2007 WTFDA & NRC Convention
Boise 2007 “The First Joint Convention of Two Great Clubs”
by John R. Malicky
Beautiful, Outstanding, Informative, Successful, and Entertaining … that was Boise 2007, and with respect to Johnny Carson, we now say, “it’s the NRC Convention Show starring Frank Aden! Frank’s guests this weekend included Carolyn Holly, Daytona Dayton, Art Gregory, Bill Frahm, Ray Littrell, John Bowker, Phil Bytheway, and Wayne Heinen! Now, here’s Frank! Thank you and welcome to Boise. What an exciting show and convention we had for you! If you missed this, shame on you for 6 weeks and may a crazed bronco stampede on your HD radios!
Like east meeting west and Abbott and Costello, the National Radio Club joined hands with the Worldwide TV-FM DX Association for this historic, and practical, event. Also, it is the first time the NRC has had a convention in Boise and in “the Gem State” of Idaho!
A gem of a city, Boise is personable, friendly, and growing to the west and southwest. Beginning in the early 1800s, French fur trappers called this new wonderful land of discovery, “riviere boissie,” or “wooded river.” Soon, pioneers followed on the Oregon Trail through Fort Boise. Founded in 1863, with Idaho becoming a state in 1890, Boise, or “The City of Trees,” boasts major economic development, a low tax base, and recreation including the Owyhee Mountains to the north. Also, there are the arts including the Boise Philharmonic, Opera Idaho, Ballet Idaho, and The Shakespeare Festival. Education is also a primary through Boise State University, now with 18,000 students. Boise St. also boasts their ‘blue’ football field and team which reached national prominence New Years Night 2007 with their dramatic 43-42 Fiesta Bowl overtime win over Oklahoma to cap a 13-0 season and number five ranking! Bronco Field also hosts, on the last week of December, the MFC Computers Bowl. In addition, there are 3 professional teams. They are the Boise Hawks, a Class A baseball affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, the Idaho Stampede competing in the Continental Basketball Association, and the Idaho Steelheads hockey team, winners of the 2003-04 Kelly Cup. Another winner is Boise radio, with 36 AM/FM stations, moving up, in two years, nine spots, to a 105 Arbitron ranking. Finally and further proof that in two years almost 30,000 more residents call Boise home!
As does our 2007 host, Frank Aden(N0SOK) who is quite a historian of Idaho radio and TV and practiced his DX hobby for many years. As an NRC member before and currently since 1980 and a WTFDA member for 37 years, Frank began listening and logging stations at an early age, then shortwave, and by 1970, DXing the TV and FM bands. A graduate of the University of Oregon and employed at DirecTV, Frank secured all the tours and talks for Boise 2007. Also, this was Frank’s forth Boise convention with the others for the International Radio Club of America in 1995 and 2004 and WTFDA in 2001. Now, on with the show!
At 10:52 AM MDT on Friday morning, August 31, following a 530 mile drive from Portland and Eugene, Oregon last night, while visiting stations earlier and passing the brush fires on both sides of 1-5, all roads returned for Boise 2007 at the Rodeway Inn and 1115 Curtis Road at the junction of 1-184. Soon is the discovery of (The) Gold (!) Room, then welcomed by members and announcing in 8 minutes the group is leaving for the ‘first’ tour and watching in their studio, the noon news at KTVB TV 1, HDTV 26. Within walking distance a few blocks away, at 5407 Fail-view Avenue next door to Boise’s KGEM-1140, KTVB is owned by Belo of Dallas and an NBC affiliate. A part timer and Director of Security (and tours), Earl Silserstein ‘briefs’ us before our meeting with the press. With a vote of progress, when KTVB moved here in 1972, the end of their building also was the end of Boise! Three, two, and as ‘the number one rated station in Boise and Idaho,’ “we picked a good day to visit,” mentions Mr. S. Also on the top ranked Sunday night news, midday anchor Carolyn Holly begins with the lead story, and the buzz around Boise and Idaho, of the impending resignation of four time elected and the 27-year career of State Senator Larry Price, This following the June 11, 2007 arrest of the senator at the Minneapolis Airport for solicitation. The price was not right as Senator Price would resign the next day, but for Boise 2007 we’re resigned to the fact of thanking KTVB for allowing us to tune in!
Now a short pause from our sponsors including the Idaho Statesman newspaper across the street from the Rodeway Inn, then our second visit to Boise’s highest voices. Peak Broadcasting! Located just southeast of downtown at 827 East Park Boulevard in a beautiful office complex. Peak is home to six stations while overseen by our host. Chief Engineer Lee Eichelberger. The six stations were KSAS-103.3 “Kiss-FM”(chr), country KTMY-104.3, KCIX-105.9 “Mix 106″(hot ac), KXLT-107.9 “Lite 108″(soft ac), KFXD-630 having just switched to talk, and Idaho’s oldest station, KIDO, “Newstalk 580.” That Broadcast Yearbook lists KFXD signing on in May, 1922, KIDO, through much research, is officially credited as Idaho’s oldest station. KIDO’s story began as an experimental station, 7YA, in 1920, then licensed to Boise High School as KFAU in 1922, then switching to KIDO even as BY’s date sets them in November, 1927. An account of this story by Frank Aden mentions KIDO, as KFAU, signing on July 18, 1922 and KFXD starting in late August-early September 1925. Also, two other stations in Idaho did sign on first, but shortly thereafter ceased operations. However, we thanked Lee and Peak for their continued operations!
Later in the afternoon while most of Boise headed home, like Lewis and dark, we replicated the 1805-06 northern exploration of northern Idaho(or 20 miles north of the city) to Eagle, and fly like one, finding a unique and temporary museum for The History of Idaho Broadcasting Foundation, Inc. (designated as IBF). As a severe rainstorm blew through the area, so we did also, but in a more congenial way to 723 Headwaters Drive West at the home of Daytona Dayton. From a previous meeting, Daytona agreed to allow the IBF to display their “museum preview” on the second floor of her beautiful home. Also, through Daytona’s generous gift, the IBF now had the funds, in addition to being a non-profit corporation, to file with the IRS for Recognition of Exemption under Section 501(c)(3). An Idaho potato, a famous beer, and “Positive Talk Around the Clock!” Name a spud, a Bud, and a plug! In her home, with the most modem of equipment and software systems, is a worldwide radio network at, www.daytona-n-friends.com.
Now as friends, Art Gregory, President of the IBF also related to us how his group was formed. The idea of the IBF developed by the urging of Frank Aden towards Art after the two gentlemen met on e-bay in 2004 to buy music charts. However, the idea came much earlier or started when the fascination of broadcasting led Mr. Gregory to work in radio and TV. Then as IBF was formed, their motto was and still is to preserve the past making it available for all to study, better able to understand the present, and plan for the future. Within their mission is to stimulate in people of all ages, especially the young, of how radio and TV in Idaho made and still makes practical contributions to the quality of life for everyone in the state. Thus, in July 2006, the group presented their first bi-monthly, or six times a year, newsletter, “As the Turntable Turns,” ‘Step by step’ with monthly meetings at various outlets including those at Boise commercial stations. As President and Vice President, Art Gregory and Frank Aden have written most of the newsletters from their accounts and research including some exceptional and historic photos of the Idaho media. Their 21 charter member group continues to grow which included a lifetime membership for Ms. Dayton. The IBF accepts memberships from anyone for $20 (paper copy) or $10 (e-membership) a year to History of Idaho Broadcasting Foundation, Inc., 6127 North Hastings Avenue, Boise, ID 83714 or contact Art Gregory at email@example.com. The group’s collection included historic equipment and archives. This ‘museum’ contained three 50-60 year old Gates control boards from local stations, a 1000-watt RCA transmitter, KBOI-Boise’s ITC Stereo Cartridge player/recorder, an Ampex 601 and PR10 reel-to-reel machines, jingles, and airchecks including an EBS check. Along with music charts and pictures, some of the airchecks included a comical sign-off from KEST, now KEZJ-1450 in Twin Falls, “now get some sleep, as we sign on at 6.” Also heard was Mr. Gregory’s voice, while working at a TV station in Salt Lake City, of a KBOI sign-on in 1972 and a congratulatory message from KOMO-1000 Seattle to KBOI in 1968 switching frequencies from 950 to 670 and upgrading power from 25kw to 50kw. Downgrading or downstairs, a generous spread of food and drink awaited for all. To Daytona, Art, and Frank, thank you to all and to all a good day!
It is Friday evening and in the Gold Room, which implied more than just a name, Frank discussed his extensive knowledge of Boise radio and TV. One of the more interesting topics was the origins and demise of Boise’s first TV stations. As related, Idaho’s first and short-lived TV station was KFXD TV 6 that signed on with test patterns on June 18, 1953. Eleven days later, KFXD ran programs for 3 hours until 9 PM. Three other TV stations, KIDO (now KTVB), KBOI (KBCI-2) and KGEM filed for applications or had permits before KFXD, but hadn’t gone on the air yet. Without a network, KFXD possibly considered joining the 9-year-old Dumont network, but declined. Faced with mounting debt, the owner signed off KFXD two months later on August 12. Following a search of 30 years, Frank’s excitement came when he found and showed us the photo of KFXD’s portable transmitter building! This is Boise 2007 now leaving the air until tomorrow morning, have a good night!
On a beautiful day in the neighborhood for Saturday, the first of September, the second day of NRC-WTFDA Boise 2007 found several of the members hunting for, not wabbits, but Boise’s AM tower sites. With a map and directions in our convention pamphlet and 1884 as the dividing line, four sites are north and seven are south. All on level land, some of the seven sites we’ll see included the most notable, KBOI-670’s six-tower array about 20 miles from their studios at South Cloverdale Road. Here, engineer Bill Frahm talked about KBOI’s 1993 Harris DX50 transmitter which replaced a 1967 GE OTB50A1. Also in the bunker type building is a vintage 1930s transmitter from KOAC-550 licensed to Corvallis, Oregon. This transmitter is not in use, but there are possible plans to use it as a museum piece. Moving here in 1968 or at least when the bunker was built. Bill remarked that in 2000 when KBOI had four towers, Lotus Communications, which owns KIRN-670 in Simi Valley, California and near Los Angeles, actually paid KBOI to knock down three towers and install five new ones so as to protect KIRN even more! As on record, 50kw KBOI is non-directional days and directional nights with nulls towards KIRN, KDLG Dillingham, Alaska, and WSCR-Chicago. They also have an effective radiated power (erp) of 300kw to the north. A few miles north, also on Cloverdale, is the diplexed three tower site of KFXD-630 and KBSU-730 (which is licensed to Boise State Radio). Of interest, the transmitter building still has the ‘KIDO’ call letters when in 2002 KIDO-630 and KFXD-580 swapped frequencies, leaving KIDO with a better coverage area. Earlier, Mr. Frahm met us at West Amity Road to see the KTIK-1350 four-tower array and in the building, the Harris Gates 5kw and backup Continental transmitters. Also, about one mile southeast of KTIK’s array was the magnificent view of the four-tower site of KIDO which consisted of two guyed and two self-supporting towers. A self-guided tour also brought some of us into Boise to see KGEM’s three tower array at 1140 which is at their old studio site that included a bomb shelter. Five days ago, I had the opportunity to see this site through my host as we’ll meet again.
Now with another opportunity, an added chapter to Boise 2007, we visit the Journal Broadcasting Group and their six stationsafcl-5257 Fairview Avenue or next door to TV 7! With Rick Kemp as their CE, Radio Engineering Manager or as he likes to say, “field engineer,” Rockwell ‘Rocky’ Smith gladly greets us. Also a member of IBF, Rocky’s long career as a radio personality and now behind the scenes included stops starting in Washington (KUPS-90.1, KASY), Montana (KBMY), Oregon, Idaho (KLIX), and Boise. Out of radio, one phone call brought him ‘home’ again to his current post for the past seven years. Owned by WTMJ, The Milwaukee Journal, the six stations here are “Good Time Oldies” KGEM-1140, nostalgic KCID-1490, adult alternative on KRVB-94.9 “The River”, new rock on “The X” KQXR-100.3, Boise’s heritage rock station KJOT-105.1 “J105”, and the number one rated station in Boise, “K-Hits” of the 50s, 60s, and 70s, KTHI-107.1. Community oriented, all six station’s mission statement is to be the “best locally. So, do your best Rocky, ‘til we meet again!
Meanwhile, our mission that we did accept was to visit our final stop today, Boise’s six Citadel stations near downtown at 1419 West Bannock Street. Again, Bill Frahm has kindly accepted our group to see the major station in town, “Newstalk 670 KBOI”, and voice of Boise State Bronco football. The other five included “1350 KTIK The Ticket” ESPN Radio, “Kissin’ 92” country KIZN-92.3, “Magic 93.1” chr KZMG, classic rock on “96.9 The Eagle” KKGL, and country again on “98 KQFC” at 97.9. Good success to Citadel, Bill, and Randall Rocks, Chief Engineer for whom I met on the 28th.
A world famous Idaho potato, friendliness, and a group of people; name a food, a mood, and some dudes! Why it’s the Boise 2007 Banquet! It is an “emporium of fine food and drink” at The Sunshine Restaurant inside The Rodeway Inn. Thus, to keep the registration fee low, our tab was our own.
Returning to The Gold Room, the time has come to keep a tab on our two guest speakers. Ray Littrell and Art Gregory, and the very brief, very minuscule (NRC) Business Meeting. The meeting was presented by the NRC’s version of Frank Sinatra, Chairman of the Board Wayne Heinen. Wayne began by thanking everyone here and Frank Aden for hosting Boise 2007, plus thanking NRC Registrar John Bowker. Frank or Wayne also announced that Jim Pogue had taken over as Broadcast Test Coordinator for Les Rayburn while dedicating the 28th NRC AM Log, which did sell out at Boise, to DXN Editor Paul Swearingen! With almost 20 years as an editor, Paul has been DX News Editor for 19 years. At last count, the ‘herd’ or the NRC membership stood at 485 for DXN, 145 for e-DXN, and just under 100 for DXAS. Wayne did recognize Stan Morss, a New Englander and longtime NRCer, with a plaque for Member of The Year for 2007! Finally, Wayne did not ‘pull the plug’, but offered for sale at $15, Scott Fybush’s very fine 2008 Tower Site Calendar, then Phil Bytheway and the IRCA Technical Guide at $13.
After a commercial break for our sponsors, Phil ,as auctioneer, and Paul, assisting, hosted the radio game show, ‘who wants to spend all their money?!’ Otherwise known as the NRC Auction! Netting $143.00, one of the auction’s highlights was a neatly-designed convention shirt with both club’s logo and a DVD of an old Dumont TV network show. As always, yelling out call letters to bid added $1 to that total and you got what you paid for!
Earlier, our two speakers were members of the History of IBF. First was Ray Littrell whose extensive career in broadcasting included writing news for Seattle’s KING, KOMO, and KIRO, plus San Francisco’s KSFO, an actor then director, taught TV classes, and from his story, is best noted as a comedy writer for The Johnny Carson Show. Ray acknowledged that the best humor comes from natural occurrences. He also stated that ‘live’ morning shows are good entertainment, but drops when stations go to syndication or voice-tracking. Ray also said local news and radio journalists have become ‘infotainers’ which comes to mind that. Fox Radio News now says, “we report, you decide.” Of course, Ray enjoyed the early days of comedy when vaudeville was king. Less of a king, but more as an expert, Ray currently is an editor operating an internet site. Our advice after Ray was to listen to the President of IBB, Art Gregory. Also entertaining. Art’s career in radio started at age 14 in 1966 at then KEST radio, now KSPD-790, left for awhile, then returned even working for free a short time at KBOI, then followed into other radio and TV outlets in Idaho and Utah, and even into ownership of a station in Casper, Wyoming, KQLT, until 1989. Then in 1992, Art became General Manager for Synergy, an ad agency, and also the marketing and communications director for Zamzows, a pet food and lawn garden store. Art is also currently teaching communications at Boise State. He was also affected by early radio and TV, including the comedy of Groucho Marx and The Little Rascals. ‘George Burns and Grace Kelly, without Lewis, just Martin, and there’s no place like home.’ Name a team, a Dean, and a dream! Thus with the IBF, Art is living his dream and thanked the members for all our interest in this great hobby. The tonight show said goodnight and 73s!
Our final day, Sunday, September 2 was a day of delights, might, and heights! The delights, for anyone without breakfast or with, were the candy from John Bowker’s Candy Quiz. Next, the answer could be, it might be, a 590 station, signing on in 1929, not all that far from Boise would carry Disney stuff, but it’s mostly news. Answer, “what is KID?!” Also, the winner of the 2007 NRC Quiz. Answer, “Who is Scott Fybush?!” Finally, there was some time to ascend to Deer Point at 7100 hundred feet elevation north of Boise and past the fork in the road to see all of Boise’s TV and FM stations’ towers, except for KQXR-100.3. And that my friends is a WRAP, so thank you Frank, thank you Boise, and we’ll see you sometime when, sometime where in 2008! 73s to all and good DX!
Guests and Attending Members for Boise 2007: 31 which included registrants ID: Frank Aden, Bill Frahm, Art Gregory, Albert Hale, Ray Littrell OR: John Adams NJ: Bob Antoniuk NY: Scott Fybush, Rick Lucas FL: John Bowker, Ronald C. Gitschier, Mike Lantz and Lexie TX: Joe Gragg WA: Phil Bytheway, Don Voegele OH: George Greene CO: Wayne Heinen CA: Tari Livington Hughes, Dennis Smith TN: David Jones, Douglas Smith MS: Lina Jones, Mark Jones PA: John Malicky IL: Frank Merrill UT: Mike O’Riordan KS: Paul Swearingen NE: Ernest Wesolowski MA: Garrett Wollman ON: Wayne Ryan, David Whatmough