B. Floyd Farr - KPO and KEEN



B. Floyd Farr was a school teacher at Weber HS in Ogden. In his spare time, Floyd read live commercials between reel changes in the projection booth at the Paramount theatre. The manager of KLO was in the theatre and offered Floyd an announcing position. From KLO, Floyd went on to KDYL 1320 AM, an NBC affiliate in Salt Lake City. Remote broadcasts were common around the nation at the time, and Floyd happened to be on the air one night in 1935 when KDYL was feeding the NBC network. Executives from KPO in San Francisco were listening, and they later phoned KDYL to talk with Floyd. When they found out he had a college degree and was an English teacher, Floyd was offered an announcing position at KPO -- for $300.00 per month. That was more than teaching positions paid in Utah at the time. KPO/KGO were the anchor stations for the NBC Pacific Coast network in San Francisco.

Within months Floyd was elevated to Chief Announcer of KPO and was also a network announcer. He worked around such notables as Art Linkletter, Jack Webb, Hal Peary, Kate Smith, Red Skelton and Jack Benny. Many nation-wide programs originated from San Francisco including One Man's Family and Death Valley Days, along with the Lux Radio theatre. There were many other network shows with live orchestras.

Weekly, Floyd taken by boat to Treasure Island as newscaster via short-wave for overseas listeners. On Sunday December 7th 1941. Floyd was the network lead-in announcer and broadcast information from Pearl Harbor coast-to-coast from KPO via the NBC Radio network.

George Mardikian, restaurant owner of Omar Khayyam's In San Francisco became friends with Floyd and George Snell, a life long buddy from KDYL that Floyd had hired to work at KPO in 1945. Mardikian would bring in cash to promote his restaurant each week. Quietly, the three men put together a concept of owning a station while meeting in the back kitchen area of the NBC studios.

In 1947 Floyd Farr left KPO to join his partners George Snell and George Mardikian to found KEEN Radio in San Jose. The three remained partners until their deaths. KEEN 1370 AM was at one time the headquarters of the Golden Pacific Group, consisting of seven west coast stations, including Las Vegas and Hawaii. At the time there was only one larger radio operation of stations on the West coast, owned by Gene Autry. In the early 1970's, KEEN was the flagship operation for the Oakland A's network, feeding a network of sixteen stations.

Keith B. Farr
Broadcast archives/ Northern California



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