In The Mailbox: Memories of 1390 KYAK Yakima

In the mailbox today was a nice letter from Don Gardner Jr. recalling memories of 1390 KYAK Yakima (later KLOQ) during the years his father Don Sr. was employed there. (Mike Cherry)

Mr. Cherry,


I found your name after conducting a search for first, KYAK radio and then a search for Yakima radio stations, 1950’s. Your name was attributed to a posting showing Yakima radio from 1948 reflecting 3 stations including KYAK, the others being KIMA & KIT and some specifics relative to the stations. (owners, broadcasting frequency, etc.)
My interest is because of my father’s employment at KYAK from January 1948 through 1956. I am now 75 years old and lived with my parents in Yakima from age 3 to age 12 and now with numerous memories of visits to the station in my youth it piqued my curiosity. My father’s primary role at the station was that of chief engineer having been hired after completing training at Edison Vocational Technical School on Capitol Hill in Seattle in 1947. (Now Seattle Community College) According to some notes I took with conversations with my father a number of years ago he received his broadcasting FCC license in December of 1947. His schooling was paid with the GI Bill after serving in the Army in the South Pacific during the War.
In that it was a small station, small market, his primary role again was that of the engineer but he also was an on-air broadcaster for the station doing mornings two days a week and afternoon slots two days a week for the DJ’s on their days off. I still remember when problems arose at the station and he would be there tending to repairs at 4:00 am in the morning so that the station could come back on air at their 5 or 6:00 am sign on. He was also the guy that got tasked with climbing the broadcast tower to replace bulbs. 
I have a picture of the main broadcast booth he worked in showing the mic, the multiple turntables, the hanging clipboard that he would read the news from after doing his own self editing from the Teletype machine. It also shows a bank of reel to reel machines in a rack. I still remember learning how to cue a specific song on an LP record so that it would play after he announced the title and artist on air. Pretty heady stuff for an 8 or 9 year old! I learned the difference between “magnetic” phono cartridges and “crystal” phono cartridges used in most consumer record players of the day. Pretty “techy” stuff for a grade school kid.
I also have a picture of the station personnel  setting up a booth for a remote broadcast at the Yakima Fairgrounds one year. I also have a reel to reel tape of a live broadcast they did for a group from Hawaii called “Hawaii Calls.” If memory serves me it was broadcast on the “Mutual Broadcast System?”
Then in, I believe, 1956 with the station in the process of altering its format, changes in personnel and their call letters changing to KLOQ  my father decided to come to Seattle to look for a change. He initially applied at radio stations here and was offered employment though as I recall it would have necessitated a move to Vashon Island where the towers and such were located. He ultimately accepted a position at Boeing and retired there in the 80’s.
Thanks for the Yakima Radio posting from 1948. It brought back memories. If you have any other trivia relative to this period that would be great. I have more but I have gone on long enough for now.
Don Gardner
Son of Donald Gardner
Bonney Lake, WA

Author: Mike Cherry

retired broadcaster: on-air, MD, PD, asst PD, Prod Mgr, IT, station technician/engineer, pioneer Internet webcaster, station installation/maintenance; 12 years in commercial radio, 17 years volunteer in campus/community radio in B.C., Alberta & Wash. Amateur radio operator & "DXer" specializing in AM night-time DX, short-wave DX/listening & remote SDR DXing/listening
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3 thoughts on “In The Mailbox: Memories of 1390 KYAK Yakima

  1. I have a “microphone” radio, promotional item that has KYAK 1390 MBS. It still plays, I found it years ago in an antique store in Twisp, Wa.

  2. Robert McCaw, of the McCaw family, which owned Channel 13 in Tacoma and later the McCaw Cellular telephone company.

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