George Stevans Interview

George Stevans was a charter member of the Modesto Radio Museum Foundation. He worked for several radio stations including KTUR Turlock, KTRB Modesto, and was a News Director at KBOX in Modesto. George was also a freelance photographer for the Modesto Bee. Other employment included working for the General Electric 2 way radio dealer Mobile Communications owned by a friend and Ham operator Max Sayre call sign W6GYN.

George and Max formed West Side Radio and applied to the FCC for a Construction permit to build and AM radio station in Tracy, CA. Max was the Engineer and George was handling the FCC application and process. After nearly a 20-year effort they sold the application to the grandson of Boeing Aircraft for a radio station in the Sacramento area.

George had a talent for special projects ranging from legal document research, to assisting the well-known radio pioneer engineer Cecil Lynch. George finished out his working career as Administrative Assistant for his close friend Allen Woods call sign WA6OYF, 2nd generation owner of Al’s Certified Safe & Lock.

George passed away on August 6, 2019. He was 91 years old.

George Stevans Interview
video by Wes Page


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Mel Freedman Interview

Mel Freedman, Uncle Mel, as he liked us to call him, was the engineer when I worked at KFIV. He was known for his cantankerousness which masked a loving and caring soul that subsequently became so evident. We remained friends over the years. I will miss our lunches and our drinks together Uncle Mel. Many of us were privileged to have you as a mentor and such a big part of our lives for so many years.

Mel was a Founding Board Member and the Secretary for the Modesto Radio Museum Foundation. He also belonged to the Central Valley Broadcasters (CVB) group.  Mel passed away January 11, 2017. He was a veteran of World War II and was laid to rest at the National Cemetery at Santa Nella, California.
Derek Waring

Mel Freedman Interviewed by Cal Purviance in 2004
video by Wes Page

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Cal Purviance Interview

People would say they milked their cows while listening to Cal Purviance on KTRB in the mornings. Others would say their cows would not give milk until they heard Cal on the air in the mornings. Cal had his own show, “Cal, Your Birthday Pal” and often filled in on the “Old Time Tunes” program hosted by his mentor and boss, Bill Bates. Following Bill Bates’ death in 1969, Cal took over Bill’s show keeping it on the air for many more years. He became the host of KTRB’s Tots and Teens talent show beginning in early ’50s through the ’80s.

Cal Purviance Interview
(video by Wes Page)

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Who Changes Those Tower Lights?

You’ve seen them in  many places, the broadcast towers that send out the programming that we watch and listen too regularly. By law they have to have red flashing beacons to warn aircraft of their presence, and the beacons have to be in constant working order. So, what happens when a bulb goes out? It’s not like you can climb on a chair and change the bulb, unless you happen to have a 1,700 foot high chair! 

If you’re afraid of heights, good luck with this one.   You’ll see engineers working on the communications towers of 50,000 watt, WLS, Chicago.

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KEJC, The Ranch TV Promo

KEJC 93.9 was born in January, 1995 when it received a FCC license to broadcast. Principles were Edward J. Cardoza and Smokey Silver.  Cardoza, a Manteca businessman and Silver, an area disc jockey for over 50 years. It took months for Smokey and others at KEJC to convert songs from his record collection into the computers. The result allowed the station to broadcast vintage country tunes that had not been heard on the airways for many years.

KEJC like many current radio stations was automated. Computers literally picked the songs, played them, plugged in the prerecorded commercials and announcer voice tracks and logged exactly what was played and when. The computers could be programmed to select songs by decade, by artist, by tempo, by title or by other categories. According to KEJC staff they were able to program the station for a week at a time if they wanted.  That allowed staff  just shut the door and go home. In fact they would lock the doors at 5:00 pm each day and the computer would run the station  until they came in the next day at 9:00 am.

KEJC, The Ranch 30 Second TV Promo

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Salty’s Record Attic

Salty’s Record Attic has been closed for years following owner Ramona Saben’s death in December of 2013. Ramona’s husband Craig continued to serve customers for a short while until his death in August of 2014.  Salty’s was a wealth of musical resources to individuals, radio stations and disc jockeys of the area. Ramona had an undeniably keen knowledge of the music and the artists from any genre and any year. 

Ramona and Craig Saben

Ramona was a friend to many and an integral part of the radio and entertainment business in this area. She was always ready to help people including local DJs research music and find rare records. Derek Waring of the former DJ service, Bob & Derek (Bob DeLeon and Derek Waring) relates that Ramona was so helpful to their business that when working they always  had a sign in front of their equipment that read, “Music From Salty’s Record Attic” because Ramona would always happily provide them with records that they needed, no charge.

Ramona Saben surrounded by vinyl at Salty’s Record Attic

Here’s a Modesto Radio Museum tribute to Salty’s Record Attic and the people who kept our records spinning and the music playing.

History of Salty’s Record Attic
video:, Morris Smith

Family and Friends Remember Salty’s Record Attic and Ramona Saben
video: Elaine Vincent

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KTRB – The Early Years

This nostalgic video features the “Beer Barrel Polka” which station owner Bill Bates began his  program with each morning.  Many a cow was milked to this tune as the farmers of the Central Valley tuned into Bill’s program. Also featured is “Get Out Those Old Phonograph Records” which was aired by Virgil Risley each evening.   In this video our visitors are treated to a song of historical significance;  the very first song ever played on KTRB was “Back in Your Own Back yard.”  It followed Bill Bates’ welcoming comments as the station signed on the air on June 18, 1933. 

KTRB  1933 – 1969
video: Bob Sterling Production

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The Carol Glass Story

(Excerpts from a printed article on February 18, 1944. Publication name is unknown.  Courtesy of Sandra McCoy, Modesto Radio Museum)

Mrs. Carol Glass was born in Stanislaus County, the daughter of pioneers, and the youngest of seven children.  In 1934, shortly after Modesto’s first radio station KTRB came on the air, she became the moderator of  the Children’s Hour  heard at  10 o’clock Saturday mornings.  In addition to local children, children from  distant towns, such as San Jose, Vallejo, Stockton, Lodi, as well as from all parts of Stanislaus county were heard performing each week.  Mrs. Glass and the children  appeared numerous times in person at  the  Strand Theater  and at other local events.   Mrs. Glass’s sister Georgia Lyons was the pianist on the program for many years.

The Stanislaus County Committee for the International Exposition on Treasure Island chose the program as a feature representing Stanislaus County for both years of the Golden Gate International Exposition (World’s Fair), held at San Francisco’s Treasure Island  in 1939 and 1940.

Prior to the Children’s Hour,  Mrs. Glass and 5 girlfriends  formed a singing group they called the “Melody Maids” which sang on KTRB every Sunday night at 7 PM during a program they called “Smile Awhile”.    Mrs. Glass was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. O.C.  Bangs, who owned and lived on  a 480 acre ranch on Bangs Avenue.

The Story of Carol Glass
(Produced by Wes Page for the Modesto Radio Museum, 2009)