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Radio station KIEV was a city fixture

July 25, 2008|By KATHERINE YAMADA

For years, one of Glendale’s most recognizable landmarks was radio station KIEV’s set of steel towers behind the Hotel Glendale, at the corner of Glendale Boulevard and Broadway.

KIEV began broadcasting in 1931, during the Depression years, on 250 watts of power. The station was established in 1929 by Reed Callister and David Cannon, said Ron Beaton, whose family owned the station from 1961 to 1998. It was Callister, a lawyer from Utah, who purchased the towers from KNX in Hollywood. A blacksmith installed them for $35 and Callister asked the hotel for free rent in exchange for advertising.

Hotel Glendale was built in 1924 by Charles W. Ingledue, a businessman and civic leader, and several of his associates. Its expansive lobby set it apart from the other hotels built in the Los Angeles suburbs during the 1920s, according to Arcadia Publishing book “Glendale Postcards.” The hotel had previously been home to another radio station, the short-lived KGFH, which was there from 1927 to 1929. The new station, KIEV, became a fixture at the hotel, occupying the basement for 30 years before moving to the first floor.

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Shortly after the station went on the air, announcers began asking listeners to call in with their musical requests — an unusual idea at the time. The response was so massive, that the phone company filed a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission.

The station set out to attract energetic and colorful personalities and through the years radio personalities such as Dick Whittinghill, Don Rickles, Sam Benson and Dick Sinclair entertained listeners, according to information provided by the Beaton family. In addition to disc jockeys, KIEV had a variety of programming, including religious and inspirational topics, from many of Glendale’s leading churches.

In 1933, in the midst of the Depression, KIEV set aside time each day for speakers from the National Recovery Administration (NRA), according to an August 1933 issue of the Glendale News-Press.

Cal Cannon, who later served as the city’s mayor, came on as station manager in 1946.

William Beaton purchased KIEV in 1961 and after many years of effort, the FCC granted the station’s request for an increase in power. They began operating from a new transmitter on a hill near Eagle Rock.

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