KOQ and KXD – Modesto’s First Radio Stations
Research Notes as of May 27, 2020: Bob Barzan
- I have requested original paperwork including the “Applicant’s Description of Apparatus” (Form 761) for the stations to the Commerce Department.
- KOQ and KXD first appear in the Radio Service Bulletin for May 1, 1922. Both are listed as new commercial stations in Modesto, California, both are assigned wavelength 360, both offer limited public service with no regular hours, and both are fixed stations offering no general public service to ships. KOQ is listed as being controlled by the Modesto Evening News with a range of 100 miles using a Westinghouse vacuum tube telephone system. The map coordinates for the station put it about 20 miles east of Turlock, but they are supposed to be approximate. KXD is listed as under the control of the Herald Publishing Company with a range of 100 miles using a composite vacuum tube telephone system.
Radio Service Bulletin, Bureau of Navigation, Department of Commerce, May 1, 1922, #61, page 3, accessed online May 25, 2020, https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DOC-338236A1.pdf
- Though the Radio Service Bulletin lists KOQ as being under the control of the Modesto Evening News, the Modesto Morning Herald announced on the front page of April 19, 1922 the opening of KOQ under its control. Probably a mix-up. The article is full of interesting information about the station:
- Telegram notification of the granting of limited commercial license was received on Friday, April 14, 1922. It read: “Washington, D. C. April 14, 1922. Morning Herald, Modesto, California. Broadcasting station license issued. Call letters KOQ repeat KOQ. Authorized to operate. D. B. CARSON, Commissioner.
- Installation of the equipment had begun the day before, the 18th, in and on the fire station on 10th
- First test broadcast was the evening of the 19th at 6:30 in the presence of city officials, and invited guests.
- The station’s allotted time was 6:30 to 7 pm weekdays and 1 to 2 pm Sundays, arranged by the Pacific Radio Trades Association.
- The station is in the “Inland Zone.”
- The station “has an output 10 watts of power for carrying the wireless wave and 10 watts for modulating the voice on the wave.” “The installation is based upon the initial design of GWK, the powerful transmitting plant of the Stockton Record.”
- Station assembled by Jacques D’Armand, licensed radio engineer
- The receiving equipment was provided by the Portable Wireless Telephone Company of Stockton.
- Operating range was 300 miles by day and 1500 miles by night.
Herald Radio Station on Air, Modesto Morning Herald, April 19, 1922, page 1, accessed May 26, 2020, newspapers.com
- In an editorial in the same edition of the Modesto Morning Herald, the paper thanks George Turner and Paul Oard both of the Portable Wireless Telephone Company of Stockton, and Mayor George Ulrich and the city council for providing the fire station, which was also city hall, for the radio station.
Our Call is KOQ, Modesto Morning Herald, April 19, 1922, page 4, accessed May 26, 2020, newspapers.com
- The next morning’s paper reports a member of the board of supervisors, the boy scout director, and the former newspaper owner and editor all spoke on the air. QSAs came in from up and down the coast. Modesto Radio Club members were in attendance. Page two of the same paper includes congratulations from several Modesto politicians and businessmen.
Modestans Hear KOQ’s Premier by Jacques D’Armand, Modesto Morning Herald, April 20, 1922, page 1, accessed May 26, 2020, newspapers.com
- Newspaper reports that more than 2,000 people came to a public radio demonstration of KOQ at the courthouse park. Photos and movies were made by Frank Andrews. The entire text of the mayor’s broadcast speech is printed.
Hundreds Hear Herald Radio Demonstration, Modesto Morning Herald, April 26, 1922, page 1, 2, accessed May 26, 2020, newspapers.com
- April 26, 1922, the Herald received information from Washington that the call letters have been changed from KOQ to KXD. The article also mentions the station is broadcasting on a wavelength of 345 meters. I can find no mention again of KOQ in Modesto papers.
Change Call of Herald Phone Station, Modesto Morning Herald, April 27, 1922, newspapers.com
Both stations are still listed in Commercial and Government Radio Stations of the United States, June 30, 1922, page 74 and others, accessed May 27, 2020
KOQ is noted as “Strike all Particulars” under Alterations and corrections in the list of radio stations of the United States, edition June 30, 1922, in Radio Service Bulletin, October 22, 1922, #66, page 7, accessed May 27, 2020,
- Over the next many months the Modesto Morning Herald has many articles and program listings about KXD as do other newspapers and magazines in California and across the country. I found the most interesting were:
- KXD was reported in several newspapers as having the world record for distance broadcasting with people in Ohio hearing the station and then later people on the east coast.
Modesto Radio Station Makes World Record, Stockton Independent, Vol. 122, #178, July 27, 1922, page 3, newspapers.com
- The station demonstrated the feasibility of radio reception while driving a car. They used a specially equipped Rickenbacker car on national tour. Herald Radio to Show Reception in Auto, Modesto Morning Herald, July 12, 1922, newspapers.com
- The station just seems to disappear from the newspapers by the end August 1923, and is listed as having been deleted between March 1 and April 30, 1924 in Radio Broadcast Magazine, Vol. 5, #3, July 1924, page 270, accessed May 27, 2020
Last newspaper reference is from the Modesto Evening News, October 15, 1923, page 4, where there is this little verse.
Get On the Air
Oh KXD where is thy voice
That charmed us once with music canned?
Is it like other voices loud
That often in the junk pile land?