The following information comes from several sources, including FCC records, research provided to me by Barry Mishkind (www.oldradio.com) and documents that at one time existed at the KFXD site on Amity prior to the changes in ownership and the ultimate remodeling of the building. Unfortunately I do not know where some of these documents are now, but I had taken notes from them while I worked there in the late 90's.
-- Rockwell D Smith
On May 17, 1920 what was later to be licensed as KFXD started as an experimental station in Utah.
On September 2, 1925 KFXD was licensed under the authority of the Radio Division, Bureau of Navigation, Department of Commerce at 10 watts on 1460 kilocycles in Logan, Utah. It was owned at that time by L.H. Strong, a car dealer in Logan. This is the official date of the first license granted to station, and the date the call letters were assigned. Most accounts begin the KFX history on this date.
November 1925 the company name owning KFXD was changed to Service Radio Company.
Ownership changed on January 9, 1926 when Mr. Strong sold Radio Service Company.
In December of 1926, Radio and Electrical Service of Jerome, Idaho, owned by Frank E. Hurt, purchased Service Radio Company along with the station KFXD.
KFXD returned to the air March 5, 1927 from the top of the Jerome National Bank Building.
June 1, 1927, the newly empowered Federal Radio Commission assigned the station 1470 kilocycles, and allowed a power increase to 15 watts.
December 1, 1927 power was increased to 50 watts.
June 30, 1930 the station moved to Nampa.
On December 11, 1931, power was increased again to 100
April 12, 1932 KFXD moved its frequency to 1200 kilocycles.
June 4, 1935 power was increased to 250 watts during the daytime, and 100 watts at night. This was when the west self-supporting tower was constructed and the station's transmitter was moved to its current location on Amity Road.
November 20, 1939 nighttime power was increased to 250 watts.
On March 29, 1941 the frequency was changed again, this time to 1230 kilocycles.
The east tower self-supporting tower was constructed in 1946, with KFXD-FM on the mast still seen on the tower. This tower is part of the next change as well.
On February 26, 1947 KFXD moved to 580 kilocycles and increased power to 1000 watts utilizing a directional
antenna (both towers).
On June 6, 1952 power was increased to 5000 watts, directional only at night. This was when the two guyed
towers were added behind the two self-supporting towers.
And so it remained for many, many years. The original FM was short-lived, as was an early venture into TV in the early 50's. KFXD at 580 was a solid part of the radio heritage until a format and call letter swap was made a few years ago by Clear Channel. 580 now has the call letters KIDO and the KFXD call letters are now on 630.
Frank Hurt was involved in the ownership of KFXD until 1950 when he was killed in an automobile accident at the age of 60. His son, Ed Hurt continued on in ownership until 1962 when the station was sold for $225,000.
The following is from Gil Rose, Jr., and was sent to the History of Idaho Broadcasting Foundation on April 28, 2006. It has been slightly edited from the original in format only. No content has been chagned.
Thanks again for the pictures. The brick building with the KFXD letters brings back good memories. This was finished in about 1947 and was for KFXD AM 580 and FM 101.3.
Two broad based towers, 1,000 Watts for the AM. To compete with KIDO's new 5KW on AM 630, in 1950, KFXD obtained a construction permit for 5KW, which required an additional two towers. After the directional and non directional proofs were approved by the FCC, the higher power was put into service in March of 1952. One of the broad base towers was used during the day, thus a non directional 5KW operation on 580; coverage was superb.
My oldest Sister and I had fun playing on the nice green lawn and my Mom planted the flowers. The building was very nice, complete with spiral staircase to the upper level. Elevation of this building was just over 3,000 feet above sea level; Nampa, 2,492 and Boise Depot, 2,750. The radio studio was located at 1024 12th Avenue South. Before World War II, satellite studios were located near the Caldwell Park and in the Owyhee Hotel in Boise. The Main Studio in Nampa and satellite units were closed on Sundays. From 6A.M. to Noon Church Services from various Nampa denominations were broadcast. Sunday afternoon and evening, quite a few mystery and adventure programs from the Mutual Broadcasting out of New York. Sign off was at 11:30 every night.
In 1961, my Dad placed an STL into service---a 9 mile hop from Nampa to Amity Avenue Transmitter. I helped dig the deep hole for a 90 foot power pole--the Dish type unit was on top of pole; the other dish was mounted near the second floor window of the transmitter building. A lot of testing between Midnight and 6:00 A.M.---I sure had fun playing records most of the night at the Nampa Studio.
Most of KFXD's charm went away in Mid 1962 when Wayne Cornills and financial partners in the Midwest bought E.G. Wenrick Broadcasting Co d/b/a KFXD. Wenrick purchased XD from the Hurt Family in 1957. Mr. Wenrick from Iowa and partner Ken Kilmer had difficulty making the annual payments to the Hurt Family.
Wayne Cornills closed the Nampa Studio and discontinued the free air time on Sunday for various Churches. Wayne told my Dad that KFXD did not need a full time Chief Engineer, so Dad ended a 20 year career with KFXD. Two days later, he had a good job with KBOI Radio & TV.
If you opt to use any of this information on the KFXD History Web Site, you have my permission.
Gilbert Rose, Jr.
More from Gil Rose, Jr. -- From an e-mail May 03, 2006
I was reviewing the data on KFXD AM 580 and 101.3. I am not that good of a writer, but like you and Art Gregory, have a real interest. KFXD AM 580 performed very well due to a daytime non directional pattern and a 5KW Gates Transmitter (now Harris Interdyne). Moreover, performance was enhanced by an elaborate ground system on the daytime tower -- I remember four lines of top grade copper strapping -- about 700 lineal feet x 4 into a very fertile adjoining bean/sugar beet field. From 1953 to 1962, Dad hired a welding crew to restore the copper strapping after annual plowing. He did not give this information to Wayne Cornils.
From about 1972 to 1976, Wayne let me hire his D.J.'s to put Top 30 Music on my open reel tape. I asked that they use their big Ampex 350 Tape Machine and a good turntable. Have about fourteen 7" reels that still sound great. I was only charged $5.00/hr. Wayne Cornills always treated me fine, even though my Dad had left. After 1970, I passed the FCC First Class Radio Telephone test, which enabled me to perform maintenance work on the transmitter and do proof of performance work, as required by the FCC.
I had a good job as an Accountant with Albertson's, Inc. Headquarters in Boise -- 18 years -- so time did not permit adequate radio engineering even though I loved broadcasting much more than Albertson's, but the accounting paid the bills much better than KFXD.
I wish I had more first hand information about KFXD-TV. I do remember the good movies and using Ed's Telescope to view the Boise Valley. Must have had cleaner air back in 1953, as I could see the entire valley from a spot near the antenna.
For unknown reasons, Sportscaster and longtime salesman Doyle Cain was not interested in TV, and failed to sell the new medium as he should have. Channel 7, KIDO-TV started July 12, 1953. They put out a fine picture, without sideband filters and had the full cooperation of N.B.C. Their studio, transmitter and a 300 foot broadbase tower on Crestline Drive in the Boise Highlands. Channel 7 covered Boise, Nampa and Caldwell quite well, but in 1956, they moved to Deer Point -- leaving the Crestline Drive Building for a studio and business office.
Thanksgiving Day 1953 was the first day for KBOI Channel 2.
With CBS, the program line-up was not on a par with N.B.C.
Since Channel 2 began on Upper Deer Point with a 150' Tower, coverage was very good and the station started to prosper. Joe Albertson was one of the original stock holders.
Former Boise Mayor H. Westerman Whillock was the General Manager and C.E.O. My Dad worked full time for KBOI, Fall of 1953 to the Summer of 1957. His compensation with Boise Valley Broadcasters was General Stock. When KBOI Radio and KBOI TV split up, stock distribution was mandatory. This was the only real good money that my Dad ever made. Ed Hurt paid Dad his regular salary for doing the Chief Engineer duties at KFXD -- He worked some long days.
Hope you can use some of this history. I will attest to the accuracy.
Gilbert Rose, Jr.
Thank you, Gil ! (Rockwell Smith, Webmaster)