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.
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, KTRBand KBEE using the on-air name, Bob Sterling.
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 Awardand 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).
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.
–Modesto Bee, July, 2023, along with contributions from the Modesto Radio Museum.
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 KDWBin 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 Radioin 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 Teamand 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 Leagueand Modesto Teen Baseballin 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.
Did Wolfman Jack work in Modesto?Did he work at KFIV? These are questions that we are frequently asked at the Modesto Radio Museum. The answer to both is… no. The misconception that he was once a DJ in this area may stem in part from the George Lucas blockbuster film American Graffiti in which Wolfman Jack’s voice is heard throughout as part of the film’s fabulous soundtrack. The fact that George Lucas singled out Wolfman Jack to also star in his movie gives us a clue as to who George may have listened to during his youthful days of cruising in California’s Central Valley. There is a scene in the film in which the Richard Dreyfus character, Curt Henderson, visits a radio station that closely resembled KFIV in those days; here Curt meets the man behind the voice, although he doesn’t realize who it is at the time. Perhaps this scene also led people to believe that Wolfman Jack worked at KFIV in Modesto.
It’s more likely however that folks tended to believe over the years that Wolfman Jack is from this area because he was on our radios a whole bunch in the ‘60s. We cruised to his voice and the music he played, laughed at his antics; We loved him, we imitated him, we accepted him as one of us, a seemingly local guy who knew how to tickle our wacky entertainment buttons. What we didn’t realize is that this scenario was unfolding in thousands of towns across the nation and around the world.
Wolfman Jack is not a stranger to Modesto. He made a few visits here to host Graffiti Fest concerts at Modesto Junior College stadium and was even seen at a movie premiere in our town, more on his visits shortly. In 1972 the owners of KTRB decided that on air personality Derek Waring would be called the “Godfather” during his show. Wolfman Jack was asked to do a drop-in voicer for the Godfather and he obliged. Derek has always regretted that the Wolfman didn’t say “Derek Waring…The Godfather” to make it a little more personal, given the thousands of Godfathers out there, but that’s show biz. One of Modesto’s former local talents, Mr. Wonderful, Dave Holmes was once a producer for the Wolfman Jack Show in Southern California.
The Wolfman Jack Drop-in for Derek Waring, The Godfather on KTRB
Modesto Radio Museum member Greg Edwards who is a retired on air personality and former adjunct professor of broadcasting at Modesto Junior College remembers as a child scanning the radio dial and listening to distant radio stations. It was at this time in his life that he first heard what he describes as, “A wild DJ” named Wolfman Jack. He was broadcasting from Rosarito Beach, Mexico over station XERB and playing music that Greg had never heard before. In between records he would call listeners and ask them questions such as, “Are you naked?” XERB’s program listing showed Wolfman Jack filling the 9:00 PM to 3:00 AM slot and promoted him as, “The most unbelievable thing you have ever heard on the airwaves. It’s so different that word spreads like wildfire and people can’t help but listen to Wolfman Jack and his Wolfpack. The most talked about personality in America, both out in the audience and on other radio stations too.”
Wolfman on XERB, 1090(courtesy of Greg Edwards)
Throughout his years in broadcasting Greg has met many VIPs but he says that meeting Wolfman Jack for the first time left an indelible impression on him. He remembers that it was in the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee. Wolfman was working for the Nashville Network on radio with an all-night country show that was broadcast across America. Greg walked past the Opryland Hotel studio window and… there he was! Greg was able to spend nearly an hour with the Wolfman watching the, “genius at work.” He was impressed with how “high energy” the Wolfman was while the microphone was open but how “laid back” he was when off the air. Wolfman’s approach to doing his show was, “If you ain’t sweatin’, you ain’t workin’.”
In the late ’80s and early ’90s Modesto held annual Graffiti Fest celebrations which included musical concerts and cruising. Greg tells us that although Wolfman Jack didn’t actually work at a radio station in Modesto, he did make some personal appearances during which he guest starred on Modesto’s air waves. On one occasion in 1990 he joined a remote broadcast over KOOK, 970 which was being done from Northern Tire and Wheel on McHenry Ave.
During his first encounter with Wolfman Jack in Nashville Greg couldn’t have imagined that they would meet again, but it happened. They met when the Wolfman was in Modesto in 1990 to emcee a Graffiti Fest concert. In 1993 and again in 1994 Greg was working for KAT Country 103 doing Graffiti Fest remote broadcasts from Save Mart stores; The Wolfman showed up to visit with Greg on the air! He graciously answered questions and greeted the public. During one visit while introducing the Wolfman Greg recalls that he conjured up his best Wolfman impression which many of us have, some much better than others. Greg proceeded with his introduction by growling out, “How is your Boogaloo situation?” It was apparent from Wolfman’s facial response that he was not amused. Greg remained in good standing though; He even went on to work in the Wolfman’s personal security detail while he visited Modesto. Fortunately, according to Greg there were no situations that threatened Wolfman Jack’s security and Greg says that his job was pretty much to make sure that our esteemed guest got his favorite meals, greasy cheeseburgers.
Ok, so who was Wolfman Jack and where did he come from? Let us shed some light on these questions. The Wolfman will assist us at the end of this story by also responding to these questions, in his own words. He even throws out some mentions of Modesto in the process!
The person who was to become Wolfman Jack was born Robert Weston Smith in Brooklyn, New York January 21, 1938. As a young man he was a Rhythm and Blues music kind of guy; He listened very closely to the radio announcers of the day making note of the music they played and their particular gimmicks and deliveries on the air. The ear catching names that made them unique in the field of early radio entertainment were not lost on this fledgling radio announcer. It’s conceivable that at this point Robert Westin Smith gave some thought to what name he would use if he were a DJ.
It was in the late ‘50s that Robert Smith made the move toward a career in broadcasting when he enrolled in the National Academy of Broadcasting (NAB) in Washington D.C. He graduated in 1960 and went to work for WYOU in Virginia using the name “Daddy Jules.” When WYOU changed formats he changed his name to “Roger Gordon and Music in Good Taste.”
In 1962 it was on to country music in Shreveport, Louisiana at station KCIJ where Robert Smith became “Big Smith with the Records.” It was at KCIJ that the Wolfman Jack moniker was first heard by radio listeners. Robert “Big” Smith, soon to become Wolfman Jack especially liked DJ Alan Freed who called himself “Moon Dog.” Freed would use a recording of a howling dog during his broadcasts and this left quite an impression on the budding radio star. Big Smith began calling himself Wolfman Jack and created his own unique library of sound effects to bolster his new radio identity. Sound effects that eventually would forever be associated with the Wolfman Jack character. Incidentally the name “Wolfman” came from a love of horror movies and “Jack” came from the lingo of the day where people would refer to each other as “Jack,” for example, hit the road Jack.
The Wolfman Howl(courtesy of Greg Edwards)
Wolfman Jack grew from local recognition to national prominence in 1963 when he became involved with a radio station (XERF) just across the border in Mexico. Radio transmitters in Mexico didn’t have the power limitations of U.S. stations and could operate at many times the power. The Wolfman Jack show was introduced to people all over the continental United States and even some foreign countries. In the mid 1960s Wolfman Jack would tape his shows in Hollywood and then ship the tapes across the border to be broadcast on radio station XERB.
Wolfman Jack Show Opener(courtesy of Greg Edwards)
In August, 1973 Wolfman Jack began working at WNBC in New York; That was the same month that American Graffiti premiered. He worked there for a year before returning to California in 1974 to work on his syndicated radio shows. In 1989 Wolfman Jack moved to Belvidere, North Carolina to be nearer his family.
At the height of his popularity Wolfman Jack was heard on more than 2,000 radio stations in 53 countries. On July 1, 1995 the world lost Wolfman Jack when he suffered a heart attack; He was 57 years old. Robert Weston Smith, the Wolfman was laid to rest in the family cemetery in Belvidere. His headstone reads, “One more time,” “Clap for the Wolfman,” and “ooOOOWWWW.”
Wolfman Jack Closing A Show (courtesy of Greg Edwards)
In His Own Words
Here’s a 1990 interview with Wolfman Jack at Canadian Music Week in Toronto, Canada in which he describes in his own words how he became the Wolfman.
(The above Wolfman clip was edited for this article but is available in it’s entire one hour format by clickinghere. )
– The Modesto Radio Museum has drawn on information from Wikipedia and from the Wolfman Jack 1990 interview at Canadian Music Week to compile this article. Many thanks to our friend Greg Edwards for his recollections, pictures, and audio contributions. If you have memories of Wolfman Jack that you would like to share please leave them in the comments section below.
The following article appeared in the March 3, 2023 edition of The San Diego Union-Tribune
Before I had a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, I was a kid in San Diego with DJ dreams
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.”
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.
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.
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.)
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 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.”
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 lives in Sacramento and celebrated his 90th birthday on November 11, 2022
KDHS was an enigma to the general listening audience when it emerged on the Modesto airwaves on September 5, 1969. The station was licensed by the FCC to the Associated Students of Thomas Downey High School. The offices, studios & transmitter were located between rooms 50 & 51 at the high school. KDHS had the distinction of being the only high school radio station in the Modesto area, as well as one of the few high school radio stations in the entire country.
With Ron Underwood as the faculty advisor, KDHS was entirely student owned & student run. The radio broadcasting class was worth 1 credit as a vocational art. Its non-commercial, educational programming consisted of campus news, Downey High School Sports (especially football & basketball), special informational features, and a wide variety of popular music ranging from Rock & Roll to Jazz to Contemporary Christian.
The original 4.5 watt transmitter served the station and the Modesto area quite well. In December of 1969, the station acquired a new 10 watt Sparta transmitter which enabled KDHS to be heard as far away as Riverbank, Empire, & Ceres. In 1972, Ron Underwood left Downey and took a teaching position at Beyer High School. There, he launched KBHI 88.9 FM, the second high school station in Modesto. Burt Vasche’ became the new faculty advisor at KDHS.
Since its inception, the student council had agreed to fund the radio station at a cost of $2,500 per year. This took care of most of the operating and repair costs. The students also sold local area businesses a “Booster Package” which consisted of a KDHS window sticker, and a “mention” on the air. Since the station was non-commercial, it could not run paid-for ads. Rather, it would mention a business in the same manner that most PBS stations do, (“Funding for this program provided by …”).
Life went on at the little high school station until 1978. It was that year that 3 separate events signaled the start-of-the- end for KDHS:
Event #1…It was decided by the school district that the 1 credit radio broadcasting class would be discontinued at the end of the school year. Students would be allowed to continue broadcasting as an extra-curricular activity, but would not receive any class credit for their efforts. Graciously, Burt Vasche’ remained the faculty advisor for anyone who wanted to participate. It is believed that he did this without any pay or compensation from the school or district.
Event #2…The passage of Proposition 13, the Jarvis-Gann initiative, affected property taxes throughout the state, and in turn, dramatically reduced school funding. Athletic programs, the Arts, and extra-curricular activities took the biggest hit. In lieu of this shortfall, it was decided by the student council that they could no longer afford to continue to fund the station. The yearly stipend was immediately eliminated; however, the school continued to pay for the basic electricity used to keep the station on-the-air.
Event #3…While the station & students were reeling from the loss of funds, the FCC delivered the biggest blow by deciding to abolish all Class “D” FM stations (specifically, those operating at 10 watts). An overabundance of these low-powered, mainly high school & college radio stations were cluttering up the FM band, particularly in the 88-92 MHz range. An ultimatum was issued by the FCC; either increase your power to 100 watts, or leave the air. KBHI decided to do the latter. With no money for a new transmitter, no funding from the school, and a sharp decline in booster participation, KDHS was prepared to sign off for the final time. Instead, the station looked at a third option…one the FCC overlooked. KDHS decided to emulate KRJC, the AM station at Modesto Junior College. The transmitter was output reduced to 1 watt, and KDHS became a “Campus Carrier”. The signal could barely reach the outer edges of Downey Park to the north, and if you were more than 100 feet off campus, the signal was entirely lost. Furthermore, this meant that there was no protection by the FCC if a more powerful station petitioned to operate at the 90.5 FM frequency. Literally, on life support, the station remained on-the-air. The staff knew there was absolutely no money for repairs.
With the loss of the “1 credit class”, student participation had dwindled to a handful of believers. The listening audience at one time probably consisted of only one listener…the DJ on-air.
KDHS remained on the air until the spring of 1983. The once powerful 10 watt transmitter fell into severe disrepair and was unable to even crank out the single watt needed to remain on the air. The staff numbered less than 10, and the school insisted on reclaiming the office & studio space for a teacher preparation area. KDHS was officially gone.
When the license was allowed to expire, the Seventh Day Adventist Academy in Ceres petitioned the FCC in 1987 to acquire the 90.5 FM frequency. KADV, Your Christian ADVantage was launched in 1989. However, the call letters would not fade into obscurity. They were later claimed by Delta High School in Delta Junction, Alaska. In June of 2002, the FCC granted a license to KDHS-LP, a 100 watt high school station, which broadcasts at 95.5 FM, and on the internet.
Editor’s note: Kenn Shearer now lives in Tulsa, OK.
Memorabilia and Memories of The Fillmore Auditorium by Kathy Hansen
Museum Note: Kathy Hansen, a member of the Modesto Radio Museum, has a lifelong connection to music. Her mother, Ramona Rae Hansen-Saben, owned Salty’s Record Attic in Modesto. The cards shared in this article are from Kathy’s private collection.
The Fillmore Auditoriumin San Francisco played host to some of the most iconic bands and performers of the ‘60’s. The Fillmore was built in 1912, at the corner of Geary & Fillmore, and was originally the home of the Majestic Hall and Academy of Dance. In 1936, it became the Ambassador Dance Hall. Then, in 1939, the name again was changed to the Ambassador Roller Skating Rink. In 1954, a successful business man by the name of Charles Sullivan began booking bands and the name became The Fillmore Auditorium.
In 1965, Sullivan let Bill Grahamuse his dance hall permit to book a benefit for the San Francisco Mime Troop and that is were the Fillmore history began
Jefferson Airplane performed the first non–benefit concert at the Fillmore, playing February 4,5 & 6 1966. They would follow up that concert two weeks later, by playing with Big Brother and the Holding Company and Janis Joplin. They headlined several more times at the Fillmore.
But a lot more than music came out of the walls of the Fillmore. There were the posters. If you are lucky enough to still have an original poster from those days, you have something really special.
Not only are the posters collector items because of the artists who appeared on them but also, in some cases, because of the artists who designed them. The artist who designed most of the psychedelic posters from February 1966 until May of 1967 was Wes Wilson.He geared the art toward the audience who would be attending. Some posters were inspired by his own experiences with LSD. He had a loosely exclusive arrangement with Bill Graham during that time but money disputes apparently caused them to part ways.
Wes Wilson (July 15, 1937 – January 24, 2020) was the father of the60’s rock concert psychedelic posters. Between 1966 and 1968, Wes would complete 56 posters for Bill Graham. There is a popular story that Graham liked Wes’s first poster but he couldn’t use it because the text was not legible and supposedly Wes replied,“They’ll stop to read it because they can’t read it.” There began his stint with Graham.
The posters also took on other forms. When you walked into a show, you were not only greeted with“Welcome to the Fillmore”but were given either a miniature 5 x 7 “Play Card”of the poster or a post card.
In 1968, due to the deterioration of the surrounding neighborhood, Bill Graham abandoned the Fillmore Auditorium. In July of that year, Graham took ownership of the Carousel Ballroom on South Van Ness Ave.
It operated under the name the Fillmore West. He also had Fillmore East in New York City’s East Village. Both venues were closed in July of 1971 as the use of larger arenas grew in popularity.
The Fillmore continued on with a few different names: The New Old Fillmore, The Elite Club which became a venue for punk rock shows. It was reopened in the mid-‘80s under Bill Graham’s management but closed again in October of 1989 after the Loma Prieta earthquake damaged the building. After Graham was killed in the helicopter crash in 1981, it was reopened in 1994 after a Retrofit with The Smashing Pumpkins playing a surprise show. It is now leased and operated by Live Nation, a subsidiary of iHeart Media.
* Do you have memories of The Fillmore? Please feel free to share them in the following comments section.
(Editor’s note: Denny’s answer to this blog question belongs here in the Modesto Radio Museum. Denny’s long radio career included five years at KFIV, MODESTO during the peak of Top 40 Radio’s popularity. His air name was 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
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.
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.
Dan Adams of KXTV 10 produced this story of Stockton and Sacramento Top 40 radio stations from days gone by; a time before corporate programmers dictated what to play and when to play it; a time when DJs had control and could make or break a record. Then things began to change. In 1966 there was a monumental shift and radio would never be the same again.
Top 40 Radio Northern California Video by Dan Adams
Kent Whitt and the Downbeats was the first Modesto area rock ‘n’ roll band. Members of the band included Kent Whitt on drums, Bob DeLeon on Keyboard, Danny Toledo on Sax, Bill Gross on Bass, and Connie Hightman on Guitar. Kent Whitt and the Downbeats first formed to play school dances at Modesto High and then became a popular draw in the area, playing the California Ballroom and the Fable Room as well as high school gyms.
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. It was a five month tour which lasted until May, 1964. While in Vietnam three members of the band got notice that he had been drafted.
In 2021 during an open house at the Graffiti USA Classic Car Museum Kent Whitt agreed to an interview with the Modesto Radio Museum. Enjoy as he shares his memories with you.