Wednesday, July 30, 2014

#196: Emmis Communications

Emmis Communications is so far the only cake location that houses radio stations. They own four FM radio stations in St. Louis (see below). The St. Louis branch of Emmis operates at The Powerhouse building, just behind Union Station. Former Cardinals manager Whitey Herzog once owned a restaurant that sat where the Powerhouse building is now. Emmis' headquarters is in Indianapolis, and they own several radio stations and magazines in the United States, as well as in Slovakia. It was founded in 1980 when Jeffrey Smulyan bought his first radio station in Shelbyville, IN. The company has owned stations in cities like Austin, Atlanta and Honolulu. Of course, when owning stations, regardless of format, there is plenty of controversy to go around. It has mostly happened with incidents in their past and current stations in New York.

Not surprisingly (at least to me), they are ranked within the Top 50 Best Places to Work by numerous publications. Speaking from experience, I know that for a fact! I was never an employee there, but at one time, I was an intern for Emmis. I interned under George Depper, who was the EEO Director at the time, as well as a board operator on 97.1 FM. The summer of 2002 was one of my all-time best summers. Sure, it was work. But it was a cool experience I won't forget. Things have changed over the years, especially 12 years later, as far as people and ownership. I have been a professional in radio for almost 13 years. It was always a happy and busy atmosphere all over that place. But as I said, things did change through time. In 2002, local morning-show hosts Steve and D.C. were the kings of that place, as well as their cast and crew. You also have (what I call) a 'spin-off' talk-show, Dave Glover Show, on 97. 1 FM Talk. (Glover, a South Roxana resident, was Steve and D.C.'s attorney and was featured on their show a number of times)  Dave's show is one of the most-popular drive-time talk shows in St. Louis. I have memories of hanging around the studio during that time of the day. Probably the most thrilling were doing my production duties and, of course, hanging out and conversating with local legendary DJs: Guy Favazza (aka Favazz), John Ulett (aka The U-Man, also the Cardinals' stadium announcer) and Mark Klose. I think its time I put another resume there...

Front entrance
KSHE 95:    'Real Rock Radio' is what they are. Since 1967, they have been known to be 'the rock of St. Louis', or in other words, the place to go for listeners to hear hard rock and classic rock for the longest time. Throughout the day the station plays a blend of classic, hard, and new mainstream rock. Sammy Hagar, who has appeared in the station's commercials, often visits when he's in town (that's usually at least once a year). REO Speedwagon has credited KSHE for helping them become famous. The station has brought the sounds of Rush, Ted Nugent, Van Halen, and several heavy bands to the airwaves of St. Louis. KSHE's mascot, is Sweetmeat, the pig that sometimes has the joint hanging from his mouth. KSHE has been owned by Emmis since 1984. Its tower is located in Crestwood.

KPNT 105.7:   Dubbed 'the point' since its inception in 1993, it has been St. Louis' premier alternative/modern rock station. However, over recent years they have shifted towards a 'heavier' and/or 'active' rock format, but a genre that still manages to be classified as 'alternative'. Every year, they bring a day-long festival called 'Pointfest' to Verizon Wireless Ampitheatre. In the last few years they have brought it up to twice a year because of its popularity. The station's transmitter is in Collinsville, IL.

KIHT 96.3:   'K-Hits 96 FM' was started in 1994, as over the years that position on the radio dial has been through numerous formats. For 20 years now, it has stayed with its '70s and 80s rock' format, mostly classic and pop rock. In its first few years it was competing with its now-sister station, KSHE. K-Hits and The Point were both purchased by Emmis in 2000. The station's transmitter is in Shrewsbury.

KFTK 97.1:   '97.1 Talk FM'  Another position on the dial that has been through many formats, Emmis also purchased this station in 2000. The experiment was to create an FM talk-radio station that would appeal to certain audiences at the time. Over time, it would be leaned toward mostly conservative-leaning listeners. This is the only station in St. Louis that has more than one nationally-syndicated talk shows. Bill O'Reilly and Shawn Hannity have their shows broadcasted here, as well as local favorites Dave Glover and Dana Loesch. KFTK's transmitter is located in O'Fallon, MO.

Top of the cake

Right side of the cake

Left side of the cake

Left side of the building
I took this photo near the foyer (close to the office) inside Emmis. Date is unknown, possibly mid-2000s. There is a special picture hanging on the wall featuring Billy Joel posing at the old KSHE studios in the 1970s. I don't know if that picture still hangs there.
401 S. 18th Street, ST. LOUIS, MO, 63103
Cake artist: Joe Chesia

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