KPPC AM 1240


I've written what is so far a 7-page history of KPPC, which could get longer, depending on how much more information I find, especially on its early years.

I would like to point out that in the early years, KPPC was on 1310 kilocycles and had the channel to itself until 1927, when it shared time with KELW in Burbank. In early 1928, KPPC moved to 950-AM and divided time with KPSN of the Pasadena Star-News, until 11-11-1928...That's when KPPC was moved to 1200-AM, and then on November 15, 1929 to 1210-AM, where it shared time with KFXM in San Bernardino.

Yes, KPPC was started by the Pasadena Presbyterian Church, run by church volunteers as a non-commercial station, to broadcast church services on Sundays and Wednesday nights...Some secular programs were also broadcast from time to time in the 1930s..

KPPC was 50 watts from its first broadcast on December 25, 1924 until April 4, 1936, when power was increased to 100 watts. The station then stopped using its first longwire transmitting antenna atop the church roof...With KPSN at the Star-News next door going dark in 1931, KPPC strung a new flattop 'T' wire antenna between the old KPSN towers. Power remained at 100 watts until 1985, when the station was granted 250 watts!

From 1929 onward, KPPC-1210 shared time with KFXM-1210, ( both stations moved to 1240 kc in March of 1941), until June 13, 1944. KFXM moved from 1240 to 590 in 1947, and a new station in San Bernardino took over the 1240 spot on the AM dial.

June 13, 1944 was when the FCC changed the status of KPPC from a 'shared-time' station, to 'specified hours'. Before June 13, 1944, KFXM had to go off the air when KPPC was broadcasting. Under the new plan, stations on 1240 and adjacent channels like KGFJ-1230, and later 1260 in San Fernando had to protect KPPC's signal from interference...That wasn't much of a problem in the '40s, as KGFJ was still only 100 watts, possibly 250 day, haven't really checked that out yet...But in the '60s and '70s it became a different story. Under the plan, KPPC would broadcast Sundays and Wednesdays during its specified number of hours, but KGFJ-1230 in Los Angeles had to lower its power to 100 watts to reduce the amount of interference to KPPC and the 1240 station in San Bernardino had to do the same. Later, when the daytime power of the San Bernardino station was allowed to increase to 1,000 watts, they had to lower their power to 500 watts when KPPC operated. In the late-'40s, KGIL-1260 came on the air in San Fernando, posing another interference problem to KPPC. This new station, which had a directional antenna pattern in later years, had to use its night directional array on Sundays when KPPC came on the air. All this protection for 100-watt KPPC was due to a "grandfather" clause in FCC rules and regulations. Since KPPC came on the air before KGFJ and 1240 in San Bernardino, it deserved to be protected from interference from the other adjacent and co-channel stations nearby. The other station owners hated it, but they abided by those rules, which lasted till 1985!

During the Great Depression, KPPC was on the air only about 8 and 3/4 hours per week! The 1938 schedule showed that KPPC was broadcasting on Sundays from 9 am to 1 pm and 6:45 pm to 9 pm, and back on the air Wednesdays from 7 pm to 9:30 pm. That went up to about 22 or so hours per week in the 1970s and '80s. After 1985 with the 250 watt power, KPPC was mostly a night time only station, but on air all day Sundays.

In the fall of 1990, the Star-News ordered KPPC to take down the old KPPC antenna and towers that had been up there since 1936 (the towers since 1925 from the newspaper's KPSN days)! So, KPPC began transmitting with a new wire antenna that was partially on the roof of the church.

As for KPPC's demise, I read that there was one official 'good-bye' broadcast on the night of April 19, 1996, which lasted 4 hours with guests and call-ins, etc. I read that the owners of the new KYPA-1230 (ex-KGFJ) wanted to simulcast with KPPC and 1220-AM in Pomona...But they apparently felt the church, where the KPPC transmitter and antenna were located, was charging excessive rent, and they also felt the 1240 coverage by KPPC wouldn't help them all that much...Is that story correct?

Between April 19, 1996 and September of 1996, KPPC-1240 went on the air ONLY on Sundays for one hour per week!! It seems that the station that refused to die continued broadcasting for 5 more months. KPPC-AM at 1240 on the dial was able to go on each Sunday morning for the 11 a.m. till Noon broadcast of the service from Pasadena Presbyterian Church. The license still allowed for the transmitter to be turned on each Sunday morning for one hour, then turned off when the church service ended. KPPC had come full circle during its last year on the air!! Its sole purpose once again was to broadcast the Sunday church services of its founder from the site where the station first went on the air Christmas Day of 1924. The station remained silent the other 6 days of the week.

I heard that the church tried to negotiate a deal to buy the station back and operate it again only for the church services. But this deal fell through. The last broadcast of KPPC-1240 took place in September of 1996, after yet another Sunday morning broadcast from Pasadena Presbyterian Church, nearly 72 years after the station first went on the air. It remains off the air to this day. (I still need to determine which day in September 1996 was KPPC's final day on the air!)

But was this to be the end for 1240-AM in Pasadena? After going dark in late-1996 with a call change to KXPA, group owners (of KYPA-1230 and KWPA-1220) changed the call letters again in February of 1997 to KBLV (K-Believe). Sounds like they were going to try and get 1240 on the air again to simulcast their Personal Achievement format.

However, it looks like the AM radio station on 1240 KHz. licensed to Pasadena was gone forever. The FCC deleted the license and call sign for KBLV-1240 on July 11, 1997 at the request of the licensee. Maybe it was a radio station that had outlived its time and couldn't make it in today's highly competitive Los Angeles radio market. The real history of this station ended with the last broadcast of KPPC-AM in September of 1996. KPPC lasted 71 years and 9 months.
If the station had been able to stay on the air, KPPC would've had its 80th anniversary in December of this year [2004].

Their first license had a "number BR-34" assigned to it in December of 1924, but that was for some book-keeping purposes at the Department of Commerce. There had already been some 500 radio stations that went on the air alone in 1922! Though many of those later went out of business, there's no way that KPPC was in the top 100 stations in the nation to go on the air.

Hope I didn't bore you too much with the details I had, and hope some of you enjoyed reading it...Any thoughts, comments, additional information, is always welcome.

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