Roger Arave
This view of Ogden may have inspired KLO radio's call letters.

Ogden's historic KLO (AM-1430) has been somewhat of a mystery over the years. In the past when I've written stories on call letters and what they mean, I've never included the station for lack of information.

However, I've finally come across a source that leads me to believe the "LO" in the station's call letters is a direct reference to the LO in Ben Lomond, a significant Weber County name.

The radio station may have been named for the Ben Lomond Hotel, according to Paul Wilson's "A History of Salt Lake City AM Radio" on www.oldradio.com.

The Ben Lomond Hotel, 2510 Washington Blvd., was built in 1927. That's where KLO housed its studios for many years.

Looking at a 1957 photo of Ogden shows KLO call letters attached to the sixth floor of the 13-story hotel.

The hotel was named for Ben Lomond Peak. At 9,712 feet, it is the second-tallest mountain in Weber County, but it's the most prominent peak when looking northward from town. The taller Willard Peak is even further northward and appears shorter, less impressive.

Dan Jessop, current KLO operations manager, said he's never heard the Ben Lomond reference before. He always assumed the "O" in KLO had some sort of reference to Ogden.

Joey Santarelli of Roy, who has roots in Ogden-area radio, said he always believed the LO callers represented "Logan/Ogden." So, that's another possibility.

But just as Ben Lomond Peak was the inspiration for the exaggerated mountain peak in the Paramount Pictures' logo, I'm still betting the mountain (and same-named hotel) inspired the KLO call letters. (According to Leslie Halliwell's "Mountain of Dreams," a biography of Paramount founder William Hodkinson, who grew up in Ogden, the logo was "a memory of childhood in his home state of Utah.")

"A History of Weber County," by Richard C. Roberts and Richard W. Sadler, states that KLO were not the station's original call letters, nor was the station the first one in Ogden. KDZL was the city's first radio station, in 1922, followed by KFPC in 1923 and KFUR and KFWA in 1924.

Many of the earliest call letters, such as those for the Ogden stations, didn't stand for anything in particular — they may have been assigned by the government.

Of those four original Ogden radio stations, only KFUR survived that first experimental decade of radio operations in Ogden. Its call letters changed to KLO in 1934, when A.L. "Abe" Glasmann, owner of the Ogden Standard-Examiner, helped the struggling station financially, according to the Roberts/Sadler book.

Glasmann later purchased the station, created the Interstate Broadcasting Corp. and hired a son-in-law, George Hatch, to run KLO in 1941.

Len Allen came along in 1947 and worked at the studio in the Ben Lomond Hotel. He was a host on the station for about 58 years, until his death in 2005.

KLO also has another unusual trait: it has three call letters, like KSL — the only other station in Utah I've ever come across like that.

YEAR-END RESPONSE — Here are a couple of reader reactions to my best/worsts list last week:

— "You must not listen to KUER. That's a shame. They have some programs that truly ARE 'driveway moments' — where you have to keep listening rather than leave your car and miss anything. Tut-tut."

— "I totally agree with you on the 'worst happenings' for the firings of Angel and Dickie Shannon — very bad move. I quit listening to KODJ 94.1 because of this. ... Also, when Jill Atwood left FM 100.3, I quit listening and watched their ratings decline. "

TWENTY YEARS AGO IN SALT LAKE RADIO — KTOU, FM-94.9, stages a holiday laser show downtown. ... KKAT promoted a $10,000 "Ultimate Shopping Spree."


E-mail: [email protected]