KSFO - No. 1 Nob Hill Circle

Nob Hill Circle   Nob Hill Circle

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In 1942, the Office of War Information was operating its West Coast shortwave program services (predecessor to the Voice of America) from San Francisco, transmitting essential news and propaganda to the Pacific during World War II.   But the OWI's first location in the modest studios of KGEI in the Fairmont Hotel was much too small for its needs.  The government turned to KSFO’s Wesley Dumm for help, and he built a new studio complex for both KSFO and the OWI in an annex to the Mark Hopkins Hotel. 

The studios were located in the hotel’s former parking garage underneath the hotel, which was felt to be safe from enemy bombs.  An extension of the building was added facing south towards Pine Street.  It housed the station offices and was the fašade of the radio facility, known as Number One Nob Hill Circle.  Completed in 1943, this elaborate facility became the source of most programming for KSFO, KGEI, KGEX, KWID and KWIX. 

After NBC moved into its new Radio City building in 1942, the former NBC studios at 111 Sutter Street were also taken over by the OWI.   After the war, KSFO took over the entire building, and it also served as the first studio for KPIX-TV.  After KSFO and KPIX moved out in 1954,, some of the studio space was returned to the hotel's parking garage, but the offices and remaining studios again echoed with the sounds of radio as the home of KYA from 1958 to 1979

PHOTOS:  SFour views of No. 1 Nob Hill Circle in San Francisco:   TOP:  July 1 and November 30, 1942.  BOTTOM:  April, 1943 and a view today (Google Maps).
(Photos courtesy of Kevin Mostyn)


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