From out of the running gate, the level of my Las Vegas obsession went beyond any sugar buzz I ever experienced up to that point. What made this even more unusual was that it wasn’t mainstream as anything on the pop culture landscape where others of my age fell into, like Star Wars and disco.
In my endeavor to get ANYthing of this city and its industry as much as possible, I ended up recording radio commercials from a 50,000 watt AM radio station with the call letters, KDWN, otherwise known by their ID jingle, K-Dawn. Thanks to its powerful signal, this station can be heard in four western states….except in Los Angeles, thanks to its crowded airwaves and its 720 address was next to LA’s own 50,000 watt station, KABC at 710.
The only place I could listen this station and record my share of Vegas on a regular basis was from my grandmother’s house in Grover Beach, CA, a town
located just south of Pismo Beach.
My time with K-Dawn was strictly for the commercials, but they were very small recorded moments of on-air personalities that are still around….though not by much. The biggest chunk of on-the-air activity is a live 5-minute broadcast from the newly-opened Orbit Inn & Casino involving that station’s late-night DJ, The Old Professor.
I remember paying a visit the station in 1979. Their
broadcasting studio actually opened out to the hotel’s pool area and looking over the base of Fremont
A staple of the station, especially for its late night programming, was The Stardust Sports Line with
Lee Pete. Monday through Friday from 10 pm to 12 midnight, Lee would set up his mic and guests live at the Stardust Sports Book and spew forth all the sports and betting talk and unrelated topics that two hours could handle. Even though I wasn’t into sports, I listened in regardless only because it was a local show that was live from an actual hotel & casino!! I do remember various locations this show use to broadcast from, one of which was from the old Castaways with various co-hosts.
In August 1984, in what possible have been my final KDWN recording, I recorded a full Stardust Sports Line show with Lee and his then-new co-host, football legend Jim Brown…and with that, it was all over for me with the station. From 1979, the station began sliding from its original MOR/big band format to talk radio and two years after this final recording, they picked up Rush Limbaugh…need I say more.
These days, KDWN went past talk radio and well into Fox News territory.
Of interest: Scott Fybush was fortunate enough to visit the KDWN offices and studios and take a few pictures just
before it was bought and moved out of their Union Plaza location. Here’s the link!
The following article appeared in Billboard on April 26, 1975.
A few years ago , I put up my old KDWN tapes on the Internet Archive and you can listen and download them HERE. If you don't have the nerve to site through the 4 + hours of that stuff, I've taken bits and pieces of those tapes and put them in small nuggets on my YouTube channel, right here!