Started by Young Couple from Missouri, 1957
On 19 March 1956, a young couple named Robert and Martha Rapp from Columbia, Missouri, applied for a construction permit to build a daytime only station in East Spokane. They viewed this as an opportunity to get a financial start in life and said they were determined to make it a success. Mr. Rapp had served in the Air Force in the Korean War and had served as the general manager of radio station KBIA in Columbia, Missouri. Mrs. Rapp had served as a public school teacher for two years and was the program director at KBIA. Mrs. Rapp's parents, Cecil W. and Jane A. Roberts, owned and operated several radio stations - KREI, KCHI, KBIA, KCRB, and WINI.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a construction permit for this station on 5 September 1956. The transmitter was to be initially located near East 37th avenue and South Eastern Road. However, due to local zoning issues, they moved the transmitter site to Crestline Street and Palouse Highway. The first license for KPEG was issued on 21 March 1957 and states that the studio and remote control point were to be located at West Second Avenue and South Maple Street. Ralph Bitzer of Saint Louis, Missouri was the consulting engineer.
Later the location was officially changed to 1527 West Second Avenue on paper. The author visited this site in August 2008 and found that the building which housed the studio and remote control point no longer stands. There is a public parking lot in its place.
The Rapps hired Jerrel Henry to as the station manager and Sigurd V. Turnquist as the Chief Engineer. For information about the transmitter plant see the tower page.
All Female Announcers All Named "Peg"
When the KPEG first signed on it hired all females for announcers. As a result in an ad which appeared in the Spokesman-Review on 12 February 1956, KPEG billed itself as the "Most Unusual Radio Station On the West Coast" and stated "bringing you Top Tunes, Memory Favorites and Local News...all with a truly feminine flair for delighting you." The best information suggests that this was the idea of Mrs. Rapp. This ad, which proclaimed KPEG's entry into the Spokane market, listed the names of the announcers as Peg Snyder, Peg Frank, Peg Henry, Peg Bracco, and Peg Durcan. Additionally, all of the sales staff were women.
(See the ad on the left. Click on it for a clearer image.)
Tom Read of American Pioneer Broadcasters interviewed one of the original girls in 2006 who said she literally started when the station first went on the air. She indicated that even through it was a daytimer, the clever gimmick of the all Peg female announcers caught on at first and the station was very popular.
(Ad from the Spokesman-Review. Used by permission.)
Station Sold to Bellevue Broadcasters
Mr. and Mrs. Rapp sold the license to Bellevue Broadcasters, a limited partnership between F. Kemper Freeman, Elwell C. Case, and Florence G. Hayes on 16 August 1957. W. R. "Dick" White (also William R. White) was hired as the station manager and Mr. Turnquist continued as the chief engineer.
The FCC records indicate that KPEG continued the previous format for a while and then switched to country and western music sometime before 1960. At that time, KPEG called itself "Spokane's Number One Western Station" ... "for fast drawing listeners." In 1960 and maybe longer, well-known local television personality Cliff Carl had a four-hour daily program. In a letterhead from 1962, KPEG used the slogan "Town and Country Radio." KPEG remained the only country and western station in Spokane for almost 10 years until KSPO took the format in 1966.
1961 Studio Move to near Spokane Stockyards
On 7 February 1961, KPEG moved its studio and offices to 3810 East Boone Avenue near the Spokane Stockyards. The author visited the studios in August 2008 and found building still standing. It was half covered with ivy and the suites were being used by various organizations.
Steve Vaudrey offers the following account of his experience with KPEG and the East Boone studios:
"As a 16-year-old I used to ride my bicycle to this building, sit under KPEG's open window, and listen to a female DJ (I think she called herself "Skeeter") spin country records, sometimes joined by Cliff Carl who had recently recorded his first record (a single he wrote), "The Fighting Cheyenne." As I recall, the window I sat under on certain sunny days was on the right corner of the second floor" (looking at the front of the building.)
Studio Re-Location to Moran Prairie, 1964
In a letter to the FCC, KPEG Manager W. R. White stated that KPEG was moving to 6019 South Crestline Street where KPEG's transmitter was located on Moran Prairie effective 22 August 1964. KPEG used the slogan "Radio Spokane" on the letterhead in the letter that Mr. White sent to the FCC.
Callsign Change to KEZE-AM
Bellevue Broadcasters acquired Radio Station KTWD-FM from Terry Denbrook and his father Loren on 11 August 1970, and then petitioned for callsign changes of KPEG to KEZE and of KTWD-FM to KEZE-FM. Please proceed to here for history of KEZE and KEZE-FM. For information about KEZE's FM predecessor, KTWD-FM, please click here.
Compiled and written by Bill Harms - Last updated on 17 April 2009.
- "City's 8th Station Has Female Staff." Spokane Chronicle. Spokane Washington. 12 February 1957.
- Freeman, F. Kemper. Bellevue, Washngton. Letter to FCC dated 7 February 1961. From FCC files, National Archives, College Park, Maryland.
- Freeman, F. Kemper. Bellevue, Washngton. Letter to FCC dated 21 September 1970. From FCC files, National Archives, College Park, Maryland.
- Freeman, F. Kemper. Bellevue, Washngton. Letter to FCC dated 28 August 1970. From FCC files, National Archives, College Park, Maryland.
- "KPEG IS ON THE AIR." Paid Advertisement in the Spokesman-Review. Spokane Washington. 12 February 1957.
- Modification of License Standard Broadcast Station - KPEG. File Number BS-3420. 12 October 1970. From FCC files, National Archives, College Park, Maryland.
- Modification of License Standard Broadcast Station - KPEG. File Number BRC-1858. 25 May 1971. From FCC files, National Archives, College Park, Maryland.
- Modification Standard Broadcast Station Construction Permit - KPEG. File number BMP-7389. 5 September 1956. From FCC files, National Archives, College Park, Maryland.
- Rapp, Robtert, Columbia, Missiouri. Letter to Dee W. Pincock, Acting Secretary, FCC dated 17 August 1956.
- Read, Tom. American Pioneer Broadcasters, www.apb.org. Spokane, Washington. Email Correspondence with Bill Harms. June 2007.
- Standard Broadcast Station Construction Permit - KPEG. File number BP-10463. 29 November 1956. From FCC files, National Archives, College Park, Maryland.
- Standard Broadcast Station License - KPEG. File Number BL-6558. 21 March 1957. From FCC files, National Archives, College Park, Maryland.
- Vaudrey, Steve. Email Correspondence. April 2009.
- White, W. R. Station Manager, KPEG, Spokane, Washington. Letter to FCC dated 18 August 1964.