KYOI Recollections

Thoughts from Around the World !

I receive quite a bit of email from people across the Globe who have their own recollections of the KYOI era. If I don't include any contact information for a writer, please don't ask me to provide an email address for them - they will have specifically asked that their identity not be published - Sorry !

Norbert Kreitel from Bonn, GERMANY writes:

I was an everyday-listener since 1986 when I discovered KYOI and when reception conditions allowed it. Mostly reception was only fair to poor at my place of the world because the frequencies were occupied by stations from Europe and Africa like Radio RSA from South Africa on 11900 kHz. But some days reception was surprisingly good.

In your audio files (Top 30 Countdown Music Filler to Top of Hour 399K) you are not sure what this "filler" recording is. The title of this song is "Hyper-Gamma-Spaces" and was recorded by the well known group Alan Parsons Project. It is the original recording and it was a big hit for them at the end of the 70s as also was the song "The Gold Bug" and many, many others.

After KYOI was sold to the Christian Science Monitor in December 1986 the station went silent or transmitted with reduced power because I was not able to listen to it for about 3 months (I am not sure if I remember this correctly). But in April 1987 I received it with a strong signal as if they have improved the antenna or transmitter. The music format and most of the jingles and announcements were unchanged. Only the address changed to "Superrock KYOI, Box C 30, One Norway Street, Boston, Massachusetts, 02115, USA". Later that year they began announcing as "All Hit KYOI" in parallel to "Superrock KYOI". This increased and the original "Superrock KYOI" announcements faded more and more and it was only heard with the announcement as follows before a frequency change:

"This is Superrock KYOI K-Y-O-I - Saipan. You are listening to All Hit KYOI K-Y-O-I - broadcasting from Saipan on ... MHz. Our programming continues on ... MHz. All Hit KYOI programming continues on ... MHz. This is the World Service of The Christian Science Monitor in Boston."

At the start of a transmission after a frequency change they later only announced:

"Your are listening to All Hit KYOI K-Y-O-I broadcasting from Saipan on ... MHz".

Also with the announcement changes I noticed that there is a change in music to soft pop and oldies. Solid rock like songs from Billy Idol, The Hooters or Power Station were no longer heard (probably these artists/songs were not conform with their religious perspectives) although I think the music programs were still done under contract at that time and did not originate from Boston.

I think the new address in Boston was also used to collect address information from people around the world to mission. After I had sent them a reception report they sent me some QSL cards to fill out by myself along with lots of religious material. But the posting of religious material stopped later (I think it was too expensive for them after they noticed that there was no reaction on this) and they only sent the requested program and frequency schedule.

As you wrote there are only few recordings that have survived. Now I think you will be surprised: I recorded more than 10 hours of complete music transmissions with all the jingles and announcements from 1986 until 1988 on my semi-studio reel tape machine PHILIPS N4520. So, for me KYOI never died. I do not know how often I listened to these recordings until now but it must be so many times that I know all the contents and songs but every time it is a pleasure again and brings back these good old times and memories.

Pasi Ahvonen from Lappeenranta, FINLAND writes:

For some reason a song called "Kyrie" by Mister Mister has been playing in my head for several days. Maybe it's that or the fact that the Chernobyl nuclear accident happened exactly 20 years ago when this song was popular. Anyways I remembered Superrock KYOI. Twenty years ago I was a regular listener of that shortwave station here in Finland. I'm 40 now and that's 20 years ago. Uh-oh, time flies.

I can really share some of the memories from that era when satellite TV or Internet did not really exist and when finding good rock/pop station on FM in Finland was just a dream.

I started shortwave listening in around 1982 and was very active until ca. 1987. During that time I listened and reported the many stations that I heard. I think I collected QSL cards from more than 200 stations from more than 100 countries. I still find that amazing. But I did not just collect the cards or tried to push the limits with hunting more and more stations. I also listened regularly Voice of America, Deutsche Welle, BBC or other usual ones with always good audibility. Superrock KYOI was however something special because it came from the middle of Pacific and its broadcast content was really different than anyone elses. The drawback was that the audibility on 11.900 MHz was just tolerable, other frequencies just did not come through.

I still remember from my head the jingle from spring 1985: "You are travelling around the world looking for a place to land. You find a place in a propaganda and level off at 11.900 megs and yes, it's really happening. Big shortwave fund on Fridays at 1100 UTC and again on Sunday at 1200 hours UTC on Superrock KYOI". And the program went on with Purple Rain by Prince. That's something you just can't forget.

I have the same stickers and QSL cards in my collection (shoe box somewhere...) that you have on your web page.

Ed Ching from Manila, PHILIPPINES writes:

My name is Ed. I'm now 41years old and working as a high school teacher. I do not know at this point why I'm writing to you, except that I did something over the past New Year's weekend that reminded me about Super Rock KYOI more than 20 years ago.

I was testing my old stereo component that had a built in shortwave band, and I remembered those days when playing pop music on a regular basis on shortwave was quite unthinkable. Receiving shortwave radio broadcasts today in my place in Manila now mostly originate from China with the Western services becoming less and less visible except for BBC, Radio Australia and VOA.

KYOI I believe, had cemented a place in its history for having dared to do something that other broadcasters had not done. Personally, I believe that was their reason for keeping its memory alive today on its listeners of that time.

I was just 5 years into regularly tuning in to shortwave when I first noticed the station sometime in the summer of 1983. Usually its signals ring in the strongest during the early to mid-afternoons (15,190 kHz). I fancy into listening the station because it carried quite the same playlist as the local pop stations we have here in Manila at the time, but with one difference-- I was listening to it because of the novelty of it being broadcast from a faraway country. Not too long after, I was hooked by its programming. At the time, I just used a typical rabbit ear VHF antenna to connect to my shortwave radio that was built into an ordinary radio cassette recorder.

I also heard about its pleas for help, and even attempted to write to them, but never got to receive the QSLs nor the T-shirt, although I was able to saw one being peddled in our side street stalls, and that was how I was able to identify the KYOI bird and the station ID. By 1986, I listened less and less to them as I graduate from college and entered work. I was only able to listen to KYOI sparingly from 1988. That time, its programming was no longer attractive to me as the local stations played newer hits than they are.

So by that time, I lost track of its activities. The introduction of satellite TV by the 1990s also completely stopped my shortwave DX hobby, and for quite sometime I was really mesmerized at the thought of actually being able to watch and listen to a foreign broadcast, first from an international service, to now a broadcast intended for its domestic audience that was beamed here to us.

Time flies, and as I was able to recall KYOI through the internet, which subsequently led me to your website. It was only then I realized that the station was gone as early as 1989. I looked back and thanked the station for the memories it gave me and for the interest it sustained on me for receiving and monitoring more foreign broadcasts.

Although the Internet now largely made my dream of listening to a foreign station a reality, still nothing beats the nostalgia of listening to a foreign broadcast over the traditional shortwave airlanes. Today, I may be listening to shortwave for local rebroadcasts of China's state run National Radio One and Two, but the memories of that little giant from Saipan called Superock KYOI, with its announced signal strength of "seven and half million watts of now music from L.A.", will always linger in my mind.

Charles Littlefield from Townsville, AUSTRALIA writes:

Back in the late 70's to late 80's I was an avid shortwave DXer and a member of the Australian Radio DX Club (ARDXC). KYOI was one of the probably thousands of stations I listened to, but KYOI was different. It wasn't just another DX target, it was actually something I listened to because of the programming. At that time I was in my mid/late teens and liked contemporary music. So it seemed a fitting combination.

My favourite frequencies were the 19 metre ones in the early to late afternoon. If my memory serves me correctly the signals peaked around 0600 GMT. I remember often lying down in my bedroom in a semi-awake state during hot afternoons listening to KYOI, the fading of the signal and the favourable music putting me into a blissful dream like state, if you can relate to that. I don't know if many other SWL/DXers had similar experiences with their listening but for me despite my strong technical interest in HF propagation etc. my imagination used to drift and I'd be thinking of things like signals travelling across the oceans/continents and what the earth looked like from the height of the ionosphere. Really weird I suppose but I don't think any other hobby/interest has had that effect on me since.

Unfortunately by the late 80's local powerline noise was making listening impossible and by the time I left my parents house in 1990 my shortwave days were over. I've never had any involvement since. Actually I don't even know to what extent HF broadcasting continues today.

For what it's worth my primary receiver was a National Panasonic DR48 but I played around with a host of others both valve and semiconductor.

Mark Clemmons from Minnetonka, Minnesota, U.S.A. writes:

I'm an American that lived in the Shibuya-ku area of Tokyo, Japan from 1983 to 1986. While living there I bought a Sony ICF-7600D. At the time my age range was late 20's. One day I discovered KYOI from Saipan. I felt fortunate to be living in the Japanese mega-city Tokyo, but nonetheless was very happy to hear 100% American music from back home. I listened nearly every day to get an injection of American music. From your web site I learned that the target audience was in Japan! Since I was already sufficiently Americanized, I probably was not the target demographic, but it certainly resonated with me while living on Japan.

Although its been 25 years, in my mind I can still hear KYOI broadcasting the Eurythmic's song "Sweet Dreams", including the static and wash from KYOI's shortwave broadcast. After I returned to the U.S. I felt compelled to buy the CD and now listen to it on my iPod. But the iPod is not as thrilling as listening to KYOI from Saipan!

Robert Bentley from Brisbane, AUSTRALIA writes:

I guess I do not count as an avid KYOI listener, but for a brief period in 1986 I attended a New Zealand technical institute studying for my radio technician's certificate. As part of the course I created a 'minimalist' short-wave radio and the first station I picked up on it was K-Y-O-I KYOI !

It's programming was just right for a 20 year old and I spent many a night with my 'radio' (which was little more than a piece of sheet metal bent into a 90 degree angle with the components mounted on the bottom side) listening to the great sounds from this station. It was simply the best !

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