The KHJ Radio Towers Take Their Final Bow In “Boss Angeles”
The year was 1994, I was 20 going on 21 and just got hired to be an intern for K-EARTH 101. I drove into the station at 4am. I remember having to take a detour because the Santa Monica Freeway overpass was destroyed in the Northridge earthquake months earlier.
As I drove down Venice Blvd. heading West to Fairfax I could start to make out two giant radio towers on the horizon. I pulled up to 5901 Venice Blvd to the modest art-deco style building, drove up and parked. In a giant field located north of the parking lot stood those two radio towers, they looked bigger than life!
I got the quick tour of the station upon my arrival by the producer at the time Mitch Lewis. He ended the tour by saying, “ok, let’s go meet the man.” I was led into his office, that is currently the KROQ master control room. In the center of the room was a man whose face was blocked by the L.A. Times he was reading.
The room was smoke-filled, cold and quiet with just the low sounds of KNX playing on the radio on his desk. Mitch says “Robert, this is our new intern Brandon.” He slowly lowered the newspaper, glanced at me and said, “How old are you? What school do you go to?” I stuttered, “20…. PCC, sir.” He replied back, “You’re the same age as my daughter… she’s heading to college soon.” Then the newspaper rose back up. Mitch told me that was it, let’s go work!
That man was Robert W. Morgan. What I didn’t know at the time is that he was the legendary “Boss Jock” that rose to fame in the mid 60s on Boss Radio 93 KHJ! Oh, and those two big towers out back were the same ones that blasted out his famous “Good Morgans” for many years.
He along with the “Real Don Steele,” who did afternoons, did something no other radio station has been able to duplicate. Those two giant towers brought southern Californians together. At one time more than 20% of all the radios in L.A. were tuned to Robert W. Morgan on KHJ!
I was eventually hired on to be his Production Manager during my internship and he took me under his wing to teach me everything he knew. And boy did I learn a lot! He taught me the history of Boss Radio, its beginning and its end with him and fellow producer Kevin Gershan jumping the big iron gates to help sign off KHJ when they briefly changed their call letters to KRTH-AM.
Knowing that AM signals can travel into deep space, I remember one clear and beautiful day, standing out in front of the towers with Robert, he gazed up into the sky and said, “You know what? Somewhere in the universe the Supremes are ‘Boss Hit Bound’”!
Let’s fast forward to this Wednesday afternoon. I had gotten word that those two big radio towers were about to be torn down. Immediately the memories of Robert W. Morgan started flashing back in my head, the memories of all the magic that was blasted out to Los Angeles in its heyday.
Robert passed on in 1998 and in 2013 the two towers that projected his voice to the millions out there were about to be knocked over like giant toothpicks! I made sure to stop by on my way home from work to see for one last time the famous KHJ towers that have stood for nearly 80 years.
By the time I arrived only one tower was left standing! I couldn’t believe my eyes. There it was, lying on its side like a giant beached whale! I parked my truck and started to take photos. It was at that point a KTLA news van pulled up next to me and the reporter got out and asked what that tower meant to me.
So many things went through my head. The only thing I could say was L.A. Radio will never be the same without those two famous towers standing tall in the south land! Click here to watch the interview.
Watch the towers come down in the video below, courtesy of our friends at KROQ.