXL wasn’t available.

On November 27, 1926 the Radio Division granted a license to KXL Broadcasters with calls “KXL” for a 50 watt station on 400 meters or 749.6 kilocycles. 400 meters was a “class B” wavelength, the highest class. KXL calls were originally assigned to the vessel “City of Taunton”. Calls were deleted and available in June 1925. On December 3, 1926 KXL was unveiled to Portland in a newspaper announcement. On December 12, 1926 it was announced Otis E. Yates was President & Business Director of KXL Broadcasters with Harry B. Read, Secretary-Treasurer. KXL studios & transmitter were on the top floor of the Mallory Hotel (171 Lownsdale St. now: 729 S.W. 15th Ave.). In the announcement, KXL would begin tomorrow.

On Monday December 13, 1926 KXL began operation at 6:30pm. The inaugural broadcast commenced with a concert from the Mallory Orchestra. At 7:30pm the Lyle Lewis Orchestra presented dance music. At 8:30pm entertainment was featured from Professor P.A. TenHaaf, baritone; Mrs. P.A. TenHaaf, contralto; Bessie McFarlane, soprano; Eleanor Dana, soprano; Stanley Ingram, tenor. Rollie Truitt was the announcer. Harry’s brother, Walter L. Read was also present. KXL broadcast: 6pm to 8pm Mondays; 6:30pm to 7pm Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday & Saturday; 2pm to 3pm & 6:30pm to 8pm Fridays; 4pm to 5pm Saturday & Sunday. There were no official program names listed at this time.

On December 21, 1926 Koo Radio Service Co. officially changed it name to KXL Broadcasters (Otis E. Yates, President & Commercial Director; Harry B. Read, Secretary-Treasurer, General Manager & Chief Technician; Julius N. Hart, stockholder). On February 17, 1927 KXL was moved temporarily to 770kc (class B). Hours of operation had expanded: 2pm to 3pm Monday thru Sunday; 6:30pm to 7:30pm Monday thru Saturday & 4pm to 5pm Sunday. All listed as “music”. 7:30pm to 8:30pm Mondays featured a “studio program”. On Wednesday’s a “Dance Orch.” On Thursdays a “Girls Orch.” Fridays were a “Trio”. 8:30pm to 9:30pm Wednesday’s featured a “vocal & instrumental program” and Friday’s a “studio program”.

In April 1927 KXL was inspected by the new Federal Radio Commission. The FRC Inspector described KXL as a “very haywire operation” and its operator as “an experimenter (who) would be tearing it apart in the belief he could improve it”. On June 15, 1927 KXL was moved to the lower “Class A” frequency of 1360kc. Also in June 1927 KXL Broadcasters was reorganized with Harry B. Read as President and continuing as Chief Technician. Roy C. Hunt was brought in as Vice-President, General Manager & Commercial Director; Julius N. Hart was named Secretary-Treasurer.

By July 1927 KXL’s schedule was; 9am to 10:30am Tuesday thru Friday & 9:30am to 10:15am Saturday, plus 9am to 11am Sundays with “Morning Music”. Noon to 3:30pm Monday thru Saturday & 6pm to 8pm Monday thru Friday, plus 7pm to 8pm Saturday “Music & Amusement Guide”. 11am to 12:30pm Sunday “1st Methodist Church Service”. 1pm to 1:30pm Sunday “music”. 1:30pm to 2pm Sunday, 8pm to 8:30pm Monday & Wednesday, plus 9pm to 9:30pm Friday “Lucien Becker, Organist”. 5pm to 6pm Sunday “Twilight Hour”. 8pm to 8:30pm Tuesday, 8:30pm to 10pm Wednesday & 8pm to 9pm Friday “Studio Program”.

On September 20, 1927 KXL moved studios & transmitter to the 7th floor, suite 715, at The Bedell Building (130 6th St., now: 520 S.W. 6th Ave.). KXL’s transmitter was adjacent to the operating room and the “Rose Studio”. The entire studio wall facing the reception room was plate glass for public viewing. KXL’s antenna was a single wire atop the building. The station celebrated the move with a 40 hour broadcast dedication. “KXL, The Voice of Portland, maintains a continuous daytime schedule, 7 days a week. During daylight, mechanical music is offered and at night regular studio programs are presented.” KXL operated 7am to 1am Monday thru Saturday & 9am to 10:30pm Sundays.

On October 3, 1927 the program “Musical Matinee” debuted 2-3pm weekdays. On October 31st, “Portland Early Birds” debuted 9-10am weekdays. Then on November 14, 1927 the “Dress Up” program” started 8-9am weekdays and the new novelty show “The Moo Cow Hour” 9-10pm Mondays. On November 28th “Early Risers” program began 8-9am weekdays and “French Lesson” 4:30-5pm weekdays. January 30, 1928 saw the debut of “The Mountaineers” 5-6pm weekdays. February 13, 1928 “Night Squawkers” began 10:30-Midnight Mondays and “The Moo Cow Hour” moved to Tuesdays 9-10pm.

On March 1, 1928 KXL increased power to 100 watts. On March 19, 1928 KXL began carrying the “Serenaders” program 8-9pm Mondays from KMO Tacoma. In April 1928 KXL moved offices to The Multnomah Hotel. On April 23, 1928 programming from KMO switched to KFJI Astoria during the Monday night hour. On April 26, 1928 KXL was granted another power increase to 250 watts. By May 1928 “Rollie” Roland A. Truitt was Program Director & Chief Announcer (later moving to KEX in 1933, then KWJJ/KPRA(FM) Sports Director & KPOJ) and Georgina Ryan was Musical Director.

On May 26, 1928 “The Portland Telegram” newspaper announced it had entered a working relationship with KXL. Beginning on June 4, 1928 at 7:00am KXL celebrated the partnership with 161 hours of continuous programming. The Telegram for its part made available thousands of dollars in prizes from its advertisers as trade. Grand prize was an “Auburn Sport Sedan”. The Telegram also gave KXL an Associated Press teletype machine. KXL slogan: The Portland Telegram Station. Also still used was: The Voice of Portland.

Also on June 4, 1928 KXL began carrying the “Sperry Flour Children’s Hour” weeknights at 6:30, sponsored by Sperry Flour Mills. “One of the leaders in children’s programming in the Northwest”, was hosted by Grandpa Bulger (Corliss F.Bulger). The program had moved from KEX after The Telegram severed ties. Children were invited to come watch the broadcast and were treated with a sweet snack from Carnation.

 



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