KQL was a radio station, located in Los Angeles, California, that was licensed to Arno A. Kluge from October 13, 1921 to June 9, 1922. This was the first broadcasting station licensed in the state of California,[2] and one of the first in the United States. However, the station was short-lived, because Kluge died just two-and-a-half months after it was authorized.

Cover letter prepared by J. F. Dillon, 6th district Radio Inspector for the U.S. Commerce Department, summarizing Arno A. Kluge's application for a radio station license to broadcast "radio telephone concerts and data on a wavelength of 360 meters".[1]


KQL, located at 1045 South Bixel Street in Los Angeles, was first licensed as a broadcasting station to Arno A. Kluge on October 13, 1921.[3] At this time Kluge was already well established as a radio experimenter and equipment retailer. During World War One he had served as a Signal Corps instructor at the University of Nebraska, which gave him experience with the recently developed vacuum tube transmitters that made audio transmissions practical. However, an earlier electrical accident resulted in a progressive deterioration of his spine.[4] After the war he moved to Los Angeles, now largely confined to a chair and housebound due to paralysis of his legs.[5]

In 1920, he was issued a standard amateur radio station license, with the call sign 6DF,[6] in addition to an Experimental station license, 6XN, that was jointly held with A. H. McClelland and J. B. Farrington.[7] Kluge was credited with being the second in the southern California region to transmit audio radio programs, initially over 6XN.[8] In the fall of 1921, he applied for an Experimental radio license in his own name. His application also requested authorization to broadcast "radio telephone concerts and data on a wavelength of 360 meters". Because these were separate functions, Arno was issued two different licenses: an Experimental license with the call sign 6XAO,[9] plus a Limited Commercial authorization, with the randomly assigned call sign of KQL, for broadcasting on 360 meters (833 kHz).[10] (The license for 6XAO was deleted a couple of months later.)[11]

There were no formal standards in the United States regarding radio transmissions intended for the general public until December 1, 1921, when the Department of Commerce, which regulated radio at this time, adopted a regulation creating a broadcasting station category. These stations were required to hold a Limited Commercial license authorizing operation on 360 or 485 meters.[12] KQL was among a small number of stations that already met this standard at the time of its adoption, and was the only one located west of the Mississippi River. However, Kluge's health was deteriorating[4] and KQL's fledgling broadcasting activities came to an abrupt end with his death, at the age of 23, on December 31, 1921.[5]

Although now inactive, KQL continued to appear on broadcasting station lists until its license was canceled on June 9, 1922,[13] with 6XN deleted the same month.[14]


  1. ^ This cover letter is included in the KQL station folder archived in "Deleted broadcast license files (1921-1927), Accession # 52-A-51 - Box 4 of 8" as part of the "United States Department of Commerce: Bureau of Navigation (Radio Division)" holdings. Retrieved from the Washington National Records Center, National Archives and Records Administration.
  2. ^ There had been numerous earlier broadcasts made in California by stations operating under Experimental licenses, most prominently by Charles Herrold in San Jose beginning in 1912, and, beginning in 1920, by Lee de Forest's 6XC in San Francisco. ("Voices Out of the Fog" by John Schneider) However, KQL was the first in the state to match the formal definition of a broadcasting station — a station which had been issued a Limited Commercial license that specified operation on a wavelength of 360 meters — which was adopted by Department of Commerce regulators effective December 1, 1921.
  3. ^ "New Stations", Radio Service Bulletin, November 1, 1921, page 2.
  4. ^ a b "Arno Kluge Dies in California", Ravenna (Nebraska) News, January 6, 1922 (wikitree.com)
  5. ^ a b "Obituary: Arno A. Kluge", Radio magazine, March 1922, page 33.
  6. ^ "Sixth District", Amateur Radio Stations of the United States (Edition June 30, 1920), page 68: The "6" in 6DF's call sign indicated that the station was located in the 6th radio inspection district.
  7. ^ "New Stations: Special Land Stations", Radio Service Bulletin, October 1, 1920, page 4: The "X" in 6XN's call sign indicated the station was operating under an Experimental license.
  8. ^ "Development of Radio Telephone and C.W. in Southern California", Radio magazine, November 1921, page 149.
  9. ^ "New Stations: Special Land Stations", Radio Service Bulletin, November 1, 1921, page 3.
  10. ^ Limited Commercial license, serial #238, issued to Arno A. Kluge in Los Angeles, California for a one year term.
  11. ^ "Alterations and Corrections: Special Land Stations", Radio Service Bulletin, January 3, 1922, page 10.
  12. ^ "Alterations and Corrections: Miscellaneous", Radio Service Bulletin, January 3, 1922, page 10.
  13. ^ "Alterations and Corrections: Commercial Land Stations", Radio Service Bulletin, July 1, 1922, page 9.
  14. ^ "Alterations and Corrections: Special Land Stations", Radio Service Bulletin, July 1, 1922, page 10.