AM XTRA KEJK KBIG KGOE KIEV KGRB KHJ KGBS KTNQ XPRS KRKD KRLA KEZY KPPC KFYF KFOX KUTY KWIZ KROQ KZLA KWOW
FM KNX KKHR KMET KGAB KKBZ KIQQ KQLZ KHJ FM KMPC KKDJ KWST

KGBS AM:
THE GIANT 1020


By David Fiorella
Transmitter Info (*): Jim Hilliker; Where Are They Now comments: Dave Andrews

KGBS was owned by the Storer Broadcasting Company and located on Western Avenue in Hollywood. In the early 1960s they had a "Beautiful Music" format, also playing movie and show themes (like Oklahoma!), and instrumentals (like The Grand Canyon Suite.) Their main identification theme song was The Sound of Music by Julie Andrews.

In the spring of 1965 KGBS switched to Country music. Storer spent a lot of money on one-page newspaper ads with a whole list of Country stars in the Valley News and Greensheet, Los Angeles Times and the now-defunct Los Angeles (Herald) Examiner. They said it would be "an experience in Country music" with the endorsement of all the Country stars at the time.

KGBS was known as The Giant 1020 when it was a Country station. The identifying song at the top of the hour from 1965 to 1969 was the beginning part of the theme song from the movie The Big Country with an announcer voice ID'ing KGBS at the same time. Some of the names associated with KGBS were hosts Bob Kingsley and Hugh Cherry, and newscaster Frank Evans.

KGBS aired The Pat Buttram Show every morning from 7:20 to 7:30. It consisted of Pat Buttram telling one line Country jokes -- similar to Rodney Dangerfield, but upbeat! You can imagine Mr. Haney of Green Acres standing by his horse driven wagon when you heard Pat Buttram do his show. (He starred as Mr. Haney at the same time.)

KGBS had one weakness. due to FCC licensing restrictions, it could only broadcast from Sunrise to Sunset. If you were listening to KGBS-AM you were out of luck when the station would leave the air as it faded out with the theme song at sundown. They would say, "KGBS leaves the air for now, but will return at sunrise the next day for the best in Country music." The solution was to eventually buy an FM outlet that was licensed to stay on 24 hours a day. They soon did just that, and located KGBS-FM at 97.1. When the station on the AM side would go off the air (or was in the process of going off) they would invite you to tune over to 97.1 for continous Country music. When KGBS AM was on the air it always simulcast with KGBS-FM. If sundown was at 4:45 Pacific Standard Time in November so be it. If sundown was at 8:07 Pacific Daylight time in July, so be it.

At the top of the hour on KGBS they would identify the station as such: "This is 1020 AM and 97.1 FM; KGBS AM and FM Los Angeles!" When KGBS-AM would sign off, they would identify KGBS-FM as such: "At 97.1 this KGBS-FM Los Angeles."

* During their daytimer days, usually on Sunday night, KGBS-1020 was allowed to return to the air from about 9 pm till 2 a.m. Monday morning, while KDKA-1020 in Pittsburgh, PA was off the air Monday mornings. KGBS's two-tower 50kw direction antennas were in the vicinity of Lynwood. When KTNQ went 24 hours with a 50 kw directional pattern day and night, they built new towers in the area of City of Industry.

Some of the songs on the KGBS playlist:

Waiting In Your Welfare Line (Buck Owens), Tonight I'm Coming Home (Buddy Kagle), I've Got A Tiger By The Tail (Buck Owens), A Tombstone Every Mile (Dick Curless) Giddyup Go (Red Sovine), Girl On The Billboard (Del Reeves), Big Iron (Marty Robbins), Happiest Girl in The Whole USA (Donna Fargo) 20th Century Drifter Marty Robbins) Don't Come Home A'Drinkin (Loretta Lynn), Do You Believe This Town (Roy Clark), Is Anyone Going to San Antone (Charley Pride), Does My Ring Hurt Your Finger? (Charley Pride) , Carmen (Marty Robbins), Smoke, Smoke, Smoke That Cigarette (Tex Williams), Another Day (Another Dollar in the Hole) (Tex Williams), and I Know One (Charley Pride). Occasionally they would flash back to Six Days on the Road with Dave Dudley.

In 1969 they switched to a Pop type format with a rock/pop flavor to it; two examples are Those Were The Days (Mary Hopkin) and Up, Up And Away (The Fifth Dimension). They also played Latin-flavored pop acts (like Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass and Brasil 66), plus a mixture of Jan and Dean and some movie themes. Generally, rock/pop music covered the period from 1969 to about 1973. Bill Ballance had a female forum show which was, for the most part, a talk show with some music. This would be on in the morning.

KGBS went back to Country music under the guise of Gentle Country from 1973 or '74 to December 1976. Its music now consisted of tunes like 20th Century Drifter (Marty Robbins), Don't Get Angry (Donna Fargo), plus flashbacks like Eddy Arnold's Lonely Again, and Lincoln Park Inn by Bobby Bare.

Some songs heard on KGBS ('65-'69) heard in '73-'76 as flashbacks: Flowers on the Wall (Statler Brothers), Don't Build For Me (No Paper Mansions) (artist unknown), Phantom 309 (Red Sovine), Whats He Doing in my World? (Eddy Arnold), Old Rivers (Walter Brennan), Walking After Midnight (Patsy Cline) and I Can See The Lights of Albuquerque (artist unknown). Please note that anything that Donna Fargo made was classified in Gentle Country.

In late 1976, KGBS AM became KTNQ -- The New Ten-Q, playing Top-40 and competing with KHJ. KGBS FM stuck around until Ten-Q went Spanish in August 1979. Then, they switched over to AC KHTZ FM, taking the entire Ten-Q staff with them.

WHERE ARE THEY NOW?: KTNQ is still Spanish and retains those calls. KHTZ briefly became KBZT (K-Best) in the mid-80s. Then, the Classic Rock format was born and 97.1 became KLSX -- "The Station That Spells Classics." Ironically, it again picked up several displaced DJ's in 1987 (this time from the just-deceased KMET), and became known as "The Station That Hasn't Forgotten What Rock 'n' Roll Is All About." Although KLSX still retains those call letters, it is now strictly FM talk.

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