Bob Pinheiro, 84

Clarence Pinheiro Tribute

Clarence Anthony Pinheiro
June 20, 1938 – June 19, 2023

Modesto , California – Clarence Anthony (Bob) Pinheiro, passed away peacefully on June 19, 2023, surrounded by family, just one day shy of his 85th birthday.

Born at home in Stevenson, Calif, to parents Edward and Mary Machado Pinheiro,  Bob joined the family that included older brother, Eddie Ralph Pinheiro. Bob graduated from Livingston High School in 1956, and married his high school sweetheart, Donna Cole.

He began his life-long love of radio broadcasting in 1958 by attending the William B. Ogden Radio Operational Engineering School in Burbank, CA.  In the school’s 27 years (1946-1973) nearly 11,000 people “graduated” into careers in radio.

Bill Ogden and his school made a huge impression on Bob.  As the Modesto Radio Museum’s first Web Master, Bob retrieved, organized, and displayed 280 photographs of the school, and chronicled the school’s history and success.    Over 100 graduates have placed their comments in the Museum’s website, and Bill Ogden’s family graced Bob with letters of appreciation.   As of 2023, search engine Google lists Bob’s work as the world’s on-line authority on the school.

Bob was a major radio personality at several Valley radio stations including KROG, KYOS, KNGS, KTRB and KBEE using the on-air name, Bob Sterling.

Museum’s Webmaster Emeritus, Bob Pinheiro (Bob Sterling) 1964

He moved to Modesto in 1960 and began a 30-year career as a deputy with the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department. The majority of those years were spent in the investigations division. Bob earned several awards of commendation,  including the American Legion Albert L Pedersen Award and the American Legion Law Enforcement Officer of the Year.

Bob never abandoned  his love of radio.  He immersed himself in Amateur Radio, and earned his Ham Radio Operators License, WA6ZLO.   For years, he encouraged and  tutored others to do the same. Bob was a founding member of the Stanislaus Amateur Radio Association (SARA).     

KTRB’s Ham Radio Station

 

QSL Card, verifying Ham Radio Reception.
The Stanislaus Amateur Radio Association’s show of appreciation

Bob had many friends, one of his closest was legendary singer-turned radio personality-turned broadcast owner, Chester Smith.   Two months before Chester died, he called Bob, and said “let’s do lunch.”  It was quite a lunch.  Bob shared about that day with his buddy:  My last visit with Chester.

He retired from the Sheriffs Department, and began his “part time” business, “Bob Sterling Mobile DJ,” which he proudly operated for many years, entertaining throughout the Central Valley, and accumulating dear friends along the way.

Even after hanging up his ear phones, he kept busy in broadcasting, and was a founding member of the Modesto Radio Museum Foundation. Websites were just beginning, and Bob took on the challenge, creating the Radio Museum’s beautiful website, Modestoradiomuseum.org.  He was, indeed, the Museum’s WebMaster.   In 2019, at the age of 81, Bob enrolled in an on-line college course on Enhancing Websites, just to increase his already impressive skills.  Bob retired with the title, “Webmaster Emeritus.”

Bob is predeceased by his parents, brother, and loving wife of 59 years, Donna Clyne Pinheiro. He is survived by his three children, Terrance Pinheiro and wife Cathy, Cheryl Pinheiro Keener and husband Michael, Mitchell Pinheiro and wife Stephanie. Grandchildren Matthew Pinheiro and wife Kendall, Chase Keener and wife Alexis, Colin Keener and wife Alyssa, Michael Pinheiro, Ashley Pinheiro, Clayton Keener, Cydney Keener, Grant Pinheiro and Mackenzie Pinheiro. Four great grandchildren and two more on the way.

Private interment was held at Acacia Memorial Park, Modesto. Remembrances may be made to the Modesto Radio Museum to help build and operate the museum inside the Graffiti USA Classic Car Museum.

Bob Pinheiro, a founding father of the Modesto Radio Museum. His air name was Bob Sterling.

–Modesto Bee, July, 2023, along with contributions from the Modesto Radio Museum.

Bob Salmon, 81

 

Robert Michael Salmon, age 81, died peacefully on May 14, 2023, at his home in Modesto, California, with his beloved partner of 30+ years, Sadhna Perez, and his younger sister, Ann Nichols, at his side. A local Kalamazoo radio legend known as Bob King, he was a longtime on-air personality and half of the duo behind the Doc Holiday and Bob King Show. Bob was born and raised in Edina, Minnesota, and spent twenty years in Kalamazoo, Michigan, before he moved to Modesto in 1985.

 

After getting his start in radio at KDWB in the Twin Cities area, Bob relocated to Kalamazoo in 1964 and became the on-air talent, sales manager, and ultimately general manager of WKMI radio. While there he was co-creator and one half of the the Doc Holiday and Bob King Show, a long-running morning drive-time program best known for its amusing antics and practical pranks. In 1985 Bob began his tenure as a station owner and operator with the purchase of KMIX Radio in Turlock, California. His group acquired, turned around, and sold several stations in both California and Michigan, including KEWB in Redding, California and WJFM in Grand Rapids, which Bob reformatted from classic rock to country. WBCT (B93), the resulting station, has been a top market performer ever since.

 

During his long career, he was the mischievous spirit behind and leader of the team who brought the Do-Dah Parade to Kalamazoo, as well as the WKMI Underdogs Basketball Charity Team and the B93 Birthday Bash, an event that still takes place annually. Bob retired in 2006 and, never one to sit still, began a new career as the publisher of Broker Agent Magazine.

 

Bob was an all-around sports enthusiast and participant. When he wasn’t out on the field or court himself, he was organizing family football or softball games, taking too many of his young children to area golf courses (and letting them loose on the carts), or coaching his sons in the Oakwood Little League while in Michigan and then Riverbank Little League and Modesto Teen Baseball in California. While this started as a way for him to spend time and share his love of baseball with his sons and stepsons, it continued well past when they had moved on from the program. Bob mentored and coached hundreds of Kalamazoo and Modesto-area youth and he regarded it as one of the highlights of his life.

 

An avid storyteller, the reason Circus Peanuts candy is still made, and continuously disappointed Minnesota Twins and Vikings fan, Bob was most proud of his family.

He is survived by his loving partner Sadhna Perez; his children, Deborah (Dan) Borre, Kathleen (Larry) Lowis, Michael (Laurie), and Casey (Zanna); his stepchildren Todd Schuster, Shawn Werner, Francisco (Malisa) and Richard (Lizett) Perez; his grandchildren, Jonathon (Allyson) Lowis, Jordan (Eric) Beery and Bailey (Macon) Boes, Ethan and Claire Borre, Ava Salmon, Taylor, Tristan, Teagan, Tahlia, and Tarynn Salmon, Marcus, Jessica, and Mikayla Perez, and Rachel and Julien Perez; four treasured great grandsons, Judah, Asher, and Silas Beery, and Shiloh Boes; his sister Ann Nichols; as well as nieces, nephews, and many other loving family members and friends.

 

Bob is preceded in death by his parents, Robert and LaVerne Salmon, and his brother and sister-in-law Stephen and Kay Salmon.

 

San Diego salutes our own, Tom Kelly

 Before I had a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, I was a kid in San Diego with DJ dreams

 

Radio personality "Shotgun Tom Kelly" poses for a portrait at his home studio.
Radio personality “Shotgun Tom Kelly” poses for a portrait at his home studio.
(Meg McLaughlin/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

I once got to introduce President Ronald Reagan at a campaign rally in San Diego in 1984, later gave him one of my ranger hats, and in 2013 received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Irwin, known as “Shotgun Tom Kelly,” is a longtime radio and television personality in Southern California and can be heard on SiriusXM 60s Gold(Channel 73) from 4 to 9 p.m. He is working on a book titled “All I Wanna Do is Play the Hits” and lives in San Diego County.

It’s been a more than a 50-year career, and it’s still going strong. I once got to introduce President Ronald Reagan at a campaign rally in San Diego in 1984, later gave him one of my ranger hats, and in 2013 received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

I was born and raised in San Diego and have always been proud to say that San Diego is my hometown. As young as 10, my dream was to be on the air in the radio industry, and I was very fortunate to have my dream realized when I was just 16. I was attending Mount Miguel High School in Spring Valley, and I was the school’s announcer every morning on “The Morning Bulletin.”

 

"Shotgun Tom" Kelly visits with President Ronald Reagan in the oval office in the late 1980s
“Shotgun Tom” Kelly visits with President Ronald Reagan in the oval office in the late 1980s
(Thomas Irwin )

Then, in 1966, I got my first on-air job at KPRI-FM playing standard music through a work-study program. At the time, FM was not the radio giant it is now. AM radio dominated the airwaves with stations like KCBQ and KGB-AM playing the hits, and that’s where I wanted to be, behind the microphone of a Top 40 radio station, playing those hits.

Shotgun Tom Kelly in radio school. It takes hard work to sound like a natural.

When I started, I needed a Federal Communications Commission first-class radiotelephone operator license to work at the big AM stations. So as soon as I graduated high school, I enrolled in the William B. Ogden Radio Operational Engineering School in Huntington Beach. I graduated from Ogden after six months with my first-class license, and I was on my way.

My first AM radio job was in Merced at KYOS-AM, then I worked at KACY-AM in Oxnard, and later, I was hired in Bakersfield at KAFY-AM.

It was in Bakersfield that I got a chance to host my first television kids show. I was “Nemo, the clown” every Saturday morning on KERO-TV, channel 23. I was in heaven. I was playing the hits and slowly making my way back to my hometown. One day, I got the nerve up to send an audition tape to Charlie Van Dyke, the program director of KGB-AM. He hired me for the 9 p.m. to midnight show. A year later, in 1971, I was the afternoon DJ at KCBQ-AM, at the same time I was asked to host “Word’s A Poppin,” a syndicated children’s game show on KGTV, channel 10. Now, I was working in two media industries, radio and television.

In the late 1970s, I worked at various radio stations in San Diego, including B100-FM and K-BEST 95, and in 1983 I began hosting the KUSI-TV “Kids Club.”

In the 1980s, Rep. Duncan Hunter reached out to me to voice his radio spots. He suggested that I present one of my ranger hats to then-President Ronald Reagan, and arranged for a presentation at the White House. It was an honor. President Reagan got up from the Resolute Desk, walked over and said, “Well, Shotgun, I hear you were the emcee in San Diego and kept the people entertained while they were waiting for me.”

I said, “Yes, Mr. President, and I bring you my ranger hat.” He put it on for a photo.

At that time, I started voicing radio and TV commercials. One of my commercial clients, Mad Jack’s, an electronics retailer, was selling a new piece of equipment, the Sony CD player. I was fascinated with the size of a compact disc and instantly wanted to replace all my dusty vinyl records. The player was portable, which was a new innovation. Of course, I immediately purchased one and installed one in my car.

In 1997, I got my big break and went to Hollywood at K Earth 101and succeeded one of my all-time radio heroes, “The Real” Don Steele.

I worked there for 20 years, and eventually was honored with a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. Stevie Wonder was one of my presenters during the event.

Shotgun Tom, on the Hollywood Walk of Fame!

Working in Los Angeles, I had the opportunity to meet celebrities like Clint Eastwood, Regis Philbin, Vin Scully, Tom Jones, Elton John, Mike Love of the Beach Boys, John Stamos and many others. When I met Clint Eastwood, he knew who I was, and we talked about our favorite jazz DJ Chuck Niles. Regis Philbin and I talked about people we worked with at KFMB. To this day, Mike Love and I are good friends.

Now I work from a home studio and am on satellite radio. I am heard all around the world. I hope my Southern California listeners say, “Tom Irwin made good in San Diego and Hollywood.”

(Note:  Tom is a member of the Modesto Radio Museum, and for years was the station announcer, “The Voice” of the legendary Top-4o KFIV.)

*** To read the Museum’s tribute to Tom click here: “Quite a Ride, when you ride Shotgun.”  

***In his own voice, here are a few of Tom’s favorite radio memories: https://hollywoodandlevine.libsyn.com/ep142-meet-radio-star-shotgun-tom-kelly

OGDEN’S – Stan Atkinson Remembers

 

Stan Atkinson

 

 

Editor’s Note: This was part five in a series about local people connected to the early days of television.

When it comes to discussions about legendary figures in the history of local television, former TV anchor and reporter Stan Atkinson should always be in those conversations.
With a review of Stan’s awards alone, one can quickly gain an understanding that he was far from an average person in the field of journalism.

Stan Atkinnson, early days on television
Television was young and so was Stan Atkinson in the 1950s

Stan was a three-time Emmy Award winner and a recipient of both the World Affairs Council Award of Excellence for International Reporting and the Sacramento Region Community Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award. And these are just some of the awards that he has received.

Last week, Stan sat down in his Arden area home to discuss his journalism career, which spanned nearly a half-century. But before presenting details about that time, he spoke about the pre-media portion of his life. “I was born (in San Diego) on Nov. 11, 1932,” Stan said. “I was a peace baby, a Veterans (Day) baby.” After being asked to speak about his parents, Stan said, “It’s a long story, because I was adopted. I was raised by the Atkinsons – Stan and Bess Atkinson.”

Stan Atkinson, early days starting in radio
Stan began his broadcasting career in radio, in Los Alamos, New Mexico

Although most Sacramento area residents remember Stan for his television days, the majority of those people are not familiar with his relatively brief time working in radio.
In speaking about his first experience in radio, Stan said, “I was the sports editor of my high school newspaper and they started doing a radio show on Friday afternoons. So, I would do the sports segment, and I enjoyed it so much I ended up doing most of the show. I really liked it. I hadn’t had any experience with radio other than to listen to it. I was a high school senior then and I thought, ‘Well, I really like this and maybe this is something I could do (for a living) and should do.’ So, I announced to my father (the eldest Stan Atkinson) that I didn’t want to go to college.

I wanted to go to a school that would get you a first-class (Federal Communications Commission) license. My father was very disappointed, disgusted maybe, because he wanted me to go onto college and he had ideas of me becoming a lawyer. In disgust, he said, ‘Okay, I’ll give you the $300 to go to school.’ And he said, ‘And that’s it; then you’re on your own.’ I said, ‘Okay, good deal.’ So, I went to school (at the William Ogden Radio Operational Engineering School) in Burbank Calif.). I got the first-class license with great difficulty.”
Stan explained that after earning his first-class license in 1951, he had many employment opportunities in radio.

“Gosh, there were 200 jobs out there all over the country for the 25 of us who were in the (Ogden) class,” Stan said. “You pretty much had your pick.”

After reviewing his options, Stan decided that he would like to work for a particular, Armed Forces radio-founded radio station in Los Alamos, New Mexico.

To Stan’s delight, the station, after reviewing his audition disc, offered him a job.

 

Stan Atkinson

Stan lives in Sacramento and celebrated his 90th birthday on November 11, 2022

 

Have You Ever Called a Radio Station??

DENNY BROUGHER IS JAY MICHAEL STEVENS!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was 1966. I was 16 years old, and top rated music station KHJ/930 AM Los Angeles California was doing a “Cash Call” contest. The cash prize, which grew larger at every incorrect answer, had just been won the previous hour, so it went back to a small amount ($10). I guessed wrong, and got the

Here it is! Denny’s long-lost album, or at least a photo.

consolation prize, which I wanted anyway. It was a souvenir KHJ Boss Radio record album, with pics of the KHJ jocks including Robert W Morgan, The Real Don Steele, and twelve songs from 1965 including “Gloria” by Van Morrison, Sonny and Cher’s “I Got You Babe”, and Barry McGuire’s “Eve Of Destruction”.

For someone who wanted to get into radio, this was better than winning the cash. Unfortunately, when I moved to Tucson, Arizona in 1970 for my first radio gig, my album collection and other stuff I left at home, was given to the Salvation Army.

“BORN TO BE MILD,” The Great K-5 Motorbike Giveaway.
Jay Michael Stevens, Don Shannon, Radio Rick Myers, and Captain Fred James

Now, fast forward to 1972. The tables were turned. I was 22 and just started working at top 40 radio station, KFIV, Modesto. We were giving away a Yamaha motorbike.      We took one caller every four hours to try and win it. The program director thought we could milk the contest for at least a couple of weeks. I had a winner the first evening of the contest. Program director was upset. Management was upset. And I thought I was going to get fired. The other more ‘seasoned’ jocks, thought it was funny. Especially when I put “Jane”, the winner, live on the air to congratulate her. After a few questions about how she felt winning a motorcycle, I asked if I could be the first one to ride with her. She answered with a very loud “NO!” I hit the radio station jingle and went straight to music.

 

Station management realized the contest needed to be reworked. Fortunately, the sales department got us a second motorbike. For this contest, we played the sound effect of a motorcycle throughout the day. We took the first caller’s name and phone number. All the contestants were then put into a barrel. After taking entries for a month or so, we had an on-air drawing for the “big” winner. This time around, the program director was happy. Management was happy. The advertiser was happy. And I continued working there for the next five years. But I never did get that ride on her new motorcycle.

(However, Jay DID get to sing at a piano bar):

Write us a letter, and we’ll sing you a song! Don Shannon, Radio Rick, Captain Fred James, Kenny Roberts, Larry Maher, Diane Cartwright, and J. Michael Stevens. 1976. KFIV

(And, he took a lot of requests)

 

 

Bessie Pappas Grillos, 83

 

           Bessie Pappas Grillos

Bessie Pappas Grillos, 83, of Modesto, passed away on June 3, 2022, after battling Parkinson’s disease and dementia.
Bessie was born on April 4, 1939, in Hiawatha, Utah, to Nick and Mary Katsavrias, as was active in the Greek Orthodox Church all of her life.
Bessie met husband Pete Pappas at a church dance in Price, Utah. They were married in 1962 and had two (2) sons, Pete Pappas, Jr. and Mike Pappas. Always famous for her cooking, Bessie creating a warm, welcoming home for her family and countless friends. Bessie proved to be a dutiful wife and loving, caring mother.
As a broadcasting professional, Bessie was instrumental in helping husband Pete and his twin brother, Mike Pappas, build, manage and own radio stations in Las Vegas, Tulare and Modesto. Eventually, Pete and Mike, along with brother Harry J. Pappas, built and launched KMPH-TV in the Fresno-Visalia television market. At each location, Bessie was the unsung hero who helped manage the stations in the always-difficult but growing broadcast industry. Eventually, Bessie and Pete settled in Modesto and owned two (2) radio stations, KHOP-FM and KTRB-AM. In 1986, Pete suddenly passed away at almost 49-years old, leaving Bessie a young widow.
In 1998, Bessie married Steve Grillos, a retired CSU Stanislaus professor. They enjoyed travel, spending time with family and friends and serving their church community. Even in her later years, Bessie had a limitless supply of energy and was always active in her church’s Greek Food Festivals. Steve and Bessie shared 22 loving years together until his passing on February 9, 2021. Bessie finished her professional career working for Modesto City Schools and retired in 2011.
Bessie is survived by her sons, Pete Pappas, Jr. and Mike Pappas and his wife Katerina; grandchildren, Panayiota, Manolie and Yianni, all in Denver, CO; brother Gust Katsavrias (Sharon), Price, UT; sister-in-law Noula Pappas, Fresno CA; brother-in-law, Harry J. Pappas (Stella A. Pappas), Reno NV; and many nieces and nephews who all grieve the loss of their beloved Thea Bessie.
Trisagion services were held at 6:00 PM on Tuesday, June 14, 2022, at Salas Brothers Funeral Chapel, 419 Scenic Dr, Modesto, CA 95350.
Funeral services were held at 11:00 AM on Wednesday, June 15, 2022, at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, 313 Tokay Ave., Modesto, CA 95350. Interment at Lakewood Memorial Park, 900 Santa Fe Ave, Hughson, CA 95326.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church.

 

“KNIGHTIME”on KBEE

(The Radio Museum is grateful to Ron Underwood, former faculty member at Downey High School, and advisor to the school’s radio station, KDHS.   Here’s where this story begins:  Bob Pinheiro, Webmaster Emeritus of the Radio Museum, discovered a 1964 recording labeled “Knightime.” The program had audio about activities at Downey High.  They are the Knights.   We asked Ron for details.

He wrote back, and here is Ron’s backstory of “Knightime.”

“Yes, this program was called “Knightime.  It was a fifteen-minute program highlighting Downey High activities, athletics, and student talents.  The shows aired weekly on KBEE-AM 970.

 

They aired until 1972. (NOTE: 1972 was the year Ron Underwood transferred to Beyer High School.)
Interestingly, the program aired with the same title and the same format in the mid-1950s as well.  Downey Speech teacher Edna Spelts organized and produced those shows through the efforts of her Advanced Speech class.
I was a part of these shows then as a student!   Years later, when I returned to Downey as a teacher,  I told the class about “Knightime” and they seemed eager to revive the show.   So we did!

Furthermore, in the late 50s we added “Funny Paper Time” to our broadcasting efforts. This was a program where the students would read-with character voices and sound effects-from the Sunday comic section of The Modesto Bee.  Our version of the comics also aired on KBEE…..In the late 60s we changed the name to KCEY Comics as the shows were moved over to KCEY in Turlock.

P.S.   I sure do enjoy the Radio Museum web site.
I am looking forward to a visit to the new -in person- edition with one of my future trips to Modesto.

Keep up the good work.
Sincerely,
Ron Underwood”

Here is one of those programs.   We are happy to present “Knightime,”  from 1964, produced by the students of Downey High School, and heard on KBEE-AM 970:

One of the guests was Chuck Hughes, for many years, Coach of the Downey Football Knights.   The stadium is named after him.   KFIV-AM broadcast a number of their games.

KFIV broadcasting a Downey High football game. The press box was often cold, but the games had a big audience.

 

 

 

Dick Boynton-KBEE. A Day In The Life of a Radio Newsman

 

Editors note:  This Modesto Bee article appeared on November 21st, 1968.  Later, Bee Photographer Al Golub added follow-up commentary. Special thanks to Al, a friend of the Museum, for permission to archive his story.

November 21, 1968

Wellesley Richard “Dick” Boynton was the news editor at KBEE AM, The Modesto Bee’s sister radio station. In November 1968, Dick volunteered to be my subject for a day-in-the-life-of-a-radio-reporter story. My goal was to improve my story-telling skills.

I asked Dick to just do his job and ignore me. We met at 6 a.m. at the Stanislaus County jail to get booking information.

Dick began every morning at the County Jail to find out who had been arrested the night before.
In 1968, a newsman had to physically retrieve information; nothing was divulged over the phone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then we were  off to Modesto Police Department to read the police logs.

In less than an hour, Dick would be on the air, using these notes in his morning newscasts.
Dick went through police logs daily, looking for newsworthy stories.

 

 

 

 

 

Dick talking with Deputy Sheriff Billy Joe Dickens. Note: Dickens would later die in the line of duty during a Hughson bank robbery.
Dick was dedicated to accuracy; stories were verified before airing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At MPD, we discovered a big story was unfolding.  Stanislaus County Superintendent of Schools Fred Beyer and his deputy Joseph Howard had died the night before in a plane crash coming back from Fresno.

Dick recording a phone interview regarding the Fred Beyer plane crash.
Quickly, Dick edits the phone interviews.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Making images was easy under these circumstances: I just followed Dick as he worked. I moved in and out while Dick ignored me, just as I had asked. When he finally sat down to write copy, he talked aloud and banged away on his typewriter. Next thing I knew, he was on the air broadcasting the news.

Several newscasts each morning, require non-stop updates
It seems newsmen are too busy to keep things tidy.
A listener calls in a news lead. Dick listens now, and verifies later

 

 

 

 

 

Boynton worked as the news editor for KBEE for nearly a decade under managers Roy Swanson and Ed Boyle. Earlier in his career, his deep, resonant voice was heard on the airwaves at KWG in Stockton. Boynton had also worked as a newsman for radio stations in Salinas and San Diego. Among racing fans, Dick was known as a winning driver of dragsters and super-stock cars.

First Prize: A Job at the White House

Richard Strauss’s childhood mimicked countless other youngsters:   he was hooked on radio.

One generation before Richie’s childhood (he was “Richie” during his younger days), a household’s radio was large, was placed on the kitchen counter, and was controlled by the parent.   Kids listened to Arthur Godfrey, because they were forced to.  Or Don McNeil’s Breakfast Club, which didn’t appeal to youngsters, but it was better than going hungry.  Then, in 1957 things changed.    It was the year Sony  mass produced the  transistor radio.   Overnight radios the size of toasters were replaced by radios the size of  cell phones.   Since transistors didn’t require much electricity, they ran on batteries.   Wow, they were small, lightweight, and could go anywhere!!   They were personal! Since they came with a little earpiece, they were private!!  They made a worldwide splash, and they made Richie Strauss’s world.

By the mid ’60s, SONY had sold 7 million radios!
Transistor radios were such the rage, Pepsi gave its version to Paul McCartney, Feb. 1964

 

Day and night, the radio was on, on the way to school, even during school,  at home doing homework, at bedtime, under the covers.   It was non-stop, it was addictive, it was fun!   The radio station with the most fun was KFIV, known as K-5, Modesto’s first Top 40 Radio Station!

Oh, what a station.   The music was modern and fun.   The disc jockeys were glib, clever, and shared the Low Down on Mo-Town (they knew what was going on in and around Modesto).   What’s more,  you could call them on the phone!!  They were friendly, would joke around with you, and sometimes they played your request.

But for Richie, contests were the real fun.    They were non-stop.  K-5 would give away a brand new ten-speed bike a day for 30 days, and the following day the next contest began.  The size of the prize didn’t matter, from movie tickets, to K-Tel albums, to ski lift passes, to crisp clean hundred-dollar bills, it was fun to play and even more fun to win.

One contestant won…The K-5 Corvair Convertible!

Richie played as often as K-5 allowed.

 

 

Often the contestant would have to be “caller number 5” or “13” or “27.”    Richie’s house had two phones.   He would call on one, and then start dialing on the other.    He might be caller “3” and then “11” and then “18”.   And sometimes he got to play.     These persistent players were given a nickname!  The KFIV Program Director, Larry Maher, called them Contest Cuties!    Richie was a dedicated Contest Cutie Craftsman.   Sometimes he won “older people’s” prizes, such as concert tickets to see Englebert Humperdink, or Liza Minelli.   Those tickets he gave to his parents.

One time, K-5 virtually hid an ounce of solid gold.   Listeners did not go dig up the town looking for the gold; they listened for, and studied the clues, which went from vague to more and more precise.     As an example, one ounce of gold was hidden inside the skull at the old dental office exhibit at the McHenry Museum.  (Note:  as the clues revealed the gold was somewhere inside the Museum, the McHenry Museum set all-time attendance records!!  The curator couldn’t figure out what was going on!)

Another time, K-5 gave away Five Motorbikes!

Back to Richie.   He had a cassette player, and he recorded every contest he played.   When it came to contests, Richie was practically an on-air regular.   The jocks could have fun with him.  One time, Radio Rick, on the air, took Richie’s guess, and said, “Richie, over here, I have a big book where we write down the names of people with wrong guesses.   Next to that book, we have one piece of paper where we write down the winning name.    Richie Strauss of Modesto, your name goes. . . . into The Big Book of Losing Guesses!”

Along with all this good fun, Richie fell in love with radio.  His father’s friend, Jerry Rosenthal, managed one of the local stations, and he helped Richie get an intern job at KTRB with news director, Carol Benson.

He graduated from Davis High School in 1988, and then on to UCLA.   He is now Richard, and his extracurricular activities centered around  KLA, the university’s station.    He wrote and delivered newscasts, and covered news and sporting events.   He was at the press conference  in 1991 when Magic Johnson announced to the world he had H.I.V. and was retiring.   With his press pass, Richard covered sports for free, would record quotes from coaches and players, and feed the audio to radio stations.  This Free Lance work paid him fifteen dollars per audio feed.   Not bad for watching games for free.

In his senior year,  Richard left school to work in the Bill Clinton Presidential Campaign.   Traveling with the campaigners, his hard work impressed the Clinton staff.    Dating back to Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s, Presidents delivered  weekly Radio Addresses.

Calvin Coolidge, promoting that his speeches could be heard on the radio. 1924
Ronald Reagan delivered weekly radio addresses.
George W. Bush delivered 18 radio addresses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bill Clinton won the ’92 election, and with his knowledge of the inner workings of the medium, Richard Strauss was appointed White House Radio Director.

Davis High grad, Richard Strauss, served three years as White House Radio Director.

Hard work and long hours paid off, and Richard took what he learned about public relations, and started Strauss Media Strategies, which has grown into the nation’s premier communications, public relations, consulting and strategy firm specializing in comprehensive radio and television media relations services.   Now in its 25th year Strauss Media has offices in Washington, New York, Charlotte, and Los Angeles.

Richard with President Obama
The President introduces Richard to Nelson Mandela.
Is he the greatest of all time, or, next to the greatest? Here with Tom Brady.

 

 

Richard Strauss today

 

 

 

 

 

Radio Goes Hollywood!

You’re in for a treat.   The Museum thanks Ken Levine for granting us permission to post these podcast interviews with the nation’s leading radio personalities.   Their stories give great insight as to what it was like to be “that guy on the radio.”

We think you’ll learn a lot; we know you’l laugh a lot.   After all, these are disc jockeys. . .

We begin with Shotgun Tom Kelly,   a radio star who was given his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame:

 

Episode 142:  Meet Radio Star Shotgun Tom Kelly

 

 

Next Ken talks to Neil Ross, a Modesto Radio Museum contributor, and Ogden Radio School 1963 graduate.  Neil’s  stories range from Roller Derby fisticuffs to backstage with Jim Morrison and the Doors:

 

Episode 93:  From a radio school dream to announcing the Academy Awards, meet Neil Ross

Bonus:  Neil talks about going to radio school:

 

Charlie Van Dyke, you hear him everyday as the voice of TV and radio stations across America.    Listen in and you’ll recognize the man Ken calls, “The Voice of God”:

Episode 195 : He’s on the air everywhere.   His voice is One in a Million:   Meet Charlie Van Dyke

 

Ken Levine himself was quite a YES Man.  He knew to say Yes when the Hell’s Angels requested a song; he said Yes when the FBI asked to enter his studio, and Yes when asked to fill in for Wolfman Jack:

Episode 125:  When you Clap for the Wolfman, you’re applauding the legendary Ken Levine

 

Ken’s  personal radio favorites are put on display.  Here’s Ken Levine’s Mount Rushmore of Radio Personalities:

Episode 117:  Ken Levine’s Mount Rushmore of radio stars

Vin Scully
The Real Don Steele
Dan Ingram
Gary Burbank

 

 

 

Who was the “Prince of the Pavement,” the “King of the Concrete Jungle,” the “Baron of the Bay,” the “Knight of Nob Hill,” and “Every Teen Queen’s Dream?”   Johnny Holliday, in Seven Radio Halls of Fame, has a two-part interview:

Johnny Holliday, Sportscaster of the Year, 2022

 Episode 347: Johnny Holliday, National Disc Jockey of the Year!

Episode 348:  Johnny Holliday, Sportscaster of the Year!

 

When did stations start playing Christmas Music 24/7?   Jhani Kaye, 1967 Ogden Radio School graduate, was the first major market program director to go “All Christmas, All the Time!”

Episode 205:  There’s no such thing as too much  Christmas Music.   National Programmer Jhani Kaye sleighs in with details

 

The Best DJ no one ever listens to: Deke Duncan has been spinning the hits for 45 years.  No one listens.  No one can.  He’s following his bliss.   We all should be so lucky.

 

Episode 187:   The best DJ no one ever listens to 

 

 Ken Levine is a creative giant with at least four huge careers:   Comedy writer for MASH, CHEERS, FRASIER, AND WINGS, among others;  Broadcaster of Major League Baseball for the Orioles, Mariners, and Padres;  prolific writer of books, plays, movies, and one of America’s most-read daily blogs.  His Career Number Four:   Radio Personality!  Yes, it all began with radio.   His podcasts, Hollywood and Levine, focus on Entertainment, Pop Culture, and, of course, all things radio.   Want more?   Ken has over 300 podcasts,  click the logo below: