Letter to the Editor: Unintended consequences at KLC

By Kirk Peffers, KLC 1961-‘62


While such credentialing could ease one’s way into the biz and be an effective recruitment tool, it could lead to an unintended consequence: the end of “KLC”.

A little history: Running out of 3-letter combinations for all the new stations coming on line, the Federal Communications Commission (under its earlier moniker) stopped granting those in 1930. Thereafter, all applicants were assigned four call letters. The latter were immediately seen as Johnny-Come-Latelys with clumsy names.

After 1930, stations changing ownership had to find new 4-letter names. Three-letter names vanished permanently when such stations went out of business. Few are left. In Oregon, KLC shares the tighter letter configuration with only powerhouse KEX.

Considerable prestige has long attached to the 3-letter operations. I have seen eyebrows raised about KLC’s apparent legacy and stature. Record labels and distributors notice. Advertisers notice. Media notice. It’s something to protect.

What could jeopardize our most-logical and succinct appellation? ––Any additional scrutiny by the FCC would at least bring up the subject. Application for a “real” broadcast license would trigger that scrutiny.

KLC, while a “carrier-current” (without a broadcast tower) operation, has always “escaped” into the surrounding area on 680 AM. We drive around listening to our friends on the radio. The FCC has long known about that actual broadcasting, seeing no local conflict in that dial position. And the FCC has never challenged our use of broadcast-standard call-lettering, which they jealously guard.

This is not to argue against upgrading to a standard broadcast license for LC. This is only a caution, an advisory to all future administrations who might consider joining other colleges and universities who have gone “on the air”.

Should we go for that upgrade and the FCC wants 4 letters, “KLAC” or “KLCC” might be acceptable – except that they are already taken.

Our argumentation in this eventuality would be a great exercise for our Law Dept. While KLC doesn’t date back to the 1920s, we should argue long-standing comfortable accommodation. After all, such upgrade would be for an increase in power only, not for a new station, nor from a new operator. –– Unless we go to FM, in which case, we should fight for “KLC-FM”.

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