The Streamline Moderne building at 141 N. Vermont Avenue was built in 1936 as the headquarters for KEHE, the radio division of the Hearst corporation’s Los Angeles Evening Herald-Examiner. The unprofitable station was short-lived however, and in 1938, it was purchased and shut down by rival radio mogul Earle C. Anthony. In the following year, two of Anthony’s stations, KECA and KFI, began broadcasting from KEHE’s former home, pictured above sporting its owner’s ostentatious neon signature. KECA came under the ownership of ABC in the 1940s, and moved to the network’s Hollywood compound. KFI abandoned its aging home in 1975 to settle in a new building at Sixth Street and Ardmore Avenue.
The KEHE building is attributed to Stiles O. Clements, arguably one the city’s most renown 20th century architects. Yet despite his recognition, many of his works have been unceremoniously demolished, and the KEHE building is no exception. In 2003, it was torn down with little warning by the Los Angeles United School District for the construction of Belmont Elementary School No. 6. The rubble was repaved by outdoor playing fields and a basketball court, shielded away from the forlorn Vermont Avenue sidewalk.
1. Ouroussoff, Nicolai. “Failing a Landmark; When a school district’s building plan hinges on demolishing a historic site, something is amiss.” Los Angeles Times. 15 Jul. 2002. F1.
2. Page, Don. “Big Daddy of Radio Celebrates.” Los Angeles Times. 15 Jan. 1972. K58.
3. “KFI Radio building new headquarters.” Los Angeles Times. 15 Jun. 1975. G1.
Original photo: “Night view of KFI radio (exterior), 1940 – acsc-m1177.” 1940. Automobile Club of Southern California negatives. USC Digital Library. Automobile Club of Southern California. http://digitallibrary.usc.edu/assetserver/controller/view/AAA-NG-5013.