Don Lee, the wealthy owner of the Cadillac automobile
dealerships in San Francisco and Los Angeles, purchased KFRC in San
Francisco and KHJ in Los Angeles in 1926. These two stations became
the flagship stations for the Don Lee radio networks on the West Coast.
From 1930 to 1936, the stations distributed CBS programs to affiliated
stations up and down the coast as the Columbia-Don Lee network. After
Lee's death in 1934, the relationship ended when CBS purchased KNX in
Los Angeles and took direct control of its West Coast program
distribution. But the Don Lee organization continued on, as KFRC and
KHJ became the key stations for the Don Lee-Mutual Network, which
continued operations into the late 1940s.
Left: Don Lee delivers a new Cadillac to the Shriners, 1930. Right: Don Lee network radio stars Edna Fischer and Janette Dunn enjoy the comfort of a new Cadillac limousine.
Left: The Don Lee network at its height controlled the distribution of the Columbia (CBS) network programs to 31 stations on the West Coast. Center: Don Lee Obituary, 1934; Right: Don Lee's son, Tommy Lee, took over the company but showed more interest in racing cars than running an automobile and radio empire.