KLS Radio was licensed as a commercial station on March 10, 1922, broadcasting from the First Baptist Church in Oakland, California.
In 1919 Eugene and Stafford Warner, the "Warner Brothers" (no relation to the movie studio in Hollywood) established one of the first radio parts stores in the Bay Area. By 1920 they had debuted their own radio station from their store in Oakland, 6XAM, which began voice transmissions in 1921. The name was changed from 6XAM to KLS when the radio station was granted a license to operate as a commercial station on March 10, 1922.
The radio station was moved into the First Baptist Church at 2201 Telegraph Avenue (near West Grand Avenue) in Oakland, where it broadcast with 250 watts.
After several frequency changes, in March 1937, KLS was moved from 1440 to 1280 kilocycles with full time power of 250 watts. The station broadcast from the new "Radio Village" at 327 - 21st Street, near Lake Merritt in Oakland.
The Warner brothers spent $30,000 to build eleven cottage style shops around a central courtyard which they named "Radio Village." Housed there were the KLS studios, offices and the Warner brothers radio supply store, in addition to a 179' Blaw Knox self-supporting steel vertical antenna as the station's transmission signal. In 1952 the City of Oakland remapped the section of 21st Street where Radio Village was located as 22nd Street, which changed the address, but not the physical location of the radio station.
In September 1947 KLS became KWBR (Warner Brothers Radio), and in July 1959 the Warner family sold the radio station to Sonderling Broadcasting. KWBR changed its call letters once again on September 4, 1959 to KDIA, and dramatically gained in popularity by targeting African Americans listeners in the East Bay with music and programming specifically for that audience.
The radio station remained at Radio Village until 1965, when the KDIA studios and transmitter were moved to a new facility right near the Bay Bridge Toll Plaza.
Radio Village was torn down and subsequently a parking lot adjacent to the Kaiser Center was constructed. 1
Links and References
- KLS Radio on Bay Area Radio Museum