A final sign-off
J.A. "Jimmy" Johntz Jr., 90, of Boise, died Friday, July 30, 2010 in a Boise hospital.
The History of Idaho Broadcasting is very sad to report that the
Foundation's first member, James A. "Jimmy" Johntz Jr., 90, of Boise, passed
away Friday, July 30, 2010 in a Boise hospital.
A memorial service was held Wednesday, August 4, 2010 at the
Alden-Waggoner Funeral Chapel in Boise.
Jimmy started his broadcast career in the 1930s at Boise High School as a
member of the "Radio Club" along with member Ralph Frazer, who is Jimmy's
same age. Jimmy then went on to get a degree in Electrical Engineering at
Stanford, graduating with honors. During his summers home, Jimmy worked for
KIDO radio as a staff engineer, and then got hired fulltime at KIDO, taking
over for Chief Engineer Harold Toedtemier when "Teddy" joined the military
at the start of World War II.
In the mid to the late 1940's, Jimmy helped build KIDO-FM, the state's first
FM station, and was their first Chief Engineer.
In 1947, he was hired by KDSH (which in 1955, became KBOI Radio) as Chief
Engineer. Once at KDSH, Jimmy was responsible for the following major
1. Increased the KDSH's power from 1KW to 5KW.
2. Pioneered the Deer Point transmitter site, and built the first
commercial broadcast tower and transmitter building on the mountain.
3. Designed and built KBOI-TV, signing it on the air on November 25,
4. On KBOI-TV's first day on the air, Jimmy engineered Idaho's first
live sports broadcast where Boise High played Nampa in a High School
5. Increased KBOI-TV to maximum power in 1956.
6. Improved KBOI radio and television's studio facilities, adding
7. Built the state's oldest FM station, KBOI-FM (now KQFC) 50 years
ago! KQFC will celebrate 50 years on the air on November 1st of this year!
8. Broadcast the State's first stereo programming using KBOI-AM for one
channel, and KBOI-FM for the second channel!
9. Broadcast the State's first "multiplex" stereo programs on KBOI-FM.
10. Built the state's first color television facilities on KBOI-TV.
11. Brought live network television programming to Boise using a microwave
system that connected KBOI-TV in Boise to KSL-TV in Salt Lake City.
12. Built the State's first (and only) 50,000 watt Radio station (KBOI-AM)
in June of 1968.
13. (working with Westerman Whillock) Hired the State's first Female News
Reporters and Anchor People.
14. Hired the State's first African American Anchor person (Marty Hill in
15. Worked for KBOI AM-FM-TV for 36 distinguished years (1947-1983).
As you can plainly see, Jimmy Johntz was a GIANT in Broadcasting in this
State. He deserves to be honored to the fullest extent we can; and our
Foundation is committed to doing just that, both now, and in the future.
We will never forget our friend Jimmy Johntz, and all he did to advance the
broadcasting industry in the state of Idaho. We wish to send our sincere
condolences to his wife Willa, son (and Member) Andy, and to his other son
Kevin, and their families.
Thank you Jimmy. May God Bless you and your family.
The History of Idaho Broadcasting Foundation Inc.