KDHS, Modesto’s First High School Radio Station

Historical records tell us that the first high school radio stations made their appearance in the United States in the 1920s.  The stations at that time were designed to be information conduits for school faculty and administration with little if any student involvement. High school stations all but disappeared in the 1930s as a result of the Great Depression and restrictions imposed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).  It wasn’t until the late 1940s that high school stations began showing up again on the  FM band.

It’s believed that the oldest FM high school stations were KPBS (1947) in Portland Oregon and WNAS

Brian Sullivan, Manager of WNAS and teacher of high school radio. (courtesy of Henry Zimmerman WPFL.rog)

(1949) in Indiana which was still on the air as of May 2019. Brian Sullivan who manages the station and teaches high school radio at the New Albany, Indiana High School says that in the 1950s, the formative years of  the station, many listened to WNAS to hear the student broadcasts of the Hoosier’s basketball games.  Sullivan says of high school radio, “It’s not just about the technical stuff. Soft skills, like working on a deadline and critical thinking are easy to come by.”  Sullivan explains that even if a student doesn’t go in in the field of radio or television these are qualities that can apply to any job or field of study.

In the 1970s there were over 150 licensed high school radio stations in the United States. Many of these stations were using low power FM (LPFM). The number stations declined in the 1980s and 1990s but began to grow again with the renewed availability of LPFM bands. Many of these stations operate as community radio stations when not being used by high school students. Students create ideas for broadcasts and produce programs ranging from coverage of community events to coverage of the news and local sporting events. Many students choose to deliver programs  presenting specific musical formats such as jazz, classical, rock, country etc.

In the late 60s in Modesto, CA there were no high school radio stations. None that is until a group of students at Thomas Downey High School and a teacher decided that it was time. It was not easy bringing

the project to fruition but this was no ordinary group of students, and this was no ordinary teacher.  Together they were a winning team. They secured equipment and programing materials by getting donations from electronics manufacturers and record companies. They raised money by putting on creative and successful community events. The high school’s staff and students chipped in and radio magic started happening.  On September 5, 1969 KDHS (90.5MHz) began broadcasting.  The  station was licensed by the FCC to the Associated Students of Thomas Downey High School.

Studio Seven the nerve center of KDHS

The Modesto Radio Museum has decided that rather than us telling you their story we will have them tell you. We’ve reached out to the teacher who guided them and to the students who helped create and program Modesto’s first high school radio station,  KDHS.

 

Remembering KDHS – Ron Underwood, Speech Instructor/Advisor

Remembering KDHS – Jeff Cree, Student

Remembering KDHS – Mike Green, Student

Remembering KDHS – Les Simar, Student

Remembering KDHS – Ross Rumsey, Student

If you have a memory of KDHS please feel free to share in the comment section below.

SOURCES
–  WIKIPEDIA
– Radio Survivor, Jennifer Watts April 22, 2015
– WPFL.org, Henry Zimmerman

 

 

 

 

Robert Chituras, 73

 

Robert Gary Chituras, born October 19, 1943, at Robertson Hospital in Modesto. He was the son of George and Aline Chituras. A long time Modesto native; Bob attended Enslen Elementary, Roosevelt Junior High, and Thomas Downey High School. He graduated from high school in 1961 and then attended Modesto Junior College, where he received a degree in communications.

Bob enlisted in the United States Navy during the Vietnam War and served aboard the USS Princeton, as a Yeoman Third Class. He served his country from 1965 to 1967. After returning from Vietnam, he utilized his communications degree to become a disc jockey at radio stations; KYOS in Merced, and KYNO in Fresno. Fellow DJ and friend Bob Neutzling (Johnny Walker) says of Bob, “What a great guy.  Known on the air as Chip Roberts, he actually interviewed me for

Bob Neutzling (Johnny Walker)

a job at KYOS in 1968.  At the time there were no openings.  A short time later I received a call from Doc Hill, the owner of KYOS, and he offered me a job replacing Bob Chituras on the air.  I kept in touch with Bob and would visit him at KYNO in Fresno , while he was doing midnight to 6:00 AM.  I will always remember him as a very nice person.  He is one from my early days in radio that I will never forget.”

Bob worked at Hosking’s Food Products; later named Major Hosking’s, and then Major-Sysco. He served in these capacities as a driver, dry and frozen goods salesman, and transportation manager. He established RG Chituras and Son Yard and Home Maintenance Services as an interim way to survive. Later  he went on to work for Westurf Nursery, Inc. He culminated his working career working at Foster Farms as a driver, and most notably retiring as a vehicle safety manager.

Bob was a part of the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) association as a valued member, starting in 1961. He progressed to NASCAR, serving as flagman, announcer and later a track promoter at Merced Speedway, ending his racing affiliation in 1985. Bob officiated high school football sports with the NCOA, achieving the Rich Bernasconi Award for the “Ultimate Consummate Official.” He was a devoted trap shooter with Valley Trap League and ATA member for 25 years. Bob was an avid fisherman and loved spending time with friends and family. He also loved taking frivolous trips to numerous bingo halls and casinos.

Bob died June 12, 2017. He is survived by his son, Johnathan; grandsons Zachary and Graysen; and nephews Steve and Jeff Harkrader. Bob was preceded in death by his parents George and Aline Chituras, and sister Georgia Chituras.

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Glenn Fox, 73

Glenn in the KTRB on-air studio

Glenn Wayne Fox formerly of Oakdale, California, last of Sallisaw, Oklahoma, died on June 15, 2020, at St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He suffered a brain hemorrhage from which he did not recover. He was 73 years old, divorced, and had no children. Glenn was born in Modesto, CA and grew up in Oakdale, CA.

Glenn graduated from Oakdale High School in 1965. He attended radio announcer school and had a long local career with radio stations KTRB and KHOP in Modesto, CA. He was also a talk show host for station KWHN in Fort Smith, Arkansas.  Glenn was known as the “Silver Fox” in part due to his great broadcast voice. Derek Waring who worked with Glenn at KTRB during those early days recalls, “Glenn was gentle man with a great sense of humor. He loved his job and put everything he had into it”

KWHN Studios and Glenn’s business card (Photos courtesy of Michael Ward)

In 1993 Glenn’s parents, Allen and Marie Fox, who had originally migrated to California from Sallisaw during the Great Depression, decided to move back to their home area in Sallisaw. Glenn moved with them. In the late 1990s his parents’ health declined and they moved back to Oakdale while he remained in Sallisaw. Glenn had a variety of jobs and finally purchased a local bar, The Finish Line, which he operated until about 2010. He advertised the bar as “Coldest Beer in Downtown Sallisaw.”

Pretty Boy Floyd Display in The Finish Line Bar (Photo courtesy of Michael Ward)

When he was young Glenn raced dirt bikes and became a huge fan of NASCAR. He became a great source of local and national history in both Oakdale and Sallisaw, in particular country and rock and roll songs and performers, NASCAR drivers, classic cars, and especially the life and times of Pretty Boy Floyd, a local Depression outlaw. He dedicated a portion of his bar to an historical display about him. He often returned to Oakdale to visit family and friends, especially for class reunions.

Glenn was cremated and his ashes returned to the home of his sister, Pauline Fox Ward and her husband Michael Ward. No other members of his immediate family, mother, father, brother Robert and sister Mary Lou have survived. He is survived by nieces Torri Bergstrom and Stephanie Bjorge, grand nephew Jeremiah Lobaugh (Hailey, son Noah) and grand niece Tiffany Byrd as well as his sister in law Susan Fox and her children nephew Michael (Martia, daughters Catherine, Elizabeth) and niece Patricia (Joel, son Milo).

Glenn attended Oakdale High School, Oakdale, CA  (Photo courtesy of Michael Ward)

Family and friends will gather for a remembrance as soon as pandemic conditions allow. If you’d like to receive details on Glenn’s Memorial Service please contact the family at (209) 499- 0012.