KPEN 101.3 FM

King’s Mountain Transmitter Site
Atherton, California

Circa August 1957

Gary Gielow and Dad (Photo)

Via Elliott Pisor:

This was taken about August 1957, prior to the first air date of October 27, 1957, on 101.3 FM. It shows co-founder Gary Gielow standing in front of the 1800s adobe hut used as an all-in-one lobby, studio and transmitter. He is alongside his father and their 50-foot tower, topped by an Andrew 2-bay antenna, boosting the RCA one-kilowatt transmitter to 1500 watts ERP.

The hut was hauled from near sea level to the top of King’s Mountain (Highway 35, south of 92) specifically for use by KPEN, and it exists today – albeit abandoned and buried in foliage. The truck visible in the picture did the hauling.

The truck mentioned by Elliott also carried the owners of KPEN to Idaho, where they picked up and hauled back KPEN’s first second-hand transmitter.

The site and transmitter were used for 22 months, after which the station boosted to 35 KW and moved to San Bruno Mountain near San Francisco Airport. For later history, see KIOI.

Watch Gary Gielow’s presentation on the history of KPEN from his talk at CHRS Radio Central (December 2014):


Notify of

1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Cheryl Bishop
Cheryl Bishop
22 December 2023 6:48 AM

I lived in the Bay Area (Monte Vista) during this time period (1958-1964) and KPEN was our favorite station. We loved it so much that when our family decided to move to Montana, we recorded some of our favorite songs onto our reel to reel recorder so we could play it in Montana. Thank you for being there!

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x