by Alex Cosper
Los Angeles, just like most of the United States, was hit hard by the 1930s depression. Yet one of the industries that blossomed during this era was the music industry. With the help of jukeboxes, music because very cheap for patrons at night clubs while club owners did not have to pay for entertainment. It was the rise of big bands, some of which earned the benefit to do their own radio shows on national networks.
The music of the Great Depression years was big bands and crooners, some which hosted national network radio shows. Bing Crosby started a CBS national radio show in 1931 on KHJ at 900 AM. The station became a production hub and was a CBS affiliate until CBS purchased 50,000 watt station KNX to make it the flagship station of the West Coast. Don Lee acquired KHJ in the early thirties and it became flagship affiliate of his Mutual Don Lee Network.
In 1930 KGFJ moved its studios to the J.V. Baldwin Building in Los Angeles. The station had already started influencing other stations around the country to braodcast 24 hours per day. It was a favorite station among "DXers," who were radio fans from around the country who listened on cold nights, when it was easier to pick up AM stations from hundreds or even thousands of miles away. The station was run by manager Ben McGlashen, who was one of the first radio professionals in America who learned how to be profitable in the overnight hours, in which KGFJ played popular phonograph records.
During the thirties several stations still shared frequencies. KTM, for example, shared 780 AM with KELW. Another example was KRKD shared 1120 AM with KFSG.
As late as 1938 there were only two stations in L.A. broadcasting 24 hours a day: KGFJ and KFAC. All other L.A. stations signed off the air by 1am. But by June 1938 a few other stations began overnight broadcasting: KRKD and KFVD.
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