Al Jarvis on the air at KFWB
By Gary Avey

Pioneer Los Angeles disc jockey Al Jarvis on the air in the KFWB studios on Hollywood Blvd. In 1957.   Photo taken by Gordon Schlesinger when he and his unidentified teen friend (in the photo), on a lark, went to the station and were invited to watch Al Jarvis do his show.   This was when KFWB was becoming one of the first major market stations to adopt a top-40 format as “Color Channel 98”. 

This is the announce booth with two Altec 639 “birdcage” mikes and another desk stand mike used as a talk back to his engineer in the adjacent control room.   You'll notice the live copy books on the copy stand behind the mikes.   I remember that Al Jarvis sometimes did a two man show with Joe Yocum. Look closely and you'll see the small push button near Al's hand...Gordon says this was used to sound a buzzer for the control room operator to start the next event whether commercial or record.

Al Jarvis went back to the 1930s in the LA radio scene and worked at KLAC and KABC as well as KFWB.   He also pioneered in TV on KLAC-TV in the early 50s with an afternoon talk show.  Betty White got her start in TV as Jarvis co-host on this show.

According to the heritage radio station KFWB in Los Angeles turned 90 years old on March 4, 2015, although the station made no mention of this historic event. I doubt if anybody who listens to KFWB today would have been aware of that fact. Aside from other fans of radio history in Southern California, this writer is likely one of the few who was aware of KFWB’s length of time on the air. KFWB is the 8th oldest radio station in the Los Angeles market. In this article, I want to share some of the early history of KFWB when it was owned by the Warner Brothers movie studio, and explore the early relationship that developed between radio and the motion picture industry.

KFWB Newsman photo –

Gordon Schlesinger took this shot in the main studio at KFWB on the same day as the Al Jarvis photo.  Gordon says this was the newsman on duty but taking a break to catch up on his newspaper!   The mike is the famous RCA 44BX ribbon hanging on a Starbird boom.  

Our thanks to Gordon Schlesinger for these rare insights in to that long ago era!