Early radio in Greeley began in 1909 with a former Greeley High School student named Gordon G. Moss, who as a Colorado State Teacher’s College student (now the University of Northern Colorado), built a hand-wound radio transmitter that transmitted a dot-and-dash signal from the Coronado Building located on the southeast corner of 9th Street and 10th Avenue in downtown Greeley. The broadcasting station was licensed using his own initials, “GGM”, and continued on the air until 1914, when the government asked him to suspend broadcasting to avoid conflicting air signals during wartime.
After Armistice was signed in 1917, Moss began transmitting again from a greenhouse next to Cranford Hall. On May 21, 1921, station GGM was licensed to the Colorado State Teacher’s College as KFKA, who holds the distinction of being the fifth oldest commercial broadcasting property in the United States. Under the KFKA license, engineer Harry E. Green, Sr., who became known as “Mr. KFKA”, expanded the radio station in several ways.
KFKA pioneered many services now standard in broadcasting; for instance, when in 1923, H. E. Green broadcast his first radio news show and in the same year originated a remote program with an organ concert from the Sterling Theater starring Mary Blake. In 1926, two important features were added, a news commentary and reporting of the livestock market. The news commentary came about in response from a blind listener who asked for a comprehensive newscast for those like her that were unable to read a local newspaper.
The Ralph Gardner photograph viewable below shows the KFKA Radio Tower in Greeley as it was in February 1928. Men identified are Paul Geiser at the top right side of the 100 foot tall tower with Ralph Bryant below him and to the left. John Dempsey stands with his foot on the ladder while a group of five boys standing at the twenty-foot square tower base look to the top. The tower was built on the ground and raised by block and tackle using a Model T Ford truck.
Written by JoAnna Luth Stull, Registrar