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Kodiak Alaska Military History

The official web site of the Kodiak Military History Museum

Kodiak Bear July 22, 1942 Page 1


World's First Army [Radio] Station Is Approved

NAB, ASCAP, BMI, IBEW and AFRA attention!
KODK, the lusty-lunged, and vigorous "voice of Fort Greely," which has operated without benefit of FCC benediction for lo, these many months, has been given an honest name.

The little Army station, first of its kind in the world, has been blasting the ether with all the power of its 15 watts with jive, symphony, dogface comedy, stolen news and pilfered programs for so long that its listeners have come to take it for granted, but it was not until this week that the hardy youngster became officially recognized.

Formal Approval

Tentative approval of the Federal Communications Commission, which came through via the War Department, involves a change in KODK's call letters, since the name was already allotted to a commercial station which had been projected for downtown Kodiak---but that is a small matter to a station which has the highest Crosley rating in America.

When KODK was started at Fort Greely with equipment donated by contractors men at the base, it was not realized that the call letters had been requested for a downtown station. Construction of the commercial station is being postponed due to priorities, but it will be welcomed as an added entertainment feature when and if it is started.

New Call Letters

Meantime, the FCC in approving KODK, has allotted the call letters WVCQ to the soldier outfit. The transition from KODK to WVCQ will be made gradually in order not to confuse the listeners, who at this distance can get only one station on their sets and would probably die of shock if they thought they'd picked up a new one.

For the benefit of those who came in late, KODK is a 15-watt, non-commercial, all-soldier radio station operated on 1400 kilocycles, 16-1/2 hours a day, by Corp. Bill Merritt and a staff of soldier experts.

It broadcasts local programs from its miniature "radio city" studio, as well as big commercial programs intercepted on a 15-tube set and fed into KODK's transmitter. Shortwave broadcasts from the States, which are normally picked up by but a handful of powerful [sic] sets on the island, are relayed through KODK so that every man with a $5 peanut set can pick it up as well as if he had a powerful [sic] Halicrafter [sic].

Big Name Stuff

Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Fred Allen, Jack Benny--none is too big for KODK to pirate off the air and make its own. KODK sells no advertising, but does not object to relaying the toothpaste commercials right along with the highjacked music and comedy. Many fine transcriptions are now being sent for local broadcasts from generous commercial studios and networks in the States.

Other army posts in Alaska are considering the KODK plan and it is hoped they succeed in getting equipment for their own stations. KODK is the biggest single entertainment at Fort Greely, and even if it's legitimate, we'll still like it.


Radio receivers are sensitive, transmitters can be powerful. The correct spelling is Hallicrafters. The frequency unit used is kilocycles. This isn't correct and should be kilocycles per second which is a cumbersome term. This resulted in our modern term kilohertz which means thousand cycles per second.

This is but one story about this station. Please read the other material about it before making any conclusion jumps.

Comments by your webmaster, Joe Stevens.

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