Monday, January 15, 2018

Nehi to a grasshopper

I have been collecting issues of Prevue (sometimes called TV Prevue) -- which was a local TV Guide for the Portland area during the late 50's and early 60's -- for a couple of years now. Issues don't come up for sale online very often, and when they do, they're usually priced not to sell... which means that additions to my collection are few and far in between.

Recently though, I was able to acquire (somewhat cheaply) a needed issue from 1958, and while I fully intend to discuss this collection more thoroughly at some later date, today I'm just going to focus on a an ad for Nehi -- who at that point, was in their 34th year of existence -- that appeared on the back of the issue:

I find this ad interesting primarily because of it's showing Nehi's sponsorship of 910 KVAN, who under that moniker, would be off the air less than eight months after the date of this ad.

910 KVAN was an AM country music station that began broadcasting out of Vancouver, WA (which is right across the Columbia river from Portland) in 1939. KVAN's biggest claim to fame would be that Willie Nelson worked as a DJ at the station from 1956-58, taking advantage of his growing on-air popularity, he decided to self-finance his first single "No Place for Me", which was recorded in a studio at the station in 1957.

In April of 1959, the station changed it's name to KISN and flipped to a top 40 format, then proceeded to dominate the Portland airwaves for the next decade and a half. No station in Portland has ever been, or will ever be, as popular as KISN was during that time. Despite it's popularity, the station -- after years of problems with the FCC (primarily due to the station being moved to Portland a few months after the format change, but still being licensed in Vancouver) -- wasn't able to get it's license renewed, and signed off for the last time in September of 1976.

The station returned to 97.1 on the FM dial in 1988, with the call letters KKSN, but still used the KISN handle. The format stayed true to the original as well by only playing music from the 50's, 60's, and early 70's. This version of the station is the one I know, as it was one of three stations that I primarily grew up with (the other two being KUFO and KNRK). I have so many fond memories of that station, I even became friends with someone -- who would later become one of my better friends growing up -- thanks to the two of us being the only kids around who enjoyed the oldies.  It was a sad day, or rather night, for me personally, when the station went off the air in 2005... especially since it was changed into a corporate friendly adult hits station called Charlie FM (burn in hell Charlie!).

After a couple of years of being heard on the internet only , KISN came back to terrestrial radio on 95.1 FM in 2015 -- conveniently just a couple of months after I moved away -- where to the best of my knowledge, is where it can still be found today.

Thanks for taking a moment to look at my page.


  1. It's always fun to read posts outside the sports card realm. My favorite things about reading older magazines and periodicals are checking out the advertisements.

    1. Well, I'm glad that at least one person enjoys the non-card posts!

    2. Hey, me too! Especially Portland area content. Didn't know that tidbit about Willie Nelson.. pretty cool.

    3. That's good to know. I would like to these kinds of posts more often, but between my piss poor writing abilities, and knowing that not too many people will be reading them, it's hard to get the motivation to do them.

      I don't think too many people in the Portland area know of Willie Nelson's time in radio there, that's one of the things that always bugged me about Portland... so much great history that no one ever talks about, or even cares about for that matter. I remember hearing about Willie from a friend of my mom's who owned a record store, he had tie's to KISN, so he had plenty of Portland music related stories from the 50's and 60's to tell.

    4. [edit] I would like to *do* these kinds...