This is the beautiful home that General Electric built for KOA in Aurora, Colo., in 1932.
KOA was built by GE in 1924 as part of the company’s three-station network planned to cover the United States (the other stations were WGY in Schenectady and KGO in Oakland). KOA went on the air at 930 kc with a power of 2,000 watts. That was increased to 5,000 the following year, then to 12,500 watts in 1927.
By 1934, KOA was an NBC owned-and-operated station, broadcasting with 50,000 watts on its 830 kc frequency.
The KOA building was built at what today is 18500 E. Colfax Avenue. It housed the studios only for its first two years, but continued as the home of the KOA transmitter until 1959.
In the photo we can see the 475-foot tower, one of the highest self-supporting radio towers in the country at the time. We also can see the cooling pond that fed the heat exchanger, which cooled the transmitter tubes. The accompanying photo shows some of the stylish details of the building, including the beautiful art deco door flanked by two decorative carbon microphones bearing the GE logo.
Today the building houses the Colorado Department of Transportation. It was designated a historic landmark by the City of Aurora in 2001.
John Schneider is a lifelong radio history researcher. Write the author at firstname.lastname@example.org. This is one in a series of photo features from his collection.