Fountain Valley News - Your Hometown Community Newspaper

The First Radio Stations


As you turn on that radio you may not think about how long radios have been listened to by the public. In the early 1920's radio stations were rare, and many had private receivers where they could listen to distant stations. Often this was in an attic away from noise, and up high to get a better signal. It was seen by many as a passing fad.

In December, 1924 Colorado Springs got its first station. It broadcast from a tower in downtown Colorado Springs, where Penrose Public Library now stands. Denver had four stations, the newest was KOA, the others KEEL, KFLE, and KFUP. KOA started in December, 1924 just before Christmas. The Rocky Mountain Broadcast company was part of General Electric's radio stations. It was their third station. The first was in Schenectady, New York, WGY. The other one was in Oakland California, KGO.

These early stations mainly used local talent for their broadcasts. Many had grand studios, but most used some local facility. KFUM, the Colorado Springs station used Perkins Hall on the Colorado College campus, as well as the Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind. KOA in Denver used various churches as well as their own studio. The stations were usually on the air only three or four hours a day, generally in the evening. Officials from state government were often featured.

The newspapers carried lists of known radio stations. The signals from KOA were reported to be received as far away as Mexico City and Alaska. Most of the stations were east of the Mississippi. Chicago had several stations which could be picked up along the front range. Columbus, Ohio, Dallas, Texas, Davenport, Iowa, and Kansas City, Missouri were the stations normally listened to in Colorado.

KFUM eventually became KVOR, and some time back they moved over to a different frequency. Some of you know Fountain has had a radio station of its own. I used to know the station owner from back in the 1970's, and one of the announcers was even an old school chum.


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