Steam Powered Radio

A Collection of Non-Memorable Radio Memorabilia

KTIM AM in 1950

This is the first part of a little radio station located in San Rafael, California on 1510KHZ operating at a thundering 1000 Watts, daytime only. I first started there in 1975 but here is some info from long before I arrived on the scene Literally, this is from 1950 and I didn't make an appearance on this earth until 1955. All of the following information and photos are taken from the Marin Magazine published by the Independent Journal on Saturday, May 13th, 1950. Original article was written by Don Davis and photos are credited to Warren Roll. I found this paper tucked away in a corner of my office/workshop and took it home. Probably the only surviving copy.


KTIM started life on May 1, 1947 after the FCC was convinced that the Marin area had grown large enough to warrant a local radio station. Ernest L. Smith was the first vice president and general manager and the official name was the Marin Broadcasting Company, Inc owned by the Independent Journal. One of the first problems facing the new station was where to build it. Apparently the government had decreed that no new buildings were to be built during the emergency, a building freeze, so it became to necessary to use an existing building. One was located at 1117, Fifth Street in San Rafael and the current tenants were convinced to move out. According to the article, years later a 12 year old boy dropped by and told them that the main control room was once his bedroom.


The original transmitter and tower location was in a salt marsh near the College of Marin. The transmitter was a Raytheon RA-1000 which was still there when I arrived on the scene but it had a bad mod transformer primary. Put out a nice clean carrier though. In June of 1948, Hugh Turner bought out Ernest L. Smith and became the vice president and general manager. The station boasted three local newscasts a day, the 'KTIM Newspaper of the Air', read by Charlotte Barnes Riznik of the Independent Journal. Other offerings included, The Coffee Club at 8a.m., Polka Time, North Bay Rhythm Ranch, KTIM's Luncheon Interlude, Jazzland, Aunt Ginny and Little Tim, Hugh Turners 'Man on the Street' interviews, Evening Serenade and the ever popular Sign Off at Sundown. Here are some photos from May, 1950.