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.
Bob Lang introduces the KTRB Midday News with Tim St. Martin:
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.
Bob De Leon graduated from Modesto High School in 1960. In high school he became acquainted with Kent Whitt which eventually led to the formation of the band Kent Whitt and the Downbeats. The band developed quite a name for itself and in December of 1963 was invited to participate in a USO tour to entertain troops in Alaska, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, the Philippines, Okinawa, and Vietnam.
Bob attended Ogdens Radio Operational Engineering School in Huntington Beach CA. in the mid 60s. After receiving his Federal Communications Commission First Class License he returned to Modesto and started his radio career at KLOC working for Chester Smith. Bob then went to work for KFIV (K5) in 1967 working the 8:00-midnight shift and eventually the morning shift. Bob was Music Director and Program Director during his time at K5.
Bob left K5 in 1972 to work for KTRB. In 1974 he went to work as the Veterans Outreach Coordinator at Modesto Junior College and in 1975 he took a position at Manteca High School teaching a radio class.
After radio Bob spent many years working in real estate in the Modesto area. He worked for Continental Real Estate, USA Real Estate, Paul M. Zagaris Inc., Prudential California Realty and Century 21 M&M and Associates where he worked at the time of his passing.
During the 80s and early 90s Bob and best friend Derek Waring had a popular DJ service that they worked part time. Bob and Derek provided music and entertainment for many special events in the Modesto area. Bob was a founding member of the Modesto Radio Museum which began in 2004. He participated in two KFIV Graffiti Gold Weekends enjoying the reunions with his old friends from radio.
Bob was honored with two Lifetime Achievement Awards by Modesto Area Music Awards (MAMA), one in 2011 for a radio and music career that spanned five decades. Bob’s other MAMA Award came in 2019 when he was recognized as one of the KFIV 1360 Classic DJs.
Bob passed away in Modesto on December 19, 2020 from complications of COVID-19. His voice, his smile, his charm will be dearly missed.
Circa 1968-69 – KFIV, A young Bob De Leon and Terry Nelson producing a Dennis Dodge commercial. This is a raw production tape with the outtakes left in.
1971 – KFIV, Bob De Leon – Million Dollar Weekend
1973- KTRB, Bob De Leon reading the weather accompanied by Bob Lang on the Banjo. Good times.
1974 – KTRB, Bob De Leon talking with Derek Waring.
1974 – KTRB, Bob De Leon. Air personalities names had been changed by the station owners which was not a popular decision with the DJs. Bob’s name became Johnny Gunn. Although he did a few part time stints and reunion appearances post KTRB this was Bob’s final show of his radio career.
2012 – K5 Graffiti Gold Weekend. A number of DJs were invited to celebrate Modesto’s Graffiti Weekend by doing reunion shows on KFIV. Bob De Leon and Derek Waring decided to team up one more time to do “The Bob and Derek Show.”
2012 – K5 Graffiti Gold Weekend, Bob De Leon thanking folks for listening.
The Modesto Radio Museum mourns the loss of our member and dear friend Bob De Leon. Bob passed away December 19, 2020 from complications of COVID-19. We express our sincere condolences to Roni, Bob’s wife, daughter Rhonelle and the family. Roni would like people to know that a Celebration of Life will be held for Bob when conditions permit.
Bob is a graduate of Modesto High School (1960) where he was a Yell Leader and active in band. While in high school Bob became acquainted with Kent Whitt which eventually led to the formation of the band Kent Whitt and the Downbeats. The band developed quite a name for itself in the area and in December of 1963 was invited to participate in a USO tour to entertain troops in Alaska, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, the Philippines, Okinawa, and Vietnam. It was a five month tour which lasted until May, 1964.
While in Vietnam both Bob and Kent got notices that they had been drafted. Ironically after basic training Bob was sent back to the same Army base in Vietnam that he was in when he received his draft notice. Upon Bob’s return from duty in Vietnam, on December 18, 1965 he married his sweetheart Roni who was a graduate of Turlock High School. December 18, 2020 Bob and Roni had been married for 55 years.
Bob attended Ogden’s Radio Operational Engineering School in Huntington Beach CA. where he received his Federal Communications Commission First Class Radio Telephone License. He started work at KFIV (K5) in the late 60s working the 8:00-midnight shift and eventually the morning shift before going on to become Music Director and eventually Program Director of the station. Both as a DJ and Program Director Bob endeared himself to his listeners and his staff. People today still say that they grew up to the voice of Bob De Leon on K5. He was the “soundtrack” of their lives. And of course there are wonderful stories from his employees about his kindness and understanding.
Rick Myers shares some of his memories telling us that Bob was already a legend on Rick’s first day of work at K5. Rick was the all-night guy. Bob was the morning guy and would come in at six. Most morning disc jockeys arrive one minute ‘til six, unshaven, unkempt hair, trying to find the coffee pot, and spending the first 30 minutes of their show waking up. Bob arrived at 5:30, wearing a dress shirt and a tie and carrying a briefcase. He arranged his music, and pulled out a folder with jokes and material for that day’s show. Rick learned then that Bob “Shows Up” and he shows up on time.
On another occasion Bob asked Rick to transfer one of a national account’s recorded commercials from the agency’s tape to one of the tapes that the station used. The first thing that was done when completing this task was to erase the station’s tape so that it’s clean. And that was done with a magnetic eraser. So Rick had these two tapes in his hands, and, he erased the wrong tape! Rick said that his 18 year-old life flashed before his eyes. He thought to himself, people get fired for stuff like this! Rick’s dream job looked finished before it even started. Rick told Bob what he had just done. Bob looked at Rick and said, “Let me see that tape.” The agency’s telephone number was on the box. Bob called New York City and said, “This is Bob De Leon from KFIV, Modesto. That tape you sent us is blank. Can you send out another one? OK, thanks.” Bob looked at Rick, smiled, and said, “Welcome to K5, Kid.” What Rick learned from this incident and found to be true throughout his life is that Bob De Leon was an uncommonly nice man.
Bob liked to tell the story of one of his “claims to fame.” He hired a DJ who eventually went on to become a nationally known and a sometimes controversial personality. Don Imus (Imus In The Morning) was in between jobs and Bob hired him to work for a couple of weeks at KFIV before he moved on to stardom. Bob liked to talk about how he taught Don Imus everything he knew.
Bob left K5 in 1972 to work for KTRB, taking K5 disc jockey Derek Waring along with him. Bob had hired Derek two years before (Bob always claimed it was his best hire ever) and the two had become close friends.
Bob left KTRB in 1974 to work as the Veterans Outreach Coordinator at Modesto Junior College. In 1975 he took a position at Manteca High School teaching a radio class. Radio and entertaining was in the blood and Bob and Derek had a part time DJ business for a number of years in the 80s and early 90s. They did many high school reunions, ’50s/’60s dances, weddings and birthdays.
Bob was awarded two Lifetime Achievement Awards by Modesto Area Music Awards (MAMA), one in 2011 for a radio and music career that spanned five decades. Bob’s other MAMA Award came in 2019 when he was recognized as one of the KFIV 1360 Classic DJs. Bob was proud of these achievements. He was also a founding member of the Modesto Radio Museum which began in 2004.
It was in real estate where Bob spent most of his career. He worked for Continental Real Estate, USA Real Estate, Paul M. Zagaris Inc., Prudential California Realty and Century 21 M&M and Associates. Bob served as Director of Modesto Association of Realtors for eight years, State Director of California Association of Realtors and was Modesto Board of Realtors, Realtor of the Year in 1982. He participated in the Professional Standards Committee, was Chairman of the Education and Equal Rights Committees and was on the Christmas CanTree, Coats for Kids and Daffodil Days Committees. Bob is spoken of highly by clients and colleagues alike. In radio and in real estate Bob loved to work and chose to work until the last few weeks of his life.
Bob was active on the social media scene and participated in many discussions about Modesto and the “good old days.” One individual referred to Bob as the “resident historian.” Anyone needing information about what was or when it existed was most likely referred to Bob De Leon. If you had a history question, Bob was the answer man.
Bob De Leon leaves behind a legacy of kindness, generosity and selflessness. One need only read the responses from the hundreds of people who have expressed their feelings on social media to realize the impact that Bob has had on his friends and his community. If he were here now Bob would say, “THANK YOU for being a treasured part of my life, THANK YOU for letting me serve you and THANK YOU for letting me entertain you. It was my pleasure.”