This is the KRLA History section of
The Broadcast Archive

Maintained by: Barry Mishkind - The Eclectic Engineer
last update: 5/21/04

Yes, we know the KRLA call sign is no longer on 1110. However, there are few stations in the country that have as interesting a history as KRLA. From a small country radio station to a Major Market powerhouse ... and then into a long decline ... the history of KRLA is fascinating. For a great look at the DJs who made KRLA great, I can do no better than refer you to Bill Earl's book, Dream House.

A picture tour of KRLA

KDIS - Pasadena, CA
1110 kHz - 50/20 kW, DA-2

Basic Information: Call letter sequence: KPAS - KXLA - KRLA - KSPN - KDIS
First Licensed: September 9, 1941 or February 7, 1942
Original Facilities: 5 kW at 1110 kHz
First Day of Broadcast: February 8, 1942
License "pulled" 1964
Relicensed: November 26, 1979


KRLA was a legendary station in the Los Angeles market. Perhaps, around the country KFWB or KHJ are better known. But in Los Angeles, there was no more creative a spot on the dial as 1110.

Especially during the late 1950s and early to mid-1960s, when it was battling KFWB for the "Top Rocker" spot, KRLA was indeed a major force. After KHJ introduced "Boss Radio" in 1965, KRLA found competing in the format rougher, and when the license was put in jeopardy, it got worse yet, financially. Oddly, as is often the case, the financial difficulties opened the way for some very creative people to come through the station, and the programming in the later 1960s and 1970s ranged from "Bubblegun" rock to "underground" music to oldies and then talk. Possibly due to the "passing" of AM radio as a major music force, the station was never able to fully regain its former status, although several entrepreneurs made efforts to milk what they could from KRLA's image.

Today, 1110 in LA is an affiliate of Disney satellite radio, KDIS, and seems almost disconnected from the earlier station history. But for those who worked there in the 1960s and early 1970s, KRLA was as exciting to work for as to listen to.

Station History
(Pictorial tour of the physical plant)

1941: KRLA began in late 1941 ... as 5000 watt KPAS (Pasadena) owned
Burke family in Santa Ana.
11/ /42: Power increased to 10 kW
  /  /45: Purchased by Pacific Coast Broadcasting (Loyal King)
/  /45: Calls changed to KXLA
9/1/59: Purchased by Eleven-Ten Broadcasting, Inc. (Jack Kent Cook)
9/1/59: Calls changed to KRLA
9/3/59: Power increased to 50/10 kW, DA-2 - Installed Continental 317 transmitter
 /  /64



License "pulled" and granted to Oak Knoll Broadcasting. (See below!) This corporation was set up as a non-profit to hold the license when it was taken from Jack Kent Cooke for violations of the FCC Rules on contest fraud, and foreign control of a US radio station. Some of the most creative parts of KRLA history occurred during this time, both on the air and in the accounting department.
Installed Collins (10 kW) auxiliary.
11/26/79: License granted to KRLA, Inc (Bob Hope, et al.)
/81 Installed Continental 317C2
3/2/85: Purchased by Greater Los Angeles Radio, KRLA division.


Transmitter site moved to Irwindale and  installed Continental 317C2.


Call letters changed to KSPN
Installed Nautel ND-50


Purchased by Infinity.
Purchased by CBS.


CBS and Infinity merge


Purchased by ABC/Disney.


Calls changed to KDIS

James C. Caillouette MD recalls the scramble for the License: When Jack Kent Cook lost the license for KRLA in 1964, 21 corporations were formed and applied for that very valuable license. The number soon dwindled to five. Among the five were Western Broadcasting Co. which was Bob Hopes company and Pasadena Broadcasting for which I was Vice President. We battled each other for the license until 1979, when the FCC appointed a judge to resolve the issue. He called each of the five company lawyers before him and said that if the five could not come to an understanding within two hours he would award the license to a black applicant. The lawyers met on the steps for about twenty minutes and returned to the judge telling him the five companies would join together to run the station. After that, Hope kept pushing to buy the station for his daughter Linda ... which he finally did. That episode kept a flock of FCC lawyers and FCC engineers busy for about 15 years. Those were the days when KRLA dropped small transistor radios tuned to 1110...with the volume turned up full in mail boxes all over LA county ... and gave out badges that said KRLA....Stick it in your ear.....

Some information courtesy: Chris Hayes, KABC.