Sunday, March 05, 2017

So Long, KABC/KLOS Radio Studios


In the summer of 1951, my grandparents sent my mom to Los Angeles to visit her sister, who had recently moved from NYC. They said the trip was her gift for graduating high school, but Mom knew they were really getting her away from her much-too-serious boyfriend. The plan worked, but backfired. Though she did forget the boyfriend, she quickly found a new love—the state of California!—and so wrote to her parents that if they ever wanted to see her again, they would have to move to L.A. Within weeks, they sold their apartment in NYC, flew to California and bought a house on Genesee Avenue, a block east of La Cienega Blvd. in Los Angeles. Nana and Abuelo lived there until they died in the 1970s.

I have fond memories of my grandparents’ home, which we visited at least once a month when I was a kid. The neighborhood was far more racially diverse than my hometown, Burbank. Even more fascinating, however, was the radio station, located just a block away on La Cienega. I no longer remember the actual station facility, but I do have vivid memories of its two towers that stood tall day and night, rain or shine. Little did I know that my future husband would eventually work there.

Tim became a radio engineer at KABC/KLOS in 1996, during the heyday of “AM talk radio” and FM’s Mark & Brian morning show. He loved every minute of his job until, 11 years later, parent company Disney sold the station to another media conglomerate. Tim then moved on to KSPN. Still, we were both devastated, last year, when we heard the studios and towers were sold and would be demolished to make way for a huge condo complex. 

The towers, which were erected in the late 1930s, came down last week. The building, as you can see below, has been gutted and will soon be razed. A sad ending to an important era and, I fear, perhaps a sign of more change ahead as radio is slowly replaced by other far trendier media.

Gutting the station facility

Empty terminal room

Wires and other detritus

Dark hallways

Empty room that once held countless cubicles

Solitary studio sign

Outside: Peter Frampton's concrete hand and feet prints

William Shatner, as well—but too heavy to bring home (sob . . .)

The towers, two weeks before demolition

Working on Tower 1

Tim's video of Tower 1 coming down

Next morning: Tower 1 down

Tower 2, still standing proud

Tim's video of Tower 2 coming down

My video of Tower 2—exhilarating to watch, but very, very sad

Fallen Tower 2

Both towers now down

Parking lot monument: 
Old Building 
(i.e., original studios)

1 comment:

Suzanne said...

What an amazing story. I appreciated reading the entire story. Thanks so much for posting so many details. I can only imagine how difficult the removal must have been for Tim.