KALX (90.7 FM) is a Freeform FM radio station that broadcasts from the University of California, Berkeley in Berkeley, California. KALX, a community- and student-run radio station licensed to the University of California, Berkeley, broadcasts in stereo with 500 watts of power. The station employs three full-time paid staff members, but is largely run by its nearly 300 volunteers, including Berkeley students and other members of the local community.
The station originally began broadcasting in 1962, as a carrier current station. By 1966, KALX (then known as Radio KAL, the call letters being derived from Berkeley's nickname "Cal") had moved from Berkeley's dormitories to Dwinelle Hall on campus, and Berkeley administrators began investigating the possibility of applying for a broadcast frequency for the station. KALX received its broadcast license and made its first FM broadcast, with 10 watts of power, in 1967. The studio in the basement of Dwinelle was modest, a small chamber sequestered off from a sizable library of albums.
In the 1970's, KALX was taken off the air for a short period by the faculty oversight Radio Policy Board after jazz d.j. and play-by-play announcer Les “Flash” Golden discovered that the station manager and friends had abused their use of university automobiles for private use and run up large bills for long distance phone calls to their friends and family in Los Angeles, Hawaii, and elsewhere. After an investigation and hearing before the Radio Policy Board chaired by Peter Kerner at which Golden confronted the station manager with evidence, the station was put back on the air with new management.
KALX broadcast Cal baseball, football, and basketball live during the 1970's. During one season in which Cal was battling UCLA for the Pac-10 basketball championship, the pivotal game was moved to the Oakland Coliseum where Flash Golden and George Skofis provided the color and play-by-play.
In 1981, the station began a successful fundraising drive to boost its power level to the present-day 500 watts, a level that was reached in 1982.
KALX became the official radio station for the Oakland Athletics just days before the season opener in April 1978 Oakland Athletics season. Larry Baer, a junior political science major who was the station's sports director and business manager, negotiated the agreement with team owner Charlie Finley. The situation was made possible because of the Athletics' subpar on-field performance and attendance and the uncertainty surrounding Finley's threats to move the ballclub to Denver. Baer, who would later serve as a San Francisco Giants executive beginning in December 1992, was play-by-play announcer. Sophomore mass communications major Bob Kozberg and station producer producer engineer Steve Blum also worked on the broadcasts.
The arrangement lasted only sixteen games. One month into the season, Finley decided to keep the Athletics in Oakland and awarded the broadcast rights to KNEW. Nonetheless, the setup made the A's a laughingstock in the Bay Area. At the time, KALX only operated at 10 watts, rendering it practically unlistenable more than 10 miles from Oakland Coliseum. This led one fan to joke about the A's radio network stretching all the way to Hawaii by asking, "City and County of Honolulu? How about here?
KALX offers a diverse range of public affairs programming. KALX functions as a great resource to the Berkeley community by offering many kinds of Public Service Announcements throughout its daily broadcast.
KALX has provided a training ground for numerous individuals who have had careers in television and radio. These include Lisa Stark of ABC News, Bob Mansbach of NBC sports, Sarah Wallace, Andrew Reimer, comedian Bob Sarlatte, comedian and writer Les "Flash" Golden, and station icon Robert "Doc" Pelzel.
- http://kalx.berkeley.edu/full-and-unabridged-history-kalx The Full and Unabridged History of KALX – KALX 90.7FM Berkeley.
- http://sanfrancisco.giants.mlb.com/sf/team/frontoffice_bios/baer_larry.jsp Laurence M. Baer, President (biography) – San Francisco Giants.
- http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1094953/index.htm Fimrite, Ron. "They're Just Mad About Charlie," Sports Illustrated, May 21, 1979.
- (2001) Smith, Curt, Storied Stadiums, Carroll & Graf, New York City,ISBN 0786711876}}