Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The Sagebrush State

It's a moniker that has all the allure of "the Buckeye state" but none of the personality of "the Mighty 590", but Radio always had better branding than politics.

I hunted down a reputed record store this morning called Recycled records. Nice selection, and a very nice old box turntable for previewing. I picked up an Erase Erata remix EP and almost bought the Radiohead "Talk Show Host" import single, but opted not to drop the $10.

I drove around Reno afterwards trying to listen to 1400 KBDB-AM but above 1270 KBZZ-AM a local talker all I find are spanish stations. Evenualy I gave up and tried to get in K-Tahoe, 590 KTHO-AM but this too is inaudible in the neighborhood. KTHO almost lost their tower to a forest fire back in 2002. read about that here. They also have the bold position of being the third American radio station offered for sale on Ebay. Bidding started back in March of 2003 at $450,000. Which considering the last round of auctions is sadly a bargain.

I expected with the distant KTRB departure in Modesto that the RF haze at the bottom of the dial would clear somewhat but no dice. Maybe on the other side of the mountains...

Reno is a town built in the 1950s. The decor everywhere is a very indigenous art deco.. kind of like Cuba. The streets are lined with old Fords and Chevys. I actually saw a Ford Corcel sitting in front of a gas station for sale, only $1,200. And the motels all have large geometric neon lit signs, all very art deco leaning out above the roads. (pics here)

It is fairly certain that the first "licensed" radio amateur in Nevada was 6VI, operated by Mr. Willis Pressel. In the 1915 Department of Commerce Callbook he's listed with the address of "City Hall" here in Reno. it's generally assumed this is the location of his antenna. due to the location of his station's antenna which ran from the top of City Hall over to the Majestic Theater. Never to be left out of the game, The University of Nevada started a wireless station in 1916. I cant' find it's experimental calls but it became KOJ in 1922. It was revoked quickly because it was non-functional only 90 days later.

The first functional station 830 KDZK-AM was owned by the Nevada Machinery & Electric Company. It went live on July 21, 1922. Funding was difficult to maintain, but it's death blow was dealt by the Reno Musician's Union. In 1923 ASCAP began collecting royalties, even on the live performance of live music. The Reno Musicians Union was used as an enforcing arm which put a burden on the struggling new broadcaster.

...Now back to our regularly scheduled programming