In 1994, when Jim Kampschroer — better known to locals as “Papa Jim” — first applied for a license to operate a commercial radio station in Cambria, he had no idea it would take nine years to “go through all the red tape with the FCC.” Nor did he imagine that an attorney based in Washington, D.C. (a necessary evil when dealing with the Federal Communications Commission) would end up costing him $900 an hour.
Notwithstanding the expense, delays and the bureaucratic hoops he needed to jump through, Kampschroer received a permit to operate the station from the FCC on July 18, 2003. Interestingly, that was also the day his granddaughter Katy was born in Cambria. In honor of his granddaughter, Kampschroer decided to use a call sign “close to her name”; hence, KTEA-FM (103.5).
The station debuted on Cambria’s airwaves in November 2004, featuring 1940s big band music. Three years later, the transmitter was moved to a prominent hill south of Cambria — the Air Force had a facility there during the Korean War — which increased the station’s power to its limit, 6,000 watts.
In 2012, Kampschroer, an electrical engineer and a life member of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, moved the station from his home on Burton Drive to its current location on Tamson Drive, with the intent of selling KTEA. In 2014, the station was sold to Adelman Broadcasting — owner of eight other stations in California.
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Adelman also owns Cambria’s “Bob FM” (105.3 KCJZ) — which Kampschroer built for Adelman. Because it also broadcasts with 6,000 watts, like KTEA it is heard up and down the coast, in some North County locations and in San Luis Obispo. Bob FM features a wide variety of rock classics; KTEA (103.5) offers pop classics/oldies.
Celynn Lyman hired
Shortly after Adelman Broadcasting acquired ownership of KTEA, Cambria resident Celynn Lyman brought a group of Cub Scouts into the station for a tour. Her eyes immediately opened wide at the possibility of working at the station.
“I’ve always loved radio, and I’m a product of the ’80s, when radio was really big,” she said in an interview Saturday, Aug. 22.
During the tour, “Somehow, Papa Jim looked at me and said, ‘Would you want to work here?’ As strange as it was, and I don’t know how the whole thing came about, I said, ‘Yes, I would,’ so I called him the next day and filled out an application.”
Lyman, who is the administrator for KTEA and Bob FM, took broadcast journalism classes at Brigham Young University, but graduated with a major in English. One of her goals at the station is to “produce a lot of public service announcements and interactions with community groups in Cambria.
“We want community organizations to let us know about their events so we can put that information on the air,” she said.
(You can contact KTEA by phone at 924-0103).
KTEA is presenting a live broadcast of the Pinedorado Parade and is a sponsor of October’s Cambria Scarecrow Festival, Lyman explained. KTEA has provided play-by-play coverage of Coast Union football and baseball since 2007, and will broadcast the Broncos’ football season beginning with the first game, Sept. 4, against Fresno Christian.
“If we want to be considered a community radio station, then we need to help the organizations get their message out — and we’re doing that,” she said.
As to the music that is heard on KTEA, Lyman said besides the pop hits the station has presented since Adelman bought the station, she plans to play some songs that are in the same general category as Papa Jim’s original format. To wit, listeners occasionally will hear a Sinatra hit following music by Elton John, Elvis, Donna Summer, the Bee Gees and other artists.
“The oldies that were in the Top 10 for the year, in the 1940s and 1950s, are going to start filtering back on the air on KTEA-FM,” Lyman explained. “They will be songs that we’re really all familiar with.
“On Bob FM, the music jumps around. You will hear any genre known to man, as long as it is music that’s been in the Top 100 — from the ’60s until now. That’s a big mix of music,” Lyman emphasized.
“I love our stations, and I really believe they can be what the community needs,” she said.