KFQA - Barely A Radio Station
KFQA was a short-lived radio station that spent most of its life sharing
frequencies with other St. Louis stations. That seemed fine with the owners, however. They didn’t really need a lot of time on the air.
When the station was licensed in May of 1924, The Principia was listed as the owner. All The Principia seemed to want was a frequency on which they could broadcast their Christian Science church services. Since it was not uncommon in 1924 for a radio station to only broadcast a few hours a week, this goal was understandable.
As more and more radio stations applied for broadcast licenses, it became clear to Washington officials that an oversight organization was needed to administer broadcasting, and the Federal Radio Commission was established in 1927. It was this group that paired up radio applicants and assigned frequencies on the AM band. The results were often fraught with disagreement, much like siblings fighting over the slightest provocations. (one such battle, involving the shared frequency assignments of KFUO and KSD, lasted almost 16 years.)
Printed records show KFQA bounced around several frequencies, variously landing at 1150, 930, 1280 and 1000 kHz.
When it became evident to Washington policymakers that they had too many radio stations for the number of active frequencies that were available, KFQA was assigned to 1280 kHz, along with Benson Broadcasting’s KWK and WMAY, which was another church-related station owned by the Kingshighway Presbyterian Church. This lasted only a few months.
On May 28, 1928, KFQA was told by the Federal Radio Commission that it would lose its license under a radio reorganization plan. Appeals were filed, but the station was finally forced to shut down in September. The battle had not ended, though.
After more wrangling in Washington, The Principia emerged victorious. They were given permission, under a unique arrangement, to broadcast on another station’s frequency, using that station’s equipment and transmitter, while identifying themselves as a separate broadcast entity, KFQA. The new partner was KMOX.
Under the FRC orders, KFQA aired services from the Fourth Church of Christ, Scientist, every Sunday at 11:00 a.m. over KMOX, which was, only during that broadcast, identified as KFQA. The newspaper article announcing the arrangement indicated it was to begin October 7, 1928, little more than a month after KFQA had shut down. There were to be other lecture programs set up at a later time. This frequency sharing arrangement was to last for one year. The article was the last mention found of KFQA.
(Reprinted with permission of the St. Louis Journalism Review. Originally published 3/00)