BOB DE LEON Receives MAMA’s Lifetime Achievement Award

Shure Unidyne Model 55, 75th Anniversary

The 75th anniversary of the iconic Shure model 55 Unidyne microphone was in 2014. Yes, the year was 1939 that the Shure Company brought out the model 55. To celebrate Shure produced a limited edition version, the model 5575LE blending the original design specs of the original 55 with a modern Shure internal pickup element. I’m so glad Shure decided to honor their technological advance; the very first unidirectional, single element, dynamic microphone!

The 5575LE is a beautiful unit made just like the original with a brushed chrome plating on the “bird cage” style grill enclosure and the original red color silk screen. In addition to the modern internals Shure included an XLR connector to make it compatible with modern cables.

The Shure Model 5575LE
Shure has now discontinued this special edition model, but you can check it out on their website that has beautiful photos and specs. (Click Here)

The Modesto Radio Museum site is proud to give a salute to Shure for this milestone anniversary! Modesto’s very first commercial radio station, KTRB, used the broadcast version of the model 55 mics during the Bill Bates ownership era as documented on our site.


Historical Gene D’Accardo Interview Surfaces

Gene D’Accardo’s roots are in Modesto. He went to school here, began his radio career here and subsequently finished his illustrious broadcast career here. During his tenure in broadcast journalism, he reported on events that held worldwide interest such as the Patty Hearst kidnapping and the student unrest that took place on college campuses in California during the 1960s; he scaled the Bay Bridge to share with us how workers maintained the massive span.

D'ACCARDO, GENE
Gene D’Accardo

Gene D’Accardo began reporting the news at KTRB, Modesto in 1952. He then moved to what was KMOD (now KFIV), Modesto before moving on to KNBR, San Francisco in 1966; he eventually became News Director at KNBR. Gene was at KNBR for 23 years and was described by his colleagues as a “hard-nosed” newsman who was constantly at his desk typing out, and then reporting, the news to the Bay Area and it’s surrounding communities. He left KNBR in 1990 returning once again to KTRB in Modesto where he finished his career in broadcast journalism.

Gene D’Accardro graduated from Modesto High School in the late 1930s. He then attended Modesto Junior College (MJC) studying communications. From 1940-1942 he was a columnist for the MJC publication The Collegian. It is at this period in Gene D’Accardo’s life that we are privileged to peek through the mists of time courtesy of MJC Vice President Emeritus Dr. Steve Collins.

Modesto Junior College Vice President Emeritus Dr. Steve Collins

Dr. Collins recently gave the Modesto Radio Museum an audio copy of an interview with Gene D’Accardo from September of 1991 during which time he reminisced about the early days; the days before he entered the world of broadcast news. He talks about how these days impacted his career and his approach to life. As you listen you will be able to easily recognize that even as a young man at the beginning of his journey, Gene D’Accardo had the qualities that would carry him to success.

Modesto Radio Museum’s Tribute to Gene D’Accardo

Bay Area Radio Museum Hall of Fame – Gene D’Accardo

 

Neumann U47 Microphone

Previously on the Microphone Man pages we have focused on American made mics. But after WWII excellent quality foreign made units began to be available. One particular very high quality German made mic came to the US around 1950 and was an immediate hit with American record companies. This was the Neumann U47 condenser (Capacitor) microphone. The following info is from Professor Stan Coutant’s excellent microphone website:

“The Neumann Model U47 was the first post-war mic produced by Georg Neumann GmbH in West Berlin. It was designed around a Telefunken  developed steel cover radio tube, type VF14m. It became a bench mark mic in the early fifties, but was expensive at around $400. Engineers found out quickly that the sensitivity of the U 47 greatly enhanced the detail of their recordings.”

Broadcasters in the US, due to the high price, were reluctant to start using this mic at first. But later on in the ’50s some stations began to use the U47. One of the stations, KRLA in Los Angeles, used a U47 in their disc jockey studio. This mic required a rather bulky power supply and along with the high price deterred most US radio and TV stations from using this unit.
Safe to say, that most high quality LP recordings in major recording studios in the ’50s were recorded using the U47. One record company recorded major US symphony orchestras using one U47 suspended over the orchestra. The company called this method “Living Presence”. This was, of course, in the “mono” audio days.
Frank Sinatra and his “Tellie”, as he called it at Capitol Records in Hollywood.
The U47 had two basic pickup patterns, cardioid and omni, selected by a switch. The pattern selected was shown graphically in a small window just below the grill. This mic used a vacuum tube inside the bottom part of the body. The mic connected to the power supply box through a cable containing many wires.
The Telefunken branded Neumann U47 showing the heart-shaped cardioid pattern selected.
The inside of a U47 with pickup capsule on top, vacuum tube in middle.
The Neumann U47…one of the the great iconic microphones of the 20th century. More information on this mic can be seen on the Coutant Microphone website.


Glenn Fox – Aircheck

Glenn Fox was born in Modesto, CA but he grew up in Oakdale.  He graduated from Oakdale High School in 1965.  After high school Glenn attended radio school to receive his First Class Radio Telephone License from the Federal Communications Commission  subsequently engaging in a successful radio broadcasting career. He was on the air with radio stations KTRB and KHOP in Modesto in the early to mid ’70s. His last show on KTRB was January 4, 1975. 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 a gentle man with a great sense of humor. He loved his job and put everything he had into it.”

Glenn at the control board, KTRB 1975

Glenn worked radio for awhile in Fort Smith Arkanas as a talk show host for KWHN. In 1993 Glenn’s parents, Allen and Marie Fox, who had originally migrated to California from Sallisaw, Oklahoma 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.” Glenn became a great source of local and national history in both Oakdale and Sallisaw.  He often returned to Oakdale to visit family and friends, especially for class reunions.

Editor’s Note: Glenn 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. See Modesto Radio Museum’s Tribute to Glenn Fox

KTRB – Glenn Fox Show – 1975 (tape courtesy of Mike Ward)

KTRB – Glenn Fox Last Show – 1/4/1975 (tape courtesy of Mike Ward)

KTRB – Raw production tape of Glenn creating Station IDs for KTRB/KHOP – 1975 (tape courtesy of Mike Ward)

♦ Back to AIRCHECKS index page

Jay Coffey – Aircheck

Jay Coffey right where he belongs, on the air.

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.

Where it all began for Jay over 47 years ago.
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.
Jay Coffey, half a century in broadcasting.

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:

Remembering KBHI – Tammy Veil

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.

BR -L-R: Harry Mersman, Gary watts, Terry Watts, Cory Christensen, Linda Wirt, Frank DeMattos, Janelle Dotson, Deanna Rule, Dave Rose, Jim Smith FR L-R: Teri Harger, Ed Steele, Cherri Ebright, Sam Thorne, Lori Hammer (Photo courtesy of Tammy Veil)

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.

Tammy on the air at KTRB in early 1980s (Photo courtesy of Tammy Veil).

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.

Listen to  Tammy Lynn – Aircheck

Read  Tammy Lynn (Veil-Drew) Remembers KTRB-KHOP

Radio Goes Hollywood!

You’re in for a treat.   The Museum thanks Ken Levine for granting us permission to post these podcast interviews with the nation’s leading radio personalities.   Their stories give great insight as to what it was like to be “that guy on the radio.”

We think you’ll learn a lot; we know you’l laugh a lot.   After all, these are disc jockeys. . .

We begin with Shotgun Tom Kelly,   a radio star who was given his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame:

 

Episode 142:  Meet Radio Star Shotgun Tom Kelly

 

 

Next Ken talks to Neil Ross, a Modesto Radio Museum contributor, and Ogden Radio School 1963 graduate.  Neil’s  stories range from Roller Derby fisticuffs to backstage with Jim Morrison and the Doors:

 

Episode 93:  From a radio school dream to announcing the Academy Awards, meet Neil Ross

Bonus:  Neil talks about going to radio school:

 

Charlie Van Dyke, you hear him everyday as the voice of TV and radio stations across America.    Listen in and you’ll recognize the man Ken calls, “The Voice of God”:

Episode 195 : He’s on the air everywhere.   His voice is One in a Million:   Meet Charlie Van Dyke

 

 

Ken Levine himself was quite a YES Man.  He knew to say Yes when the Hell’s Angels requested a song; he said Yes when the FBI asked to enter his studio, and Yes when asked to fill in for Wolfman Jack:

 

Episode 125:  When you Clap for the Wolfman, you’re applauding the legendary Ken Levine

 

Ken’s  personal radio favorites are put on display.  Here’s Ken Levine’s Mount Rushmore of Radio Personalities:

 Episode 117:  Ken Levine’s Mount Rushmore of radio stars

Vin Scully
The Real Don Steele
Dan Ingram
Gary Burbank

 

 

 

 

When did stations start playing Christmas Music 24/7?   Jhani Kaye, 1967 Ogden Radio School graduate, was the first major market program director to go “All Christmas, All the Time!”

Episode 205:  There’s no such thing as too much  Christmas Music.   National Programmer Jhani Kaye sleighs in with details

 

The Best DJ no one ever listens to: Deke Duncan has been spinning the hits for 45 years.  No one listens.  No one can.  He’s following his bliss.   We all should be so lucky.

 

Episode 187:   The best DJ no one ever listens to 

 

 Ken Levine is a creative giant with at least four huge careers:   Comedy writer for MASH, CHEERS, FRASIER, AND WINGS, among others;  Broadcaster of Major League Baseball for the Orioles, Mariners, and Padres;  prolific writer of books, plays, movies, and one of America’s most-read daily blogs.  His Career Number Four:   Radio Personality!  Yes, it all began with radio.   His podcasts, Hollywood and Levine, focus on Entertainment, Pop Culture, and, of course, all things radio.   Want more?   Ken has over 200 podcasts,  click the logo below:

Bob Lang – Aircheck

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 Lang in the KTRB Studios in 1969, looking good, sounding good but broke.

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!

Tom Romano, Tim St. Martin and Bob Lang at KTRB.

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.

The “Team” from KTRB: Bob Lang, Bob De Leon, Tim St. Martin, and Derek Waring at a Central Valley Broadcasters lunch.

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 was as enthusiastic about teaching as he was about radio and TV!

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.

 

Read more about   Bob Lang

♦ Back to AIRCHECKS index page

Bob Lang and Tim St. Martin – Aircheck

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.

Tim St. Martin and Bob Lang, KTRB, 1969

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):

Eugene and Farley reunited. Tim St. Martin and Bob Lang at a Central Valley Broadcasters dinner, 2014.

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 Modesto Radio Museum has more Bob and Tim:

Listen to   Bob Lang – Aircheck

Read    Bob Lang Remembers

Read   KFIV, KTRB, SUNNY-102, KMPH Air Personality, Tim St. Martin

Read  Tim St. Martin, remembered by friends

♦ Back to AIRCHECKS index page

 

KBHI – Beyer High School Radio

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.

BR -L-R: Harry Mersman, Gary watts, Terry Watts, Cory Christensen, Linda Wirt, Frank DeMattos, Janelle Dotson, Deanna Rule, Dave Rose, Jim Smith (Photo courtesy of Tammy Veil) BR L-R: Teri Harger, Ed Steele, Cherri Ebright, Sam Thorne, Lori Hammer
Scott Brown doing on the air shift at KBHI, 1974 (Photo courtesy of Ron Underwood)

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.

Teri Harger, Beyer High School KBHI studio (Photo courtesy of Tammy Veil)
Faculty Advisor Ron Underwood on the air at KBHI (Photo courtesy of Ron Underwood)
Ron Underwood was so dedicated to high school radio he had a personalized license plate (Photo courtesy of Tammy Viel)

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.

Lori Hammer, Beyer High School KBHI studio (Photo courtesy of Tammy Veil)
KBHI students/staff 1974. Front row L-R: Steve Gordon, Lori Hammer, Scott Brown, Carl Bratton. Second row L-R: Jim Bergman, Sean McCalib, Keely Pariegan, Ricky Lester, Michelle Davis, Steve Hurley, Melanie Scimeca, Becky Holmes, Mary Nicholson, Keri McDaniel, Doug Hazen, Becky wadlin, Doug Cripe. Back row, l-R: Walter Holmes, Steve Gerringer, Rudy Rodriques, Steve Gordo, Mike McDonnell, Barry Courtney, Cory Christienson, Gary Darpinian, Kelly Corbett, Harry Mersman, Kathy Carpenter, Teri Harger, Joan Darpinian, Rick Chadwell, Mark Ichikawa. (Photo courtesy of Ron Underwood)

  Remembering KBHI – Tammy Veil

If you were involved with KBHI we would love to hear your story. Please feel free to leave your comments below.