KYA Radio, San Francisco
Assorted Photographs
Circa 1930s through 1950s

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In January 2008, the Bay Area Radio Museum acquired via auction a collection of fifteen photographs bearing images of Radio Station KYA — its transmitter building and tower, various staff members, and studio facilities — apparently dating from the 1930s through the 1950s.

A selection of these photographs, some of which included notes on their reverse sides, and others that did not, are reproduced below.

VIEW A:

KYA Radio Building, Candlestick Hill

ABOVE: A view of the KYA transmitter building atop Candlestick Hill in the southeastern section of San Francisco. The building was designed for station owner William Randolph Hearst by Julia Morgan, and represents one of her more "plain" creations; she had also been commissioned to design Hearst's sprawling castle at San Simeon, among other projects he commissioned with the classically-trained Morgan over the years.
ORIGINAL SIZE: 2x3.5 inches.Return to top of page

VIEW B:

KYA Radio Staff

ABOVE: Members of KYA's staff. According to the hand-written legend on the back of the photograph, the men shown are (top row) Paul Schulz, Russ Pray, Toby Hamma and Joe Landells; (bottom row) Clair Morrison, Chrisman [no first name noted] and Bill Overstreet. According to the timeline history of KYA, Mr. Morrison was manager of the station beginning around 1928.
ORIGINAL SIZE: 2x3.5 inches.Return to top of page

VIEW C:

KYA Radio Studio

ABOVE: An unidentified studio at KYA. The location, which could be at Candlestick Hill or at either the Hearst Building or the Fairmont Hotel, is not noted on the photograph.
ORIGINAL SIZE: 2x3.5 inches.Return to top of page

VIEW D:

KYA Studio (Unidentified Subject)

ABOVE: An unidentified person, shown at a small console with microphone, telephone, turntables and phonograph records — as well as a bottle of Coca-Cola. Location unknown.
ORIGINAL SIZE: 4.5x3.75 inches.Return to top of page

VIEW E:

Carl Christiansen (KYA Engineer)

ABOVE: According to the hand-written notation on the back of this photograph, shown is:

"Engineer Dick Hills
Carl Christiansen
Control Room, Mark
Hopkins Hotel  KYA"

This photograph dates from after the Summer of 1958, when KYA moved from the Fairmont to the Mark Hopkins annex at 1 Nob Hill Circle, and perhaps significantly later, owing to the appearance of  cartridge recorders and well-stocked cart racks, as well as a 45 r.p.m. record on the turntable.

In March 2009, former KYA production engineer and promo producer Carl Grout (1973-1980) provided the following comment on the photo:

That picture is taken in the mid 1960s (as you mention - the obvious give-away is the cartridges). I worked in that control room, did board shifts there and recognize it well. From 1958 up until the early '60s the control room was over on the outside glass wall of the building. Then they moved the control room to the inside walls of the building, a series of four rooms in a square as below:

Production Room

Air Booth

Production Booth

Air Control Room

Other telltale notes of the location of that control room (hence the mid '60s) is the large air booth through the glass. The on-air booth next to the glass wall in the '50s/early '60s was a fairly small booth. Though the equipment in the room pictured was mostly changed by the time I started there, the board's counter was the same. (I've seen that view of the on air booth from this view point many many a time).

ORIGINAL SIZE: 3x3 inches.Return to top of page

VIEW F:

KYA Generator Room - Transmitter Basement

ABOVE: The generator room in the "transmitter basement" at the KYA building atop Candlestick Hill.
ORIGINAL SIZE: 4.5x3.75 inches.Return to top of page

VIEW G:

KYA Console In Hearst Building

ABOVE: This photograph of an audio mixing console and telephone-line switchboard includes the notation "KYA in Hearst Building" on the reverse. KYA was purchased by William Randolph Hearst in 1934, and was located in the Hearst-owned Examiner Building at Third and Market Streets in San Francisco from 1934 until July 1949, when the station moved to the Fairmont Hotel.
ORIGINAL SIZE: 4.75x3.75 inches.Return to top of page

VIEW H:

KYA Speech Rack - Fairmont Hotel

ABOVE: The RCA "Speech Rack" housed at KYA's facility in the Fairmont Hotel.
ORIGINAL SIZE: 3.5x4.5 inches.Return to top of page

VIEW I:

KYA Studio A Console

ABOVE: This photograph is annotated "Studio A Console" on the reverse. It may be the same console shown in the "Hearst Building Studio" photograph (above on this page).
ORIGINAL SIZE: 4.5x3.75 inches.Return to top of page

VIEW J:

ABOVE: Another angle on the KYA transmitter building and the base of the 450-foot Bethlehem Steel antenna tower, apparently taken on the same date as the first photograph (top), but showing the freshly- (or recently-) graded site, which would perhaps date the photograph to mid-1937; the station moved into this facility on May 15, 1937. Another view of the building, probably taken on the same date and showing the full height of transmitter tower, may be viewed by clicking here.Return to top of page
ORIGINAL SIZE: 3.75x4.5 inches.


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