Monday, October 6, 2014

AK Radio: KFAR Celebrates 75 Years of Broadcasting

Undated photo from 1940s
N/T KFAR 660 AM, Fairbanks’ oldest radio station has turned 75 years old, according to

In 1939, Fairbanks had no radio station and the only other radio came from distant stations in Juneau and Nome. That year, businessman Austin “Cap” Lathrop decided to build a station at the site of what’s now Fairbanks Golf Course on Farmers Loop. Lathrop already owned businesses, including the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner and the Empress Theatre, and he was more than 70 years old when he decided to go into radio.

The first broadcasters had to contend with interference from the Aurora Borealis and rebroadcast news picked up from far-away shortwave stations. The station was the only local radio station for decades in Fairbanks. Interior listeners learned about the 1941 Pearl Harbor attack and the 1967 Fairbanks flood over the radio waves of KFAR.

KFAR 660 am (10Kw) Coverage
KFAR later expanded into television. Augie Hiebert, one of Lathrop’s original KFAR employees, went on to become a television pioneer in Alaska, founding Anchorage’s KTVA and KTVF in Fairbanks.

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