These pages are labor of love. As I get into this deeper and deeper, I find the Spokane Radio History to be more and more fascinating. Just as a matter of clarification, the Spokane Radio History website concentrate on the general history of the radio stations in Spokane, while its sister site Spokane Radio Tower website focuses on the towers and the transmitting facilities. Naturally, there is considerable overlap between the two, but I decided on this approach because I believe this will serve two somewhat different aspects in broadcasting.
Research has found at about 24 AM transmitter facilities in Spokane. As of this writing, there are 11 stations transmitting from 8 sites. Spokane has a very rich radio broadcasting history, from the days of Emil Olson and other "wireless stations" to the current day. For example, there is a station that according to station personnel is one of two in the USA that transmit from a rooftop employing an aerial counterpoise system.
At one time, Spokane boasted of having the world's tallest self-supporting radio tower, and for three years this tower may have been the tallest radio tower in the world. Later, this same station built another tower that had red neon tubes running the full length of its 800-plus-foot long tower. It was quite the sight.
One station's transmitter building was converted into a service core, around which an elementary school was built, after the station moved to another site. I was fortunate to take pictures of this site in June 2005 before the old transmitter building, the school's service core building, was demolished to make room for a newer school building. There is a legend that a ghost occupied the transmitter building.
Another tower has a switch at the about the mid-point which connects and isolates the upper and lower part to and from each other. In the daytime, the switch joins the sections into one unit. At night, the switch disconnects the two sections, and the bottom section becomes part of a two-tower directional array.
A trailer in the middle of a swamp is what remains of a station that broadcast for about 10 years. A gondola system was built so that personnel could go out to the transmitter building during the wet season.
A building that temporarily housed a bank near Northtown was hauled to another station's transmitter site. This building served as the station's office, studio, and transmitter building. It is still standing and a family is living in it.
If you interest is piqued or if you would like to know more, please feel free to peruse these pages. I hope you will find them to be interesting. Any feedback, including corrections and additional information would be appreciated. No one person can know everything and I would like these pages to be a sharing experience for all visitors.
Written by Bill Harms, 10 August 2008