Jay Coffey has been Rockin’ n’ Rollin’ for decades. He began as a bass player in San Francisco Bay Area rock bands. His radio career began at KFIV, Modesto, California when he was hired by Program Director (PD) John Chappell on October 5, 1973. Jay says that John gave him a chance when no other PD would even speak to him. John guided the rookie Jay Coffey through the first few weeks and then made him his go to weekend dJ. Incidentally although he tweaked the spelling a bit, Jay’s last name came from Coffee Road in Modesto. Jay says, “I owe a debt of gratitude to John Chappell who set me on a wonderful career path that has lasted over 47 years.
Jay’s resume is quite impressive. He attended De Anza Community College in Cuppertino; after getting his start in radio at KFIV he quickly climbed the broadcasting industry ladder as on air talent and in management. In June of 1974 Jay went to KOBO, Yuba City where he spent three months. The owners then transferred him to KKIQ, Livermore and he was there until 1976. From KKIQ Jay went to KMBY in Monterey and in October of 1977 moved to a weekend slot at KIQQ, Los Angeles. One year later he went from weekends to being their full time afternoon guy. Jay worked at KIQQ until late 1985 when he went to KHJ, Los Angeles. He was then transferred to KHJ’s sister station KEARTH 101, Los Angeles where he was a fixture for the next 20 years as on air talent, music director, assistant program director and eventually, program director. Jay has also worked at KBSG, Seattle as program director, KFRC, San Francisco as afternoon talent and most recently is with Dial Global/West Wood One as mid day air talent . Jay is dedicated to making radio fun and informative for his listeners.
Aside from radio Jay is a lifelong lover of Golden Retrievers, he also acquired a soft spot for miniature Schnauzers thanks to his wife Janet who’s been a Schnauzer enthusiast since her childhood days in Long Island, New York.
KFRC, San Francisco – 2007 – Here’s a sample of Jay Coffey’s on air talent:
My younger brother Mike Veil and I grew up with radios, stereos and a portable cassette machine that had all the buttons on one end. We were isolated living on a ranch between Modesto and Salida back in the early ’70s, so we recorded a lot of music off of KFIV and KJOY. We also created our own radio plays. Mike was the witty one. He could come up with voices and scripts off the top of his head and I just went along for the ride. We would act out his radio scripts and record them. Oh how I wish I had those tapes today. When he followed me into high school in 1977, he recruited me to join him in taking Ron Underwood’s Radio Broadcasting class.
Radio Broadcasting never really entered my mind before 1977. I was enjoying my third year of Art classes with Wilda Thompson and Glenn Streeter. But Mike was my brother and family is everything, so I began my broadcasting career at KBHI, the low power high school FM radio station run by Mr. Underwood and his Radio class participants. Being an introverted country kid I chose not to take a position with the station other than an afternoon air shift right after my brother’s shift. I met some interesting people like classmates Dave Rose and Harry Mersmann. As well as some people who already had quite and understanding of radio. The family of Kathy and John Pappas were very much into the radio business in Modesto. I have some recollection of doing news stories with Kathy, producing and completing a radio special on Neil Diamond. The most memorable moment for me at KBHI was when the entire class took a bus to San Francisco to take the Third Class Federal Communication Commission License exam. We had a rousing good time seeing the city. Who would have thought that I would work and live in San Francisco 13 years later at KXXX FM, formerly KYUU. KBHI gave me a well grounded foundation on nomenclature, procedures and theory of radio broadcasting. I fell in love with the structure, creativity and satisfaction of producing things that a multitude of people could enjoy.
Ron Underwood saw something in me that I didn’t. He took me under his wing and did what he could to keep me focused. I disliked school even though I was pulling straight A’s; I just wanted out of there and to get on with life. My career guidance counselor pretty much threw in the towel when I told him I would not be attending college. However, my Art instructor Mr. Streeter helped me graduate in the mid term of my senior year by assigning me an extra art project so I could obtain the credits I needed to graduate. At the same time Mr. Underwood referred me to KTRB for a job interview. I was interviewed by Randy Hill, KTRB’s chief engineer and son of Doc Hill, owner of KYOS in Merced. Randy hired me at 17 years of age to assist KTRB’s Cal Purviance with the new KHOP FM automation machine. I fell in love with radio and left my mediocre artistic talents behind to pursue a career in Broadcasting.
Little did I know that my brother Mike, KBHI, Ron Underwood and Randy Hill would help me find my passion, kick off my career and give me the best memories of my younger adult years. I am grateful for all of them who saved this lost and wandering soul. And I am grateful to all of the great people at KTRB/KHOP who helped ‘raise me up’ to be a productive, law abiding young adult. Thank you.
Bob Lang has repeatedly said of his twenty-years in broadcasting, “the first five years at KTRB in Modesto were the happiest of my professional career and I never made less money!”
Bob attended high school in Sacramento and graduated from San Francisco State in 1968 just before getting his First Class Radiotelephone Operator’s License at Ogden’s in Huntington Beach.
Bob was a green kid when he joined the staff of KTRB in August 1969. He worked with Tom Romano, Andy Anderson, newsman Art Baker, and mobile news reporter Don Schneider. At his audition, Program Director Cal Purviance inadvertently snapped the leader off Bob’s audition tape. Bob always figured that’s why he got the job!
Tim St. Martin soon joined the staff as News Director from neighboring KFIV and he and Bob became on-air partners. Bob was Production Manager and the two produced several two-voice commercials, many of them ad lib. Soon Bob DeLeon also left rival KFIV and became KTRB’s Music Director. Derek Waring, who had attended Ogden’s radio school with Bob, also migrated from KFIV. This was the team that lasted until the mid-1970s—they remained friends for five decades.
Bob left KTRB in late 1974 and moved north to Sacramento where he joined KGMS radio. His career took a turn into television for ten years at KTXL, Channel 40 and KXTV, Channel 10 where he was a writer/producer of commercials and special events including two critically acclaimed documentaries. He also hosted the afternoon Jackpot Movie and various special events. From there he moved back into radio as the first morning host of KYMX, Mix-96 along with other freelance positions over the years.
Bob also taught community college media classes and eventually left the media industry for a career as an equipment and soft skills trainer. He retired from the California Department of Corrections in 2011 as a project manager where he also supervised the media center at Mule Creek State Prison in Ione.
Bob Lang has also written two books including a style guide for professional communicators called Now You’re Talkin’. Available on Amazon. A third book is on the way. And he was a guitarist and singer in the Sacramento classic rock horn band On Air for 35 years until the COVID pandemic put a halt to life as we all know it.
Bob gave listening audiences many years of excellent entertainment. The following airchecks are samples of his work . As you will hear Bob had a great sense of humor and wonderful timing.
1969-1974, KTRB: Bob burst onto the airwaves in August of 1969. He was a favorite of KTRB listeners in the Central Valley for over five years. His final show was in December of 1974. The show consisted of memorable moments from his time at KTRB. Here it is, brought to you in two episodes for your listening pleasure.
Bob Lang’s final show – Episode One:
Bob Lang’s final show – Episode Two:
1975 – 1990: Bob moved to Sacramento in 1975 where he worked for KGMS. After KGMS he spent ten years working in television but did some weekend air shifts for KGNR circa 1980. He worked at KZAP around 1987 and KYMX in 1990. Here is a compilation of clips from his time at these stations that we think you’ll enjoy.
2012 – KFIV Graffiti Gold Weekend. Modesto area DJs from the past were invited to a reunion which coincided with Modesto’s annual Graffiti Days Celebration. Bob Lang was kind enough to do a few hours on the air.
Bob Lang once said, “Tim St. Martin and I had an inherent ability to absolutely amuse ourselves!” They had the best time when they collaborated on various KTRB radio commercials, especially when they were interacting as characters other than themselves.
In the early-to-mid ‘70s, St. Martin and Lang, who worked together during the morning hours, portrayed Dino and Jerry, Rowen and Martin, Little Caesar and one of his thugs, a couple of dogs named Prince and Spotty, a couple of Germans named “Hans und Feetz,” a couple of Thanksgiving turkeys—you get the idea.
Bob and Tim, a compilation of their commercials from KTRB:
Most notably, Tim and Bob were Farley and Eugene, a couple of old sodbuster cowboys in a series of spots for Fargo Distributing. Fargo took out a newspaper print ad with pseudo wanted posters of The Fargo Boys. They were Fargo employees like Bronco Bruce, Dangerous Del, and Pop Farrell who were “shooting down prices” on Cooper Tires and other auto accessories. Fargo was interested in a similar radio campaign, one based on their newspaper ad, and Tim and Bob were assigned to create something. The result were their characters, Farley and Eugene, who wanted to cash in on the reward, but they didn’t know what tires were!
Tim came up with an idea for Farley and Eugene to be riding their horses. They used plastic coffee cup inserts on the studio counter to make the sound of the horses’ hooves as they galloped up to the mic. They didn’t use scripts and if one of them blew a line, rather than starting over, they’d each gallop away across the counter first, then gallop back! All they while saying, “whoa, boy—whoa, boy.”
The Fargo Boys, Eugene (Bob Lang) and Farley (Tim St. Martin):
Most of the story lines were Tim’s—he came up with the scenarios for most of the commercials and the two would ad lib their way through. If one of them came up with a good line, they’d record another take, but usually they’d have to try again because one of them cracked up.
The year was 1974, Beyer High school’s radio station KBHI, 89.9 on the FM dial had just gotten underway. KBHI was the second high school station in Modesto following KDHS, at Downey High School which came on the scene in 1969. It took months of hard work by the staff and crew to raise the money necessary to get KBHI on the air. Continued funding of the station was in large part provided by the KBHI Booster Club which consisted of Modesto area merchants.
The man responsible for initially bringing high school radio to Modesto was also instrumental in getting KBHI up and running. Ron Underwood was the Faculty Advisor and on occasion would fill in as an on air personality. The KBHI studio was located in room D-13 on the Beyer campus. It broadcasted over a 10 Watt transmitter which on a good day would cover perhaps a 10-15 mile radius. On December 1, 1977 KBHI began broadcasting over Modesto Cable in addition to 89.9 FM.
The objectives of KBHI were to serve Beyer High School by promoting and broadcasting campus oriented events along with the music students liked to hear and to serve the community by providing special interest current event type programming. They provided remote broadcasts covering sporting events and live broadcasts of Youth Commission, Inter High Council and Board of Education meetings. There were talk shows covering topics of the day which included interviews with students and staff on campus. Listeners if so inclined could also enjoy oldies from the ’50s and ’60s on KBHI’s nostalgic broadcasts.
In 1961 Bill Drake was programming KYA in San Francisco. It soon became number one in the ratings. In 1962, after KYA had been sold, Drake was contacted by Gene Chenault, owner of KYNO in Fresno, California, who offered him a two station deal including KSTN in Stockton, which was owned by a friend of Chenault’s. Both stations quickly became number one, with KYNO getting an incredible average share of 52% of the audience from 6am to midnight. Drake and Chenault eventually formed Drake-Chenault Enterprises, Inc. By the late 60’s and early 70’s Drake-Chenault had become a massive organization offering Sales and Programming Consulting Services, including the famous Johnny Mann jingles.
These jingles are from KFRC the Big 610 which was programmed by Drake-Chenault and are well known to anyone who lived in the Central Valley of California at the time.
KFIV jingle from 1961. This was lifted from the G. Martin Avey (Gary Avey) show:
KFIV enlisted the talent of Shotgun Tom Kelly in 1970. He provided voice intros for the DJs. Shotgun is still a friend and in fact is a member of the Modesto Radio Museum. You can hear him on 60s on 6 on SiriusXM. Shotgun’s voice drop-in was added to a jingle from our jingle package and here is what we had:
KFIV contracted with Gold Star Studios in Los Angeles in 1970 to produce new jingles for the station. The studio musicians were The Lancers. What you will hear are some of the raw cuts of the jingles as they were recorded. They were later edited by the station. Jingles that contain only the DJ’s name were edited to include any of the other jingles such as “Plays More Music” or “Million Dollar Weekend.” Bob De Leon was Program Director at KFIV at the time and you may hear his voice at times as the producer asks for his input:
Tammy Lynn (Veil-Drew) is a 1978 graduate of Beyer High School. While at Beyer she became interested in radio and took a course in radio broadcasting that allowed her to work on the high school radio station KBHI for two and a half years. The broadcasting instructor, Ron Underwood, approached Tammy with a job opportunity in broadcasting at KTRB/KHOP as as she approached graduation. KHOP FM had just changed from a religious format to Album Oriented Radio (AOR). Tammy got the job and started in March of 1978.
Tammy was encouraged to go back to school to learn the electronics trade. She enrolled at Modesto Junior College (MJC). Tammy worked for MJC Media Services under John Chappell while completing electronics courses. In addition to electronics she was enrolled in radio broadcasting under the guidance of Max Sayer. Tammy was also working full-time as KTRB’s afternoon air personality and assistant chief engineer. Tammy found her busy schedule to be a bit much and stopped attending MJC after getting her First Class Radiotelephone license.
Tammy was an on air personality for KTRB, KOSO and KMIX in Modesto, CA. After a lucrative career in broadcasting and at 30 years of age Tammy decided to change careers. She went to work for a cable television company doing, as she describes, the very physical job of installing and repairing Modesto’s cable TV distribution and servicing its’ many customers. When she discovered that she probably would be unable to continue climbing poles and crawling under houses into her ’40s, Tammy went into law enforcement. She had a 19 year career working for Stanislaus County Sheriff, Calaveras County Probation and Calaveras County Sheriff.
Tammy is now retired and living out of state with her husband. She does work every fire season as a contract driver hauling food and supplies during forest fires. She also volunteers at the local hospital foundation thrift store in the electronics department.
1994- Tammy Lynn playing the country hits on KMIX FM, Modesto CA.
Fred was born in Clarksburg, West Virginia May 11, 1939 and moved to Stockton, CA in his teen years. He attended Stagg High School and joined the U.S. Navy upon graduation where he was assigned to Communications. Upon discharge Fred returned home to pursue a career in broadcasting. He worked in Oceanside,
Stockton and Modesto, CA. In 1964 Fred was Program Director and on-air personality working the 2-6 PM slot at KFIV, 1360 in Modesto. He left broadcasting in 1967 to work for the Government at Defense Logistics Agency in Tracy, CA in Public Affairs. Derek Waring who was working at KSRT in Tracy in the late 60s recalls that Fred would come to visit him while he was on the air and they would talk about Fred’s days at KFIV. Those were special visits because as a sophomore at Downey High School Derek would spend hours listening to the Fred Greene Show.
Fred attended night school while working at the Defense Logistics Agency earning a Bachelors Degree in Public Administration from California State University Stanislaus in Turlock, CA. Continuing his education he received his Masters Degree from Chapman University. Fred was a member of Toastmasters where he won numerous awards. Because of his excellent speaking skills, he was asked to make presentations at many functions throughout the area. Fred retired from his government job after 35 years and worked part time as a Travel Agent. His last adventure was working with Humphreys College in Stockton, CA as a teacher-reader for court reporting. He enjoyed his job, the staff and the students that he taught.
Fred enjoyed golfing, reading, cooking, shopping and most of all celebrations with his family and friends. He was preceded in death by his mother Reva M. Greene. He is survived by his wife of 42 years, Hazel L. Greene, son Michael J. Greene (Tammie) of Manteca, CA; son Marcus J. Greene (Tosha) of Salida, CA; granddaughter Britany Vernon of Manteca, CA; father Fred K. Greene of Manteca, CA; brother Jack C. Greene (Kathy) of Manteca, CA and many nieces and nephews.