What's up with that?

The Empire ponders Juneau's puzzles, unravels its mysteries and contemplates its conundrums.

Posted: Thursday, May 30, 2002

Q: What's up with the new stoplights going up on Glacier Highway around the Nugget Mall and the Juneau Airport? It seems like they have been taking forever to get installed. When are they going to be turned on?

A: The new traffic signals should be up and running in about a month, according to Soc Kreuzenstein, construction project manager for the state Department of Transportation's Southeast Region. But Kreuzenstein said "we had expected that the signals would be operational by now."

The project was awarded to a contractor, who in turn used a subcontractor, who has been delayed in completing the project, Kreuzenstein said. The two new stoplights are being installed on Glacier Highway at the Jordan Avenue and Shell Simmons Way/Ka-See-An Drive intersections.

A tentative signal start-up date of June 20 has been set by the contractors, Kreuzenstein said. No matter what, the contract requires the lights to be turned on by June 30.

Once the two new airport-area stoplights are operational, he said, there are no other new traffic signals on the immediate horizon in the Juneau area.

Concluding the stories of radio and television call letters in Juneau:

KINY-AM 800, the elder statesman of broadcasting in Juneau, has no story behind its name other than they were the call letters assigned by the government when the station started operation in 1935. Tomorrow is the 67th anniversary of the day it started broadcasting.

When it started broadcasting, KINY's motto was "The Friendly Voice of the Capital." The first evening of programming featured a special dedication program including municipal and territorial officials, as well as local news from what was then "The Daily Alaska Empire," according to a station history provided by station owner Dennis Egan.

KINY pioneered many different broadcast technologies in Southeast and around the state. In July 1940, it became the first Alaska station to provide network programming when it started offering shows such as CBS' Helen Hayes Theatre and NBC's Kraft Music Hall with Bing Crosby.

The station jumped frequencies several times, including a stint at 1460 AM, before finding a home at 800 AM.

KINY's sister station, KSUP-FM 106.3, started broadcasting in 1984. KSUP's call letters were chosen to reflect its original nickname, "Super 106," Egan said.

At KFMG-FM 100.7 and KSRJ-FM 102.7, general manager Rhonda Mann said "we tried to match (the call letters) close to the names that we'd given the stations," which began operation in October 1999.

In those cases, it would be "MG" for "Magic 100.7" and "SR" for "Star 102.7."

And, finally, there's KJUD-TV Channel 8, whose call letters translate to Juneau-Douglas. The station dates back to the 1950s and used to operate as KINY-TV, when the television and AM radio station were under the same ownership. The call letters were switched when the television station was sold to new owners in 1982.

On an interesting side note of Juneau broadcasting history, KINY is the oldest operating radio station in Juneau, but it was not the first. The first radio station in the Capital City, KFIU, started broadcasting in late 1924 and was operated by Alaska Electric Light & Power. Its call letters had no meaning - they were government-assigned.

In its infancy KFIU broadcast daily, except Sundays, from 4 to 5 p.m. and 7:30 to 9:30 p.m., according to a history of AEL&P located on the company's Web site, www.aelp.com. The station started at 1330 AM, and moved to 1310 AM in 1928. In 1927, its slogan was "A Voice From the Far North."

KFIU's broadcast license renewal was initially denied in 1929, but the government changed its mind and the station continued to operate until Sept. 9, 1931, when it voluntarily surrendered its license and stopped broadcasting. It would be nearly four years until local radio returned to Juneau with KINY.

Send questions or comments to whatsup@juneauempire.com.

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