The Short History of Radio Station KLFF "Clef Radio" in Mead, Washington
Radio station KLFF, owned by the Crown Broadcasting Co., was on the air for just under four years and has the distinction of being one of two AM radio stations to have broadcast from the northside of Spokane. The studio and transmitter facilities were located at East 2221 Lincoln Road, the city of license was Mead, Washington, and it broadcast on 1590 kHz during the daytime with a power of 1000 watts. The station was on the air from 25 July 1962 at 3:15 PM to sometime in 1966 with a six-week hiatus in the fall of 1964.
Ralph O. (Dick) Dailey and Edward O. (Ed) Jacobson were the station owners and managers when the station first started broadcasting, and Jack Miller became the station manager in November 1964. Dick was the news director for KHQ TV, and Ed was the sales manager for KHQ TV before starting KLFF. Mr. Miller had previously worked for KFDR at Grand Coulee, Washington and for KTIX at Pendleton, Oregon.
Jack Allen worked as an announcer for the station from November 1964. Before coming to KLFF, Mr. Allen was the road director for Hollywood comedian, Dave Gardner and was associated with radio stations in Nashville, Tennessee and Washington, DC.
Art Blum, chief operator for Cherry Creek Radio of Tri-Cities (KONA-AM-FM and KZHR Radio), worked at KLFF from June 1963 to June 1964. (click on the icon in the upper left for a full view of Art's business card) It was his first job after graduating from the William B. Ogden Radio Operational Engineering School, working for $1.25 per hour and later $1.50 per hour under Dick Dailey and Ed Jacobson. Art notes that he worked in sales, did some announcing, was the PSA director, and changed the marker lights once after being talked into doing it. They offered him a six-pack of beer even though Art does not drink beer.
The FCC records state that the transmitter was a Gates BC-1T and the antenna was 160 feet tall, a total of 165 feet from the ground to the top.
Burglars broke in to the station in February 1966 and "made a big haul in broadcasting equipment, including tone arms, tape cartridges, microphones, records, and turntables." It is not known if the station remained on the air after that.
According to news releases, the station featured news, public service programs, and popular and country music. Stan Weisbeck recalls that they originally started with a Top 40 format and later changed to country.
Art Blum confirmed that the station used the slogan "Clef Radio." In the Spokane Chronicle dated 22 November 1963, a program titled "Clef Classified" was listed under KLFF's entry in the Spokane radio station list. The station used the slogan "Clef Radio" in the audio clip on the right.
Art Blum also verified that the building in the picture (taken June 2005) to the left is the original studio building. (Click on it for a larger view.) According to Art, the building originally sat on the Division Street side of the Northtown Shopping Center and was used as a temporary, inexpensive, wooden structure for a bank while their permanent building was under construction. Ed Jacobson and Dick Dailey were able to buy it cheaply and moved it to the present site, and made it into their studio. The window on the right as you are looking at the building was where the receptionist, the traffic personnel, and secretary were located. The smaller window on the left was Ed Jacobson's sales office. The lobby was located through the door in the middle. The control room was straight ahead at the back of the building, and the transmitter was on the left side of the control room. The restroom facilities were on the right. An investigation of the back side of the building did not reveal any remains of an antenna, but could have been missed. Most of the place was overrun with weeds and a family is living there now.
It seems that KLFF did not have much of a chance from the get go. Besides being a daytime only station, it was only 1000 watts on a high end of the band frequency and as a result the station did not get out very well. According to various reports, the station did all right in the area just north of Spokane, but had a hard time with noise in the downtown district. The signal was barely usable in the Valley and on Spokane's South Side. The station never attracted enough of an audience to become a financial success.
Written By Bill Harms, Updated 26 August 2007
- Anderson, Jerry. Spokane Valley, Washington. E-mail correspondence and interview. September 2007 and other times.
- Blum, Art. Kennewick, Washington. E-mail correspondence and interview. 15 May 2005 and 20 June 2005.
- "Burglars Steal Radio Equipment." Spokane Chronicle, Spokane, Washington, 10 February 1966.
- Dellwo, Robert D. Letter to the FCC. Spokane, Washington. 8 January 1964.
- MacKelvie, Art. Spokane Valley, Washington. Interview by Bill Harms. 10 July 2007.
- "Radio Programs." Spokane Chronicle, Spokane, Washington, 22 November 1963.
- "Radio Station Back On The Air." Spokesman-Review, Spokane, Washington, 7 November 1964.
- "Radio Station Debut Delayed." Spokesman-Review, Spokane, Washington, 26 July 1962.
- "Radio Station Is Back On The Air." Spokane Chronicle, Spokane, Washington, 7 November 1964.
- "Radio Station KLFF Is Ready." Spokesman-Review, Spokane, Washington, 24 July 1962.
- Standard Broadcast Station Construction Permit for KLFF. Washington, DC. File number BP-14,062. 25 January 1962.
- Standard Broadcast Station License for KLFF. Washington, DC. File Number BL-9513. 5 February 1963.
- "Station KLFF Set to Operate." Spokane Chronicle, Spokane, Washington, 9 July 1962.
- Weisbeck, Stan. Spokane, Washington, E-mail correspondence, April and May 2005.