The historic LA radio towers located in the Fairfax District were knocked to the ground with the help of a bulldozer 2/27. Crews worked four days to make sure the towers fell safely. KHJ went on the air in the 20s and in the 60′s it was the top 40 AM station for all of LA. The calls stood for kindness, happiness and joy. 93 KHJ was best known as the home of “Boss Radio” with Robert W. Morgan, Charlie Tuna, and the Real Don Steele.
Check out the demolition of one of the two towers…the music set to the video is especially compelling:
Liberman Broadcasting’s KHJ now airs Spanish-language “La Ranchera.” The transmitter is now co-located with KBLA 1580 kHz located near Sunset and Alvarado in LA.
Originally owned by the LA Times, KHJ served for a short time in the late 1920s and early 1930s as the Los Angeles affiliate and West Coast production hub of the CBS Radio Network. CBS would eventually purchase its own more powerful West Coast flagship, 50,000 watt KNX. KHJ was then sold to Don Lee, a well-known local luxury automobile dealer who also owned KFRC in San Francisco. In 1949, the entire operation, including KHJ, was merged into RKO General.
During its Don Lee ownership, KHJ also became the West Coast flagship station of the Mutual Broadcasting System, one of the “Big Four” networks in radio’s classic era of the 1930s – 1970s.
In 1965, legendary programmer Bill Drake was brought in to craft KHJ’s new top-40 format. Drake hired PD Ron Jacobs. The format, which came to be known as “Boss Radio”, was a package of memorable jingles performed by the Johnny Mann Singers. “Boss Radio” subsequently spread throughout the nation and brought high ratings and acclaim to stations such as KFRC San Francisco, WFIL Philadelphia, KGB San Diego, WQXI Atlanta, CKLW Detroit and WRKO Boston. Drake and Gene Chenault brought up many of their “Boss” announcers through the stations in other cities.
The format brought high ratings to KHJ through the late 1970s until FM took over for music formats. In November 1980 during the Bob Shannon Show, “93 KHJ” switched from Top 40 to Country. The country format lasted three years before changing to all oldies , “The Boss is Back” using the original Boss Radio jingles. In 1984, KHJ tried a Top 40 format called “Car Radio,” highlighted with traffic reports every ten minutes.
In 1986, the station changed its call letters to KRTH to match those of its FM sister, playing a format called “Smokin’ Oldies” that featured hits of the first ten years of rock and roll. The station used “AM 930” as its on-air ID.
RKO General was under nearly continuous investigation by federal regulators from conduct of the parent company’s non-broadcast operations. That eventually triggered the FCC to rule the parent company unfit to be a broadcast licensee. It was forced to sell off its broadcast properties, including KRTH-AM-FM’s television sister, KHJ-TV (channel 9, now KCAL-TV). In the summer of 1989, KRTH AM-FM were sold to Beasley Broadcasting, which turned around and sold KRTH-AM to Liberman. The rest is history, but oh what a ride that station had in its day!