Steam Powered Radio

A Collection of Non-Memorable Radio Memorabilia

KFAC AM & FM Los Angeles


KFAC AM went on the air on March 22, 1922 as KJS, a religious station located at the Bible Institute of Los Angeles. In 1925 KJS changed its call to KTBI to better associate itself with The Bible Institute. The station was run as a non-commercial and in 1931 they were no longer able to meet expenses so the station was sold to E.L. Cord who changed the call to KFAC. The A stood for Auburn, the C for Cord which were cars that E.L. Cord manufactured and sold at Fuller Motors, hence the F, on Wilshire Blvd. The first classical music show started in December of 1943 with Thomas Cassidy as host. In 1945 the station became all classical. KFAC-FM went on the air in 1952 on 92.3 MHZ. The stations did an early form of stereo from the Hollywood Bowl broadcasts. The AM was used for one channel and the FM was used for the other.


Tom Dixon did afternoons. According to legend he was so prone to mispronouncing names of performers and music that a listener was prompted to write to Tom and suggest that he rename his show to 'Music and Mistakes with Tom Dixon'. Tom took it stride and was one of the nicest people to work with. Another announcer was Fred Crane. When I started there everyone warned me about Fred. Be careful around him they said, he can be bad tempered. So I was, but I always seemed to get along with Fred. Fred had been an actor before and during his tenure with KFAC. His big claim to fame was that he played Brent Tarlton in 'Gone with the Wind'. In fact he spoke the opening line 'It's war Miss Scarlett!' At that time I had never seen 'Gone with the Wind' and never talked to Fred about it. Many years later I deeply regret that. Fred Passed away in 2008 at age 90. Don't be fooled by the credits in the movie. They actually reversed Fred's and George (Superman) Reeves names.


KFAC was a fun place to work and I was there from around June of 1978 to June of 1981. The studios were on Wilshire Blvd next to the La Brea Tar Pits and on really hot days a little tar would seep thru the parking lot for the building. Later the station moved to a former restaurant on Yucca Street in Los Angeles. KFAC lasted as a classical station until 1989 when it was sold to new owners and the calls were changed to KKBT and played R&B music. KKBT became KCMG in 1989 and then KHHT in 2001 and is owned by Clear Channel. The 1330 signal became KWKW and is owned by Lotus Communications