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Colin B. Kennedy
Colin Bruce Kennedy was born in Teeswater, Ontario, Canada, on February 6, 1885. His primary education was obtained in the Canadian Public Schools.
He learned telegraphy while working as an errand boy for a small-town drugstore which was also the telegraph office. Leaving home when about fourteen years of age, he spent the next ten years as a telegraph operator in many cities throughout Canada. The last two of these years he was in charge of two radio stations on the west coast of Vancouver Island in the Canadian Government wireless service.
His next seven years were spent with the Federal Telegraph Company at Palo Alto, California, as a radio operator, station engineer, and research and development engineer. This included the entire period of World War I during which the company built many large and small radio transmitters for the Government.
In 1919, he organized and became the President of the Colin B. Kennedy Company.
Although originally established for the manufacture of radio receiving equipment for experimenters, at the advent of radio broadcasting, the company was among the first to produce receivers for home use. This business continued until 1933 when economic conditions forced a suspension of operation.
Mr. Kennedy continued in the radio field, predominantly in a merchandising capacity. In February, 1942, he entered the service of his country, becoming a civilian employee at the Signal Corps inspection depot in Chicago. Upon his death on June 16, radio has lost another of the pioneering spirits whose vigorous and constructive work in the early days did much to advance the art and the science.
The Kennedy factory in San Francisco made high quality commercial receivers and home radios. A solid mahogany or walnut cabinet, silver plated knobs and polished formica panels are indicative of the quality and care that went into the building of Kennedy receivers. Kennedy regenerative receivers were so well-respected that they were still being sold in 1925 when most regenerative receivers were considered obsolete.
The earliest radio broadcast from Los Altos, near San Fransisco, hit the airwaves in 1921 from experimental station 6XAC, owned and licensed by Colin B. Kennedy himself, as a way to test the radio receivers he was selling. It gained attention in the Oct. 24, 1921 edition of the San Francisco Bulletin, in which a story referred to a "radiophone station" in Los Altos which "has broken all records by sending messages 2,000 miles overland to Great Bend, Kansas." The station proved so successful in getting responses to its test broadcasts that Kennedy was granted a commercial broadcasting license. Station KLP continued broadcasting until early 1923.
Kennedy's broadcasts originated from his treasurer's home. Emile A. Portal had learned the technical aspects of radio broadcasting in 1912 from Charles (Doc) Herrold, an early though unheralded broadcast pioneer from San Jos. To keep his listeners advised, Portal sent out weekly postcards listing KLP programs for the week.

 

This page was last edited on 03.12.2016