Thursday, January 08, 2015

KGY: Where The Cedars Meet The Sea

Back in the 1920s a Benedictine monk began experimenting with radio. According to the book The New Washington Father Sebastian Ruth was teaching radio at St. Martins College as early as 1921. The Encyclopedia of American Radio he was a "genuine renaissance man." There is little else written about him but it was his work that brought KGY into existence.

The KGY-AM call letters were issued on April 4, 192. It operated initially at 5 watts on on a wavelength of 450 meters and then 258 meters. They used a small shack for at least three years before building something resembling a proper studio in a log cabin. (Yes, a real log cabin, see below.) They were known in that time as “The log cabin station." and used the slogan "Where the cedars meet the sea.” In a strange coincidence, the same slogan was used by the city of Sea Girt, NJ.

It wasn't until 1932 that the station relocated it's facilities to the Capital Park Building at 11th and Capitol Way... an actual office building made of concrete and steel. the reason for the move was that Archie Taft took over the station. He already owned KOL-AM in Seattle. Archie was not like Father Ruth, he was not a "renaissance man" in any sense of the words. But he was a radio man and in 1934 the antenna moved to a 480 foot tower, and began operating at 2500 watts daytime, 1000 watts nighttime.  In 1935 both KOL and KGY joined the Mutual Don Lee Network.

In 1939, Tom Olsen, a newspaper reporter and native of Olympia, WA purchased 1240 KGY-AM. Olsen was a serious news guy and was involved in organizing the Capitol Radio News Bureau and had ownership stakes in other stations and some local papers in the region. The station was honored in 1997 by the state government of Washington. His daughter, Barbara Kerry still owned the station until 2006. She took over KGY in 1984 when her mother Theresa died. In 2014 her ingrate offspring sold it to Sacred Heart Broadcasting who began sat-casting as KBUP immediately. More here.