Max Sayre and Cal Purviance had similar experiences which lead them both to careers in radio. In this video Max and Cal share those experiences with us. Both Max and Cal are gone now, Max died in 2004 and Cal in 2011 making this video one of the Radio Musemum’s treasured “Solid Gold” memories.
Max Sayre and Cal Purviance Interview video by Wes Page
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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: ModestoNews.org, Morris Smith
Family and Friends Remember Salty’s Record Attic and Ramona Saben video: Elaine Vincent
This nostalgic video features the “Beer Barrel Polka” which station owner Bill Batesbegan 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.