More than 90 years ago (1922 to be exact), Earle C. Anthony set up a homemade 50-watt radio transmitter in his garage and started broadcasting at 640-AM.
Thus, KFI was born.
The initial programming included broadcasts of live events, the first of which was the Wagner Opera from the Los Angeles Opera House. Although this probably sounds pretty routine to modern-day radio listeners, at the time it was so groundbreaking, that General Electric made it the subject of a special booklet illustrating the possibilities of commercial radio. KFI later produced the first coast-to-coast transcontinental sportscast by airing the 1927 Rose Bowl (Stanford vs.Alabama). A March 1923 station log shows that KFI broadcast 4.5 hours a day. A typical day started with programs from studios at the city's two newspapers, the L.A. Examiner at 5 p.m. and the Evening Herald at 5:30 p.m. These programs consisted of news, stock reports, lectures, interviews and occasional musical selections.
KFI signed off at 5:50 p.m. and was off the air until 6:45 p.m. while the staff of two or three went out for dinner. Broadcasting resumed with a bedtime story, followed by live music until 11 p.m.
KFI became one of the most popular radio stations in Los Angeles and one of the most listened-to news/talk radio stations in the country. That tradition continues today. The 50,000-watt KFI is currently owned by Clear Channel and broadcasts from Burbank.
Trivia: It is a popular myth that KFI stands for K (as dictated by the FCC for stations west of the Mississippi River), F (Farmers), I (Info).