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KFJC’s Move to New Foothill College Campus in 1961

Cynthia Lombard   10/18/2019  

KFJC was conceptualized and launched in the early days of Foothill College, when the school operated from a temporary location on El Camino Real in Mountain View, California. Broadcasting at 88.5 FM, KFJC was asked to change frequencies by the San Francisco Theological Seminary in San Anselmo, which wanted to use the channel for “a series of graduate level courses in medicine, fine arts, current affairs, religion and social work planned by the seminary,” according to a May, 1961 Palo Alto Times article.

May, 1961 Palo Alto Times press clipping from Foothill-DeAnza Historic Archives

By the time of its fall launch, KFJC had switched to 89.7 FM. Interestingly the 88.5 FM San Francisco Theological Seminary station (KXKX 88.5 FM in San Francisco)’s license was sold to KQED later in the 1960s and the public radio station continues to broadcast on that frequency today.

In 1961, the brand new, grand Foothill College campus opened for classes in Los Altos Hills and KFJC made the move to its home in the Mass Communications building.

In October 1961, as the station readied for the move, an article in the Foothill Sentinel reported on its progress. “Programming for this semester is flexible, providing for additions to the planning process. So far, eleven ‘package’ programs are scheduled as well as 14 student-sponsored shows…Among student-produced programs will be ‘The Latin Quarter,’ ‘The World of Music,’ ‘Short Story Theatre,’ and ‘Sports a la Carte,’ all returnees from last semester.”

Foothill Sentinel, October 6, 1961 from Foothill-DeAnza Historic Archives

Test broadcasts from the new Los Altos Hills campus were underway by November, 1961 and the station’s facilities were heralded as “one of the better junior college stations in the state.” Station Manager Vic Biondi told the Foothill Sentinel that KFJC planned to air “middle-of-the-road” music. From the 6,000 items in the library, the station was focusing on “Broadway show tunes, contemporary jazz, and folk music.” Biondi proclaimed, “Western and rock and roll music will not be heard on KFJC.”

Foothill Sentinel, November 10, 1961 from Foothill-DeAnza Historic Archives

By November 28, 1961 KFJC was officially broadcasting from the Los Altos Hills campus at 89.7 FM. Intriguing programming aired from the get-go, including a talk by socialist Norman Thomas. The Sunnyvale Standard wrote, “The program…will feature the recent campus speech by six-time Socialist Party Presidential candidate Norman Thomas, ‘America’s Need for a New Radicalism.'”

November 24, 1961 San Jose Mercury clipping in Foothill-DeAnza Historic Archives

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