Thursday, October 07, 2010

Your Daily '80s: High school radio, 1982

Do you remember rock 'n' roll radio?

Here's a little of how it went at North High School in Torrance, Calif. Or, we can put it this way . . .
Rock'n, rock'n'roll radio Let's go
Rock'n, rock'n'roll radio Let's go
Rock'n, rock'n'roll radio Let's go
Rock'n, rock'n'roll radio Let's go . . .

. . . to the wonderful world of 1982 at KNHS.

SADLY, KNHS left the airwaves in 1991. About all that survives of the voice of Torrance's North High -- at least that survives in cyberspace -- is this video. And the cache of a now-deleted history of the station on the school's entry on Wikipedia:
KNHS, was an FCC licensed FM radio station transmitting on 89.7 MHz, serving the Torrance, California area with a variety music format. KNHS was first licensed in the mid to late 1950s and ceased when a short-sighted TUSD allowed the station license to expire in 1991. The station originally broadcast with only one Watt and did not transmit with its full licensed power until 1972 when its studios and transmitter were moved to the second floor of the Industrial Arts building according to the High School newspaper The North Wind.

There was no professional management for the station and students of North High School ran the station, therefore the programming, educational value and financial earnings potential of the station was never realized. There was no engineer for the station except for a contract engineer who was only called on when something was known to be wrong.

In 1967, Mr. McKenzie managed KNHS activities, to include the broadcast operations, setting up and running the audio system for plays, and calling play-by-play for Saxon football games, sometimes even broadcasting from remote locations (other high schools). KNHS also had speakers at various parts of the campus, including the "quad," cafeteria, and other areas. During breaks and lunches, the speakers were turned on to let students hear the station. A "landmark" is the tower with the two omni-directional "halo" antennas at the top. The tower originally was above the old broadcast area by the cafeteria (a sound booth, the operations booth with a Gates audio console and Ampex tape recorders, and a music storage room). The theme song for basketball games was “Sweet Georgia Brown.” When KNHS moved in to the (then) new 2-story industrial arts building (with the auto repair area on the first floor), the antenna tower was also moved to the roof of the industrial arts building. Mr. Fields took over for Mr. McKenzie around the time KNHS moved to the industrial arts building. KNHS conducted monthly tests by turning on the transmitter and letting it stabilize, then a monitoring company was called to measure the frequency to comply with FCC regulations.

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