As an A immigrant to this country, from Germany , I became a US citizen, in part, to someday try to fulfill a long held dream to own and operate a radio station. And in 1976, along with my wife, Anne, we decided to go ahead and file an application with the Federal Communications Commission to build and operate a new FM station that could serve the Modesto Market. Initially planning was to apply for a new Class-A FM frequency that was available in Manteca , CA.
However, while preparing the application we had the good fortune of contacting local Broadcast Consulting Engineer, Cecil Lynch, who made us aware of the potential of a better opportunity for a new station that would be licensed to Oakdale, CA. as a Full Power Class B FM station.
However this was the last available frequency and came with certain restrictive technical rule requirements that had to be met. Although meeting these conditions would shift and thus waste some of the potential coverage area it still would be capable of reaching the Modesto/Stockton and Merced Markets.
In 1979 Goldrush Broadcasting, Inc. was granted a Construction Permit by The Federal Communications Commission for a new FM station to be licensed to Oakdale , CA .
In 1984, Wally Heusser, who owned KKDJ in Fresno , CA was brought in as a partner. Together with his help we were able to finish construction in time to begin broadcasting equipment tests by spring of 1985.
KDJK 95.1 FM, Oakdale , CA officially hit the air March 11, 1985, programming from Studios/Offices located in Oakdale, and broadcasting from its site located up in the foothills west of Oakdale, with 30kw ERP from an antenna that is 1400′ above the valley. Listener response was immediate and positive. When the next market audience research surveys came out, KDJK was rated the new No.1 station in the market with the most listeners, adults 12+ (Arbitron Spr.’85).
For KDJK to debut at No.1 was unexpected. Competing stations were saying it’s a fluke, potential advertisers were being told to wait and see what the next ratings would show. In the meantime KDJK’s balance sheet continued to flow lots of red ink. Station operating costs were always a challenge and had to be met thru our own boot straps.
But after the initial ratings we knew we had a winner and things were going to turn around.
There was a lot more excitement when the next book came out and reaffirmed the new kid on the block was here to stay. For the next seven years business was good. By not having any major debt to service, revenues generated were able to be put right back into the station.
Investing in the latest state of the art technical equipment and providing competitive compensation with full benefits including profit sharing. Everyone at KDJK, whether in the sales, engineering, or programming always seemed to work well together as a motivated team that really cared about the success of the station. Occasionally the station would host out of town trips and activities for the entire staff. I think most would say it was a fun time to be working there.
In the meantime, Wally became associated with a new partner, together they wanted to put together and operate a group of radio stations. They went on to acquire several more stations, and incurred millions of dollars of debt in the process. Later this would lead to financial problems that would also come to affect KDJK. In 1990 we were compelled to buying out his interest in KDJK, in order to do so we had to assume a portion of the debt from his lenders.
Unfortunately it wasn’t long before KDJK faced a much more competitive market situation when two other stations in the market were programmed to go directly after our listening audience. This along with a deepening overall economic recession left us unable to service the loans under the repayment terms of the debt we assumed.
Over the next couple of years expensive litigation over FCC licensee rights and foreclosure proceedings followed. These legal battles were lost when a Federal District Court ordered the sale of KDJK and appointed a trustee to carry it out. The station was sold and transferred to new owners, Photosphere Broadcasting Limited in Dec.1994. About a year later it was sold again to Citadel Broadcasting.
Listener response was immediate and positive. When the next market audience research surveys came out, KDJK was rated the new No.1 station in the market with the most listeners, adults 12+ (Arbitron Spr.’85).
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Beaver Brown remembers KDJK
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