September 19th, 2012

Think About It……..                                                          September 19. 2012

The month of September is a very special month at KSRM Radio.  It is our Anniversary!

KSRM…Radio 92 signed on the air in September of 1967 so that makes this year 2012 our 45th Anniversary. Forty-five years of continuous service to the Kenai Peninsula. My goodness how time does fly! In-fact, that ‘s almost three generations who have grown up with us at KSRM “Radio 92”.

The application to the Federal Communications Commission for and AM radio station to operate on 920 Kilocycles at 5000 watts was made by Solid Rock Ministries, operators of a Summer Bible Camp just east of Soldotna. Things change and now, it’s 920 Kilohertz, not kilocycles as it was way back then. The first GM of the station was Ray Mainwaring who lived in Kasilof and John Davis took over as GM, five months later, on February 1st, 1968. The AM station was purchased by KSRM, Inc. in 1972. The corporation was founded by Walter Stephan, Bob Clay and Dave Goodwin, three Anchorage and Peninsula businessmen and now deceased.

In those early years, there were not enough potential listeners on the Peninsula to support an AM radio station so only the dedication of these men and the GM kept the station on the air. As Kenai/Soldotna and the Peninsula grew, in population, it wasn’t long until KSRM was an integral part of the Peninsula community and became a successful operation.

There are probably still a few old timers will remember some of those early on-air broadcasters: Ty Clark, Bert McAllister, Jim Brooks, Neil Phelps-Munson and even a guy named Merrill Silorski who first joined KSRM in 1975. Sound Off hit the airwaves, first, back in 1968 and Tradio came along in early 1969. KWHQ FM began broadcasting as Country KQOK back in 1976, and along with KSRM was the Peninsula’s first AM/FM Combo. KSLD AM came into the fold in 1985, KKIS-FM in 1991 and KFSE-FM was first heard in the fall of 2007.

Forty-five years! That’s worth celebrating and certainly brings back lots of great memories. Our first live football game for, our only high school, Kenai Central High was broadcast from what was then Wildwood Air Force Station. KCHS had borrowed their recreation field, drew some lines on it and played football for the first time. It was the first football game yours truly had ever done and as my friend and businessman Leo Oberts used to remind me quote “That was the first time I ever heard of a 55 yard line”…Whoops!

For over five years we broadcast all the Little League games “live” and in Soldotna we only had an empty lot next to the Four Royal Parkers Café for all the games. Getting phone lines to our equipment was a real experience. One time in Kenai we had to run a phone line under the Spur Highway. Thankfully, some very special phone company guys, John Kilch and Jim Toci, hooked the wire to their little dog and called him through a highway drain pipe dragging the wire.

The huge forest fires of 1969 put KSRM on the map when we put five reporters on the fire lines and featured extensive live coverage of the advancing fires,  even as Borough Mayor Harold Pomeroy hired an army of Cats and Carry-alls to bull doze fire lines all around the twin cities. We ran our first police road-block to drive into the Beaver Loop road area, in Kenai, where at least five homes burned as we told folks about the devastation. Transistor radios resided on the dashboard of all truck and cars tuned to KSRM for all the latest information.

Forty –five years of memories of broadcasting to the best people on earth who live on the most wonderful special place on God’s green earth, the Twin-Cities of Alaska and the Kenai Peninsula. We only go through life once and I can’t think of a better place in the world to have spent mine.

Think About It!       JCD    9-19-12

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