This is the KCBS History section of
The Broadcast Archive

Maintained by: Barry Mishkind - The Eclectic Engineer
last update: 11/9/09

A Pictorial Tour of KCBS

KCBS history

Here are some images and recollections from the folks who worked at KCBS, the 50 kW flamethrower in San Francisco.

KCBS traces its history from what is arguably one of the very first broadcast stations, Charles "Doc" Herrold's station. With a history stretching from 1909, this facility is 100 years old!

Since 1953, KCBS has been operating off of four towers some 25 miles or so north of San Francisco, at Novato, California


In 1950, the transmitter site was moved to Novato, 
approximately 25 miles north of San Francisco.

The four tower array at Novato sends as much as 6 V/m at 1 km, the equivalent of 125 kW, to the SE.

This pump is necessary to keep the field from being underwater. The elevation is 6 feet under sea level!

Visitors are welcomed to an immaculate site, now nearly 60 years old, but looks like it was built recently.

The KCBS DX-50 (Serial #2) Transmitter and Phasor.

The auxiliary transmitters until 2007, an MW-50 and a Continental 316B, now gone.

This is the KCBS equipment racks ... with the new IBOC gear in the far left rack.

To ensure the power feeds are as clean as possible, KCBS engineers have built custom monitoring gear. 

As many stations in the early 2000s, KCBS went "digital" with the IBOC system.

The transmitter site is fully equipped. It even has a studio, in case the San Francisco studios have to be evacuated, staff can come right to the transmitter and keep the station on the air.


My sincere thanks to Dave Wigfield for his help and some photos of the KCBS site and to Gil Gillivan for his information and pictures.