Radio Center at the Palace Hotel

In 1937, the Columbia Broadcasting Company took over a local San Francisco radio station and effectively adopted the controversy that this station came to symbolize. That station was KSFO and in 1937 it was part of the KNX network that CBS purchased. But KSFO wasn’t the station’s original name and San Francisco wasn’t its original home. The station started out as KTAB in Oakland. It was owned and operated by Tenth Avenue Baptist Church until 1935, when debts forced the church to sell the station to Wesley I. Dumm. As the new owner, Dumm promptly moved the station to San Francisco and changed the call numbers to KSFO.

Once CBS acquired KSFO, the company set out to build a new studio to house the station. This new studio was a “Radio Center,” a complex attached to the Palace Hotel in San Francisco and designed by the San Francisco architect William Lescaze. The construction, captured in these photos from SFPL’s Historical Photo Collection, took a year and cost roughly $250,000 (reports vary).

[Photos courtesy of SFPL Historical Photo Collection]