KMOD, Modesto, California, came on the air March 20th, 1950 on 1360 kilocycles AM with a apower of 1,000 watts with studios located on Adams Ave off Old Oakdale road in east Modesto. The license was issued by the FCC to Radio Modesto, a corporation owned by Richard J. Giddings, W.W. Giddings Jr., John E. Griffin and John H. Stott who was also the station's general manager. Robert Harrell was KMOD's Chief Engineer coming to Modesto from the Chicago area.
Gene D'Accardo the news editor came from KTRB in Modesto for 5 years prior. Later, for a brief period of time, their studios were located in the Hotel Covell in downtown Modesto. Later they moved to a new building built on east Orangeburg Avenue just east of Oakdale Rd where their 3 towers were located. At the time the Orangeburg location was five miles outside of the city of Modesto in the midst of peach orchard and pasture land. It had up-to-date Ampex reel-to-reel tape machines and a combination of RCA and General Electric equipment ranging from microphones to the audio board. There was also a large room used to hold several transcription libraries and thousands of LP and 45 rpm records and, later, a workshop was added where the news teletype machines were put.
The station called itself "Variety Radio" which it certainly was broadcasting from 5 a.m. to a little after midnight daily numerous programs ranging from Portuguese, Italian and Spanish language programs in the early morning to live country and western music. It carried most of the ABC Radio Network's offerings including "The Breakfast Club" to "The Lone Ranger." Paul Harvey and Martin Agronsky were heard with their unique brand of news reporting.
Local shows were primarily popular recorded music shows, local newscasts and special programs from time to time. One of the most popular evening shows was syndicated "Lucky Lager Dance Time," a show done locally by local announcers, but following a scripted format and music list so that a listener traveling north or south in California would hear the exact same show even though it was not a network program. COMPLETE STORY
KMOD 1360 KCs History
On the air in 1950
KBEE-FM a New Age In Modesto Radio
Researched & written by Bob Neira
On the air in 1948
Demolition crews began demolishing the original studios of radio station KTRB on January 25, 2016 following the sale of the property. KTRB's home for 75 years (1941-2016) sat on what originally was 40 acres of farmland station owner Bill Bates purchased on Norwegian Avenue just west of Coffee Road in 1940. Three cylindrical antennas structures, a studio building and Bates home were constructed on the southwest corner of the property. The new owner announced she intended to build an independent and assisted-living facility on the property but the sale fell through and the property went back on the market. The asking price has not been listed.
Bill Bates died in 1969 and the station operated under the auspices of Bates estate administered by the Crocker National Bank from 1969 to 1973 when it was sold for $675,000 to a corporation headed by the Pappas brothers (Mike, Pete and Harry) of Visalia (formerly of Modesto). Other members of the purchasing group included Bob Piccinini (Save- Mart Super Markets) and Mike Sturdevant among others
Demolition crews began demolishing the original studios of radio station KTRB on January 25, 2016 following the sale of the property. KTRB's home for 75 years (1941-2016) sat on what originally was 40 acres of farmland station owner Bill Bates purchased on Norwegian Avenue just west of Coffee Road in 1940. Three cylindrical antennas structures, a studio building and Bates home were constructed on the southwest corner of the property. The new owner has announced she intends to build an independent and assisted-living facility on the property. -COMPLETE STORY-
Living in a time when any listening spectacle imaginable can be found, it's hard to believe that the advent of FM radio had such an impact on Valley listeners.But, such was the case back in the afternoon of April 3, 1948 when KBEE- FM began broadcasting. It was not heard in stereo back then, since that mode of broadcasting was virtually unknown at the time. Modesto pioneer broadcaster George Stevens tells us that KBEE was not even the first FM station to broadcast in this area; that honor went to KGDM in Stockton. However, KBEE was the first FM station in Modesto. It was located in the newly- remodeled former Capitol School site at 14th and I Streets, adjacent to the old Modesto Bee newspaper plant.During that memorable day, dozens of radio enthusiasts and just plain curious folks attended the official "sign-on" ceremonies at the station at 2 PM. Local luminaries included Modesto Mayor Carl Shannon, Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors Chairman Leo Hammett and Harry Marks, President of the Modesto Chamber of Commerce.
At exactly 2 o'clock, listeners both in the audience and on the air heard: "This is KBEE, the Modesto e .broadcasting at 103.3 megacycles or channel 277. KBEE is owned and operated by the McClatchy Broadcasting Company." The opening remarks were preceded by a catered luncheon for invited guests and a prayer by Joe Tomes, of the McClatchy Broadcasting programming division.
The broadcast culminated months of frantic preparation by McClatchy Broadcast engineers and technicians from Sacramento. Stevens stated that when KBEE originally went on the air, it was staffed by only two people---chief engineer- announcer Bart Hancock and announcer-technician Granville Each. Bill Endicott was named the station manager. The station was on the air only from 3 to 9 Pm daily, but later expanded the operation. Steven further said that the first newscast on KBEE-FM was at 6 PM, written by a reporter from the Modesto Bee copy department and delivered to the station at 5:45 PM. Under McClatchy Broadcasting ownership, KBEE-FM was most successful in the late 70s and early 80s with its "Beautiful Music" format. The easy listening music was one of the consistently-top leaders in the Arbitron ratings for many years. McClatchy sold KBEE-FM, along with its sister station KBEE-AM to Price Broadcasting in Utah in 1983. Both stations were again sold in 1992 to Citadel Broadcasting. -MORE HISTORY-
The information contained in this website was valid at the time of publication. The Modesto Radio Museum Foundation (MRMF) reserves the right to make changes and improvements at any time and without notice. Further, the MRMF assumes no liability for damages incurred directly or indirectly as a result of errors, omissions, or discrepancies. Information contained in this website was valid at the time of publication. The (MRMF) reserves the right to make changes and improvements at any time and without notice.
The Modesto Radio Museum foundation was formed in 2004 comprised of current and past men and women with local broadcasting experience. The original idea for the museum came in 2004, when Harry Pappas, the then owner of the original KTRB property on Norwegian Ave contacted Wes Page, Cecil Lynch and Cal Purviance with the idea to build a museum dedicated to preserving the history of commercial broadcasting in Modesto and the area beginning in 1933.
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A new sign has been erected at the former studios of KTRB on Norwegian Ave. in Modesto, CA. According to the sign plans to build a Seniors living facility are in the planning stage. Photo courtesy of Board Member Bob Neira on April 28, 2017