KFIV and KTRB Personality, Derek Waring

I suppose I first became interested in radio back in the late 50’s when I would visit KTRB and sing on the Tots ‘N Teens program with my cousins John and Cheryl Wylie. I recall how friendly Cal Purviance was and also remember Glenn Staley who played the piano. But most of all, I remember how much the studio intrigued me. This was show business! I often wish that I would have had the chance to be involved during radio’s heydays when major productions were done in the studios.

My desire to pursue radio also got a boost from the visits that I made to Bob Pinheiro’s home as a child. Bob who is now the Modesto Radio Museum Webmaster lived near me. He was, and still is, very much into Ham Radio and he happily shared his knowledge with me. Little did he know that he was lighting a fire that would lead me into broadcasting. I also recall riding the bus to school while attending La Loma Junior High School and listening to Bobby Barnett, Gary Culver, and Fred Green on KFIV. I thought, man this stinks; I have to go to school and these guys are having a blast talking and playing music on the radio.

I became seriously interested in the field of broadcasting as a profession while a student at Modesto Junior College (MJC). Originally I had planned to major in Journalism but happened to visit the MJC radio station one day. I was hooked! My professors during those early days had a big influence on me, Bill Hill, Sid Woodward, Max Sayre, Harley Lee, and Donald Rowe. They really laid down a good foundation for me.

While I was attending MJC I obtained my Radio Telephone Third Class license and worked at KSRT, Stereo 101, a small station in Tracy, CA. There was an older fellow at KSRT, Ken Hill, who took me under his wing and mentored me. I’ve always been thankful for the direction that Ken gave to me at a time that I was pretty green and didn’t really have a clue. After our stints on the air Ken and I would go fishing in the Delta Mendota canal and he would answer all my questions about radio. Ken, wherever you are, thanks. I don’t really know how many listeners I had while at KSRT. I do know that my mom loved my show!

After spending some time at KSRT I realized that if I wanted to have a career in radio, I needed to get my Radio Telephone First Class license. I traveled to Long Beach with Mike Novak another local guy who went into broadcasting. We attended William B. Ogden’s Radio Operational Engineering School in the summer of 1969. I watched the First Man on The Moon telecast from Ogden’s classroom. I have lots of good memories from my time at Ogden’s. I made some friends with whom I still have contact, Bob Lang and Mark Holste (Taylor).

After returning from Ogden’s in 1969 Bob De Leon, who was program director at KFIV (K-5), hired me.

Derek with Bob DeLeon, lifetime friends.

I started on the all night shift but eventually worked all of the time slots. I had some great times at K-5 at a time that the station was the only Top 40 rocker in the area. Some of the individuals with whom I had the privilege of working were Bob De Leon, Johnny Walker (Bob Neutzling), Tony Townsend (Tony Flores), Roy Williams, John Huey, Mark Taylor (Mark Holste), Mike Shannon, and John Chappell. Bob Fenton was the owner of K-5 at that time and when he spoke to us we    were always referred to as “Kid.”

My favorite times at K-5 were when I got to count down the weekly top 40. There are also some funny stories that I could never share in public. Bob De Leon and I left K-5 at about the same time and went to KTRB. I think this happened around 1972. KTRB was an adult contemporary format which allowed us to insert more of our personalities into our programs. Bob Lang was doing mid mornings at KTRB, Tim St. Martin was doing the news, Cal Purviance was doing early mornings, Bob De Leon did the afternoons, and I had the evening shift. Don Schneider was doing mobile news from his car we called the “porcupine” because of all of the antennas. We even had an occasional report from the air. These were really good times in radio. I felt that the station was part of the community and we were part of a broadcasting team. Sam Horrell was the program director at the time. Sam’s influence created an atmosphere of camaraderie at KTRB.

There are also many stories from my days at KTRB. One of the things that I remember well is that from the production booth across the hall from the on-air studio one could talk into the earphones.

Down through the decades, the voice stays young

I have fond memories of Bob Lang interviewing my daughter Kristy on the air. She was a toddler at the time. Not only were the on-air personalities close, there was a special relationship with the sales staff and the front office personnel. We were a family. Around this time I also worked weekends at KJOY in Stockton. I remember getting off the air at KTRB at 11:00 p.m. driving to Stockton and going on the air at 12:00 midnight at KJOY working until 7:00 in the morning. My drives home after getting off were quite interesting. I’m happy to still be here.

In the mid 70’s KTRB was sold and the program changes that were made had a “not so positive” impact on the image and the morale of those working at KTRB. The on-air personalities were made to change their names. Bob Lang became Big Ben Boulder, Bob De Leon became Johnny Gunn, and my new name was the Godfather. Radio had changed; it was becoming impersonal and moving further away from its local audience. I can’t say that these developments single handedly pointed me in a different direction as far as my career was concerned but they played a major role. I went back to college and followed a path that eventually led to being a college administrator. Along that path I did work as a part time disk jockey for top 40, country, and talk radio because radio was in my blood, and it still is after these many years.

Here is a sample of Derek on the air: 

     

Dwight Case, 90

Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants: Remembering Dwight Case

By  Radio Ink

Dwight Case was born in Modesto June 29, 1929. His career began at KFIV, Modesto and from there he was destined to change the landscape of the broadcasting industry in America.

Among his many accomplishments Dwight was the President of RKO Radio,  was Publisher and Editor of Radio & Records magazine, and was the founder of TRANSTAR, the first 24-hour satellite entertainment provider.  It was Dwight who was the first in the industry to put women in major positions.

“Dwight Case was a true leader and visionary of the radio industry. He had a profound impact on my career and on my love of radio. He opened up many doors for me both professionally and personally for which I will always be grateful. He supported me as a female in the industry when it was not fashionable or commonplace and helped me to find my voice. I look back on the many spirited conversations we have had over the years and can only hope we provided him as much inspiration and thought as he provided us.”– Erica Farber, CEO RAB, The Radio Advertising Bureau.   (Courtesy Radio Ink)

Dwight at a K-5 remote, doing his show at Burge’s Drive In.
The Cruisers all came by to see Dwight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

KMPH, 840 kHz History

KMPH A.M. 840 kHz Sold To Immaculate Heart Radio
August 1, 2014

Radio station KMPH, 840 KHz Modesto, California, was sold to Immaculate Heart Radio effective August 1, 2014 by owner Harry Pappas of Reno, NV. Pappas dropped their Graffiti Gold music format from the station with the consummation of the agreement and the new owners launched their Catholic talk radio format August 1, 2014. Immaculate Heart Radio stations broadcast authentic Catholic programming 24 hours a day over 31 group owned stations in six states including 15 translators. Stations including KWG, Stockton, KJOP, Lemoore, CA, KHOT, Madera, CA. and KJPG in Bakersfield, CA.

Meanwhile, the KTRB building and property on Norwegian Avenue is still for sale. There’ve been no no offers tendered for the property which was originally listed for sale over a year ago Harry Pappas, owner for $495,000. The price has been reduced $295,000 or best offer.

________________________
Vandals Attack KMPH
August 14, 2013
KMPH’s mobile office/studios located in the parking lot of the former KTRB on Norwegian Ave. in Modesto was struck sometime overnight Wednesday August 14, 2013 by vandals. The responsible’s cut a hole in the chain-link fence that surrounds the property to gain access the mobile office which sits in the parking lot of the former KTRB . They knocked the station off the air by cutting the power to the office and transmission wires connected to the building. No attempt was made to enter the alarmed mobile office itself. Initial damage estimates place a loss of around $500.

David Jackson, program director of the station, discovered the station off the air at 6 AM and contacted station engineer Paul Shinn who discovered the crime when he arrived at the station. The adjacent former KTRB building, which has been vacant for several years, has in the past been broken into several times mostly for copper wiring which was stripped from the interior. KMPH, owned by Harry Pappas of Reno, NV, plans to increase the security of the property. The incident was reported to the Modesto Police Department.

______________________________

KMPH Returns With Graffiti Gold

August 11, 2013

According to Manoli Pappas of the KMPH management team, KMPH has returned to the air with a “Graffiti Gold” music format.
______________________________
KMPH-AM Modesto Being Liquidated
Thursday, March 29, 2012

Pappas Telecasting is liquidating its broadcast holdings, which include TV stations in California, Texas, Arizona and Nebraska and one radio station KMPH-AM (840) in Modesto, CA. KMPH was launched by Harry J. Pappas to replace KTRB-AM (860) which he moved to San Francisco in 2006. KTRB San Francisco is not part of this liquidation. KMPH AM went into receivership when Pappas failed to make a March 26, 2012 “discounted payoff ” which would have allow the stations involved to “re-vest” with him as the original owner. However, lender Comerica Bank failed to receive payment. Pappas had been the initial trustee, managing it on behalf of the creditors. Pappas’ own stock in the company is now being contributed to the Liquidating Trust run by Shubert, under direction of the Federal bankruptcy court in Delaware.

KMPH 840 KHz replaced the original KTRB 860 KHz on July 10, 2006 when the Pappas Company, headed by Harry Pappas, moved KTRB to San Francisco. KMPH failed on August 31, 2010 but returned to the air in August of 2011 carrying Mexican religious programming being fed to the transmitter by satellite from a Texas company. Other than the contract engineer and a maintenance man, there are no local employees. Harry Pappas’s nephew Jim Pappas, a company VP, managed KMPH during the year it was on the air and moved on to hold the same position with KTRB in San Francisco. He currently is an account representative for the Valley Yellow Pages.

( Radio-Info.Com contributed to this story)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Pappas Telecasting is liquidating its broadcast holdings, which include TV stations in California, Texas, Arizona and Nebraska and one radio station KMPH-AM (840) in Modesto, CA. KMPH was launched by Harry J. Pappas to replace KTRB-AM (860) which he moved to San Francisco in 2006. KTRB San Francisco is not part of this liquidation. KMPH AM went into receivership when Pappas failed to make a March 26, 2012 “discounted payoff ” which would have allow the stations involved to “re-vest” with him as the original owner. However, lender Comerica Bank failed to receive payment. Pappas had been the initial trustee, managing it on behalf of the creditors. Pappas’ own stock in the company is now being contributed to the Liquidating Trust run by Shubert, under direction of the Federal bankruptcy court in Delaware.

KMPH 840 KHz replaced the original KTRB 860 KHz on July 10, 2006 when the Pappas Company, headed by Harry Pappas, moved KTRB to San Francisco. KMPH failed on August 31, 2010 but returned to the air in August of 2011 carrying Mexican religious programming being fed to the transmitter by satellite from a Texas company. Other than the contract engineer and a maintenance man, there are no local employees. Harry Pappas’s nephew Jim Pappas, a company VP, managed KMPH during the year it was on the air and moved on to hold the same position with KTRB in San Francisco. He currently is an account representative for the Valley Yellow Pages.

KMPH A.M. 840 kHz Sold To Immaculate Heart Radio
August 1, 2014

Radio station KMPH, 840 KHz Modesto, California, was sold to Immaculate Heart Radio effective August 1, 2014 by owner Harry Pappas of Reno, NV. Pappas dropped their Graffiti Gold music format from the station with the consummation of the agreement and the new owners launched their Catholic talk radio format August 1, 2014. Immaculate Heart Radio stations broadcast authentic Catholic programming 24 hours a day over 31 group owned stations in six states including 15 translators. Stations including KWG, Stockton, KJOP, Lemoore, CA, KHOT, Madera, CA. and KJPG in Bakersfield, CA.

Meanwhile, the KTRB building and property on Norwegian Avenue is still for sale. There’ve been no no offers tendered for the property which was originally listed for sale over a year ago Harry Pappas, owner for $495,000. The price has been reduced $295,000 or best offer.

________________________
Vandals Attack KMPH
August 14, 2013
KMPH’s mobile office/studios located in the parking lot of the former KTRB on Norwegian Ave. in Modesto was struck sometime overnight Wednesday August 14, 2013 by vandals. The responsible’s cut a hole in the chain-link fence that surrounds the property to gain access the mobile office which sits in the parking lot of the former KTRB . They knocked the station off the air by cutting the power to the office and transmission wires connected to the building. No attempt was made to enter the alarmed mobile office itself. Initial damage estimates place a loss of around $500.

David Jackson, program director of the station, discovered the station off the air at 6 AM and contacted station engineer Paul Shinn who discovered the crime when he arrived at the station. The adjacent former KTRB building, which has been vacant for several years, has in the past been broken into several times mostly for copper wiring which was stripped from the interior. KMPH, owned by Harry Pappas of Reno, NV, plans to increase the security of the property. The incident was reported to the Modesto Police Department.

______________________________

KMPH Returns With Graffiti Gold

August 11, 2013

According to Manoli Pappas of the KMPH management team, KMPH has returned to the air with a “Graffiti Gold” music format.
______________________________
KMPH-AM Modesto Being Liquidated
Thursday, March 29, 2012

Pappas Telecasting is liquidating its broadcast holdings, which include TV stations in California, Texas, Arizona and Nebraska and one radio station KMPH-AM (840) in Modesto, CA. KMPH was launched by Harry J. Pappas to replace KTRB-AM (860) which he moved to San Francisco in 2006. KTRB San Francisco is not part of this liquidation. KMPH AM went into receivership when Pappas failed to make a March 26, 2012 “discounted payoff ” which would have allow the stations involved to “re-vest” with him as the original owner. However, lender Comerica Bank failed to receive payment. Pappas had been the initial trustee, managing it on behalf of the creditors. Pappas’ own stock in the company is now being contributed to the Liquidating Trust run by Shubert, under direction of the Federal bankruptcy court in Delaware.

KMPH 840 KHz replaced the original KTRB 860 KHz on July 10, 2006 when the Pappas Company, headed by Harry Pappas, moved KTRB to San Francisco. KMPH failed on August 31, 2010 but returned to the air in August of 2011 carrying Mexican religious programming being fed to the transmitter by satellite from a Texas company. Other than the contract engineer and a maintenance man, there are no local employees. Harry Pappas’s nephew Jim Pappas, a company VP, managed KMPH during the year it was on the air and moved on to hold the same position with KTRB in San Francisco. He currently is an account representative for the Valley Yellow Pages.

( Radio-Info.Com contributed to this story)

( Radio-Info.Com contributed to this story)

KFIV, KTRB, KMPH Personality Tim St. Martin

Long time Modesto area radio listeners have heard a familiar voice on the local airwaves for more than 30 years — 32 1/2 years to be exact. Tim St. Martin, who began his career at Modesto’s KFIV in the spring of 1967, is still going strong as a disc jockey and news broadcaster at KJSN Sunny 102.3 FM. He shares the morning mike with Gary Michaels and can be heard from 5:30 to 8:30 a.m. Mondays through Fridays.

The 53-year-old DJ, who grew up in Southgate in Southern California and went to broadcasting school in Hollywood, got his first job at KTHO, in South Lake Tahoe.” It was a good learning experience and a lot of fun for a 20-year-old but after one year I was offered a spot at KFIV” St. Martin said.

And so began his local career that very few can match or top, in terms of longevity or hours on the air. By his own estimate, he’s put in “about 20 thousand hours, maybe more.”

Perhaps only the legendary Cal Purviance can claim a longer tenure as an on-air personality. Purviance worked as a newsman and program director at KTRB full-time from 1951 to 1982. Even after retiring, he stayed on part-time until 1990.

Ironically, it was Purviance, who hired St. Martin away from KFIV in 1969 as Tim became KTRB’s newscaster, replacing Art Baker.  Purviance recalls St. Martin as being a “sure-fire” radio man.

“l hired Tim because of his fine on air personality and his nose for news” Purviance said. “He was very articulate and worked well with others. He never insisted on doing things his way only. He was with us a number of years and was a heckuva team player.”

St. Martin left the radio scene for a brief time in the seventies to enter private business. He tried his hand as a professional rodeo announcer and also worked as a yacht salesman in the Delta. But he soon found out that he yearned to get back into radio.

“l loved broadcasting the rodeo events and even enjoyed selling yachts but it’s hard to sell enough yachts to make a living. I knew I could make money working for a radio station, so that’s why I returned. ”

St. Martin eventually returned to KFIV in 1978 and has been associated with that station ever since. Sunny 102.3 FM is owned by the Texas-based AM/FM lnc. that also controls KFIV, B-93, Mega 96.7 and KJAX in Stockton.

The company, according to St. Martin, is the biggest of its kind in the United States, operating hundreds of stations from coast to coast. It even owns the Texas Rangers baseball team and the Dallas Stars hockey club.

Over the years, he has gone from a traditional news broadcaster. The station caters to women in 29 to 45 year age group but he really doesn’t get involved in the selection of the format.

“l consider myself a ‘rip-and-read’ broadcaster but his three-minute reports are heard on the hour and in an upbeat style of delivery. His broadcasting idol during his early years was Gene D’Accardo, who worked locally during the ’60s, then went to KNBR in San Francisco for many years before returning to KTRB. “He had a natural presence on the air St. Martin added.

Four radio legends from KTRB: Bob Lang, Bob DeLeon, Tim St. Martin, and Derek Waring

St. Martin normally doesn’t do financial, crime or what he calls other depressing news. “If people want those bad things, they can go to another station. That’s just the way I am.”

He ends each newscast with “I’m Tim St. Martin with the information you need, now back to the music you love on Sunny 102.”   It no doubt serves as a wake-up call for thousands of listeners each morning.

The Modesto area, still considered a small market , has been a launching pad for many DJs and radio personalities. Some have gone on to successful careers in television and movies,. Among them are Don lmus, Les Keider and Stu Nahan.

St. Martin points out that the late Wolfman Jack, despite being featured in “American Graffiti”, never worked for a local station. “He was at XERB, which had it transmitter across the Mexican border and could be heard all over the West Coast and as far away as Alaska.

Tim, with Rick Myers and Bob Mohr. Combined, 130 years of broadcasting, all sharing the same birthday

 

The lure of big city lights and big city money never have appealed to the local radio man. “l like it here and wouldn’t want to a major market. Actually Modesto is getting too big. It’s a good place to raise a family., “Now divorced, he has a 28-year-old daughter Amy living in San Diego and 18 year old Cari, who recently graduated from Johansen High School.

Although he says he enjoys his job, there is one thing he has never got use to. It’s the hours. In order to get to work on time, he has to get up at 3:45 AM although he don’t get to bed before 11:00 PM. But he takes naps in the afternoon.

Following a few hours of morning production time, he usually out of the office by noon, “unless a golf match breaks out.” Then he tries to leave a bit early. Golf, which he plays about twice week, and tennis are among his favorite activities. He also plays senior league softball on Thursday nights.

“l am pretty much a home body but I don’t do any cooking. My weakness is fast food restaurants, although I try to stay active and watch my cholesterol.

St. Martin says he’s never given and serious thought to retiring. “I know the day will come but I’m not prepared for it now. Who knows? Maybe I’ll take up fishing.

(Courtesy of ZORCH magazine, Bill Slayter publisher)

 

Bob DeLeon receives MAMA’s Lifetime Award

The Modesto Area Music Association super MAMA 2011 lifetime achievement award was presented to former Modesto DJ, musician and Modesto Radio Museum board member Bob DeLeon. The presentation was made at ceremonies held at the DoubleTree hotel ballroom on October 13, 2011.

The award was presented by KFIV’s Rick Myers. Among his remarks he said DeLeon could have been one of the characters in the American Graffiti film created by Modesto native George Lucas in 1962. The film was inspired by groups of young people, like DeLeon and Lucas, who cruised 10th and 11th streets in downtown Modesto in the fifties and sixties.

Bob, accepting his Lifetime Achievement Award at the MAMAS.

DeLeon began his career in 1959 playing keyboard with the Kent Whitt and the Downbeats band, all fellow students at Modesto high school. The band a stopped performing in 1963, but not until they had performed in a USO tour for troops in Alaska and Asia. The band spent 3 1/2 months touring Vietnam, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, and the Philippines before the breakup started with DeLeon and other members of the band being drafted into military service.

DeLeon, in his remarks, said he made numerous friends while playing with the band, one in particular, a young lady named Ronie, who eventually became his wife.

DeLeon fondly remembers the fifties and sixties and enjoying cruising up and down 10 and 11th streets in downtown Modesto with his friends. After finishing his military commitment, DeLeon became interested in the broadcasting business.

Bob doing his show at a remote location. Remotes drew big crowds. Have Turntables, Will Travel.

After obtaining a broadcast/operator license in Los Angeles, he returned to Modesto in 1963 and started working at KLOC radio station in Ceres, which had just been put on the air by country musician and media mogul Chester Smith. A few months later, he landed a position at KFIV as an on-the-air personality staying until 1972.

DeLeon moved on to KTRB  before eventually making his way into the real estate business working his way up to Vice President of sales and training for Century 21 M&M and Associates Realty in Modesto.

In front of K-5, 1972. Bob is second from the left.

In 2004 DeLeon, and several other veteran radio personalities in the Modesto area, formed the Modesto Radio Museum group dedicated to preserving the history of local radio broadcasting.

At 69, DeLeon lives in Modesto with his wife of 46 years Ronie. They have one daughter and one grandson.

 

Congratulations Bob!

Video:  Watch Bob’s acceptance speech .Derek video clip of Solid Gold radio show.

KFIV Personality Tom Romano

Tom was born and raised in Modesto, California. He played in rock bands from high school on! This love of music led him into radio as a DJ: First in Modesto at KFIV and KTRB, then in

Sacramento at KCRA, KWOD and KXOA. Tom was hired at KCRA to do mid-days with his “Italian Love” radio show. He also produced jingles and sound tracks for KCRA TV programming. During that time Tom was involved in some of the first music videos with a group called Biplane. He also managed the Moon Recording Studios.

In 1988 Tom was hired by San Francisco’s KNBR 680, radio home of the San Francisco Giants and Golden State Warriors as an air talent and Director of Creative Services. In 1997 Tom joined KFBK, KGBY, and KHYL as Director of Creative Services and fill-in air talent. Most recently Tom was added to the air staff of Classic 93.1. Tom said “I am very happy to back on the air playing the Classic hits of the 70’s and 80’s. Great station, great people!”

Tom’s Favorite hobbies: Playing guitar, sailing his Hobie Cat catamaran, going to Huey Lewis, Eagle’s and Fleetwood Mac concerts, Sacramento Kings basketball games, and hanging out with his beautiful wife Stephanie and two great daughters Sara and Amanda. He has also been a synchronized swimming judge and the voice of the Cordova Cordettes every summer for the past .

 

 

 

Derek video clip of Solid Gold radio show.

KFIV Personality Bob Malik

Bob Malik is a former Modesto resident and KFIV radio personality. After leaving Modesto Bob had a successful radio career. He now lives with his family in Southern California. Bob has just the thing you need on Sunday afternoons. Join him on KRVR, 105.5. If you’re out of the area you can stream it. THE BEATLE YEARS (4pm, Sundays).

  Bob  was recently asked to provide a short bio for the Modesto, CA Central Catholic High School (CCHS) Alumni Magazine. He has graciously given us permission to use it on The Modesto Radio Museum site.)

-0-
By Bob Malik 
Bob Malik, from Modesto to Major Market fame!
It was tough trying to condense a 47 year career into a page. But, here goes.
I began my career in radio shortly after graduating from Central Catholic High School in 1971— It was Central’s 2nd
graduating class.
During my senior year I had garnered enough school credits to earn a half day school schedule. I would leave Central around noon, and drive to Modesto Junior College, where I was taking Radio classes.
In the summer of 1971, I went to a broadcasting prep school in Huntington Beach, Ca. Shortly after returning to Modesto in the fall, I got my 1st radio job. I was hired by Program Director John Chappell to be the weekend DJ at KFIV.
It proved to be a critically important opportunity. The supportive staff at the station included my Central Catholic High School classmate and friend, Chet Haberle. That positive environment only served to inspire me to pursue this path.
From there, I worked at radio stations in Sacramento, San Diego and San Francisco, where I was fortunate enough to become Program Director at K-101. I found myself in the unlikely situation of advising the people I grew up listening to how to do their jobs. That was something I really hadn’t anticipated. But, it turned out to be a winning team. We were able to take the station to #1. I also spent a few  years at the radio station many of us listened to in high school— KFRC.
In 2001, I was offered a job as News Director at CBS Radio’s flagship station in Los Angeles— one year after I had retired from radio. And, that offer came from someone I had hired— 20 years earlier. I would end up staying at K-EARTH for a dozen years.
In 2004, I began hosting a nationally syndicated radio program called The Beatle Years. Which would eventually lead to an interview with Ringo Starr.
In 2015, I got a phone call from Capitol Records. Ringo Starr was about to release his new album, “Postcards From Paradise”. His rep said Ringo had heard The Beatle Years, and they wanted to know if I would be interested  in doing an interview. I told him- I would think about it….Just kidding!
Ringo Starr and The Radio Star!
After I got up off the floor, I said “Are you serious?” “Of course I want to interview Ringo!”. I met the drummer inside the Capitol Records building in Hollywood. Was it all a bit surreal? Yes, it sure was!
The Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan show on February 9, 1964. Less than 80 days after the assassination of President Kennedy. That performance was a pivotal moment in American pop culture. It pulled this nation out of a deep depression. We went from black and white—to color. Overnight.
Even though Ringo Starr was one of those 4 guys who changed the world—he was very kind, unassuming —and, well… shorter than I expected. He wanted to talk more about his new album instead of The Beatles. However, I did get a few questions answered about the band. And, I sure didn’t expect to ever see him again.
But, last summer they called again —with an invitation to Ringo’s 77th birthday party on July 7th.  Yes, he turned 77 on 7/7.  I was able to sit down for another one-on-one with him. This time, he answered all of the Beatle questions I wanted to ask. My final question: “How would you like to be remembered, Ringo?”—-His answer?  “I’d like to be remembered .… as being taller”
When the interview was over—he said, “Come here, brother” and gave me a hug. It was an unforgettable day.
My advice to current CCHS students:  Discover what you truly love. Then, pursue your dream. It will make your career so much easier—and, more meaningful. And, pass along the inspiration you’ve received from others. (Who knows– you may run into someone you haven’t heard from…in 20 years!)

News Delivery

How News Was Delivered  to radio stations
Anyone who worked in radio or TV stations prior to the computer and satellite era,  which began in the early ’80s,  will remember how the news they delivered on-the-air reached them. The gathering and reporting of the news by radio has come a long ways since the beginning of broadcasting.
In the “old days” the news,  supplied by reporters around the world,  was fed to radio stations around the country primarily by telephone data and voice lines  (teletype machines and voice networks.).  Many stations were affiliated with a major network like NBC, CBS, ABC, & Mutual, to name a few, which was delivered by a newsreaders over network lines.
Additionally, stations received news via teletype networks including United Press and Associated Press  and local news copy which was prepared and delivered from local stations as depicted in the photos below of the KTRB  newsroom in the  60’s.
Today,  satellites have become the transport method and computers greatly assist the newsreaders delivering the news on-the-air.

OGDEN’S – Bob Lang Remembers

By Bob Lang 

Bob Lang

After four years of college, it was time to leave the scholastic existence where your reward was your grade and your entitlement was time off at the end of the semester. Things were about to get tough. The expectation was now to become a productive member of society. All I ever wanted was to become a radio disc jockey; not much of an ambition for a college grad. I also didn’t have much of a plan on how to get there.

My friend and media classmate, Tony Rossi, was making arrangements to attend William B. Ogden’s Radio Operational Engineering School, or R.O.E.S., to get his first class Radiotelephone Operators License, a requirement at the time for entering the broadcast profession. He suggested we could attend together. Suddenly, quite suddenly as I recall, I had more than the formal education and the creative desire, I had direction. I discussed my extended education with my folks and got their financial support.

Actually, there were three of us. Tony had made the same suggestion to a neighborhood chum from his Marin County home in Kentfield. Bruce Badaracco had less direction and ambition than I, but worse, practically no support or  encouragement. He’d been part of the local drug scene and had a young man’s aimless existence until Tony set the spark. Bruce wasn’t necessarily interested in a radio career, but saw this as an opportunity to receive a license that might lead to a position with a utility company or a railroad. Tony saw it as an opportunity for Bruce to get some respect from his family and some much-needed self-esteem.

So, that spring after a few months of downtime, I loaded up my Volkswagen bus with my summer clothes, a 12-string guitar, and a tin of Grandma Hood’s chocolate chip cookies. I drove south to Huntington Beach on the Southern California coast and to 5075 Warner Avenue.

Radio Operational Engineering School

R.O.E.S. was a two story building just inland from a main drag called Bolsa Chica. It had classrooms and offices on the first floor and three large dormitory rooms upstairs with bunk-beds and armoire-type closets that would become our home for the summer weeks to come. The organization was family-run. It was Bill Ogden’s business, but he confined his role to that of instructor. His wife Tally was the office manager and registrar, assisted by her sister Thora McDonald. As tough as Bill seemed, the ladies were sweet and attentive, even motherly.

Tony, Bruce, and I registered with about 45 others, all male, on April Fools Day in 1969. We attended school in the large open downstairs classroom led by Bill, a gruff old guy with a raspy voice who taught us from 8:00 to 5:00 every weekday. Following dinner, we were back in the classroom for three hours of lots and lots of math taught by Thora’s son, Jim, another relative who worked there in the evenings. Then we were off to independent or group study in one of the smaller rooms around the inner edge of the building. We had Sunday nights off and used it to relax and to catch up on our laundry.

The length of time spent at Ogden’s would depend on the individual student. We would study, learn, and test at our own pace specifically in preparation for the series of Federal Communications Commission licenses. Some of us already had our third class tickets which we received, for example, to work on our college radio stations (I’d even applied for and received a fourth class license when I was in high school which was more like the equivalent of passing a written DMV exam; it got me a wallet card and a bit of cachet with my weekend dates). The biggest hurdle we faced would be acquiring the second class license, the one requiring all the math and electrical theory. But the payoff was in the golden “first phone,” the one with the professional prestige. The first was anticlimactic –

much easier to achieve than the second – and, when asked why we couldn’t just stop there and go find a job, Bill would grumble, “Nothing is lower than a second class operator.”

I had purchased a spiral notebook for taking notes. It had a three-month calendar in the inside front cover. The class notes are long gone, but I kept the cardboard cover as a souvenir because I’d made an entry on nearly every date related to something that happened that day. The meaning of many of the notes have become obscure over time, such as “how to sharpen pencils” or “birds nest soup.” Others made reference to what we learned that day, including two consecutive days on electrical resistance, or dates that tests were scheduled to be given.

The calendar supports my recollection that on the second full day of class, Bill spent much of the day warning us about two inept FCC honcho’s in Los Angeles, J. Lee Smith and Walter Looney. Looney was aptly named and, according to Bill, “didn’t have the brains God gave a tennis ball.”

As soon as that night, I was amazed to find myself studying, and even grasping, calculus. It didn’t take long for any of to realize that Bill was mining each of our potentials to a point where no other instructor had gone before. To many of us, he became “Mr. Ogden.” To others he was the best teacher ever encountered. A sign on the wall behind his desk stated, “In ‘Ogd’ We Trust.” And, very quickly, we did.

The Classroom

Smokers were on one side of the room, non-smokers on the other as if the smoke was actually going to stay in the air on its own side. The school provided black ashtrays with bowls that could be raised to allow butts and ash to fall inside and smother. Bill was a chain smoker and he sat in front of the room behind a desk on an elevated platform. He’d light one Salem with the last before snuffing it out. His short-sleeved shirts all had tiny burn holes down the front.

I sat in the back row next to Dirk Raaphorst. Dirk had what we all admired as a great set of pipes. He possessed a natural, deep, booming, rock ‘n’ roll voice and was clearly bound to become a terrific Top 40 jock. Dirk had chosen the air name “Dirk Donovan” and was always talking up imaginary record introductions in his announcer’s snappy patter. One day Dirk brought the class to hysterics with, “Tune in again next week, boys and girls, when the Safety Story Lady takes a Pepsi-Cola douche!”

On the bulletin board at the front of the classroom was a crest, undoubtedly made and presented as a gift to Bill by a former student, bearing the initials “O.I.C.” We were fairly certain it stood for Ogden’s something or another, but could only speculate as to what it might actually mean, and Bill wasn’t letting on. During one particularly frustrating explanation of Ohm’s Law, some poor moax struggling with the concept had – no pun intended – a light bulb moment. He’d gotten it and blurted out, “Oh, I see!” Bill jumped from behind his desk and pointed to the crest on the wall!

Someone would invariably ask Bill what he thought were the most important things to remember in preparing for an FCC exam. “If you must remember it,” he’d say, “forget it.” He would also admonish us not to become “dirty memorizers,” memorizing, for example, the order of test answers rather than learning the material. When taking a test, he would tell us to answer all of the questions where we knew the answer cold and to skip the ones we weren’t sure of. Then he’d tell us to go back and count the questions we had left over. Out of 100 questions, if we hadn’t answered 20, all we now had was a short, manageable 20-question test. If I remember correctly, the FCC required a score of 90. Bill wouldn’t allow us to take their exam until we could pass his with a score of 95.

In explaining the dynamics of electricity, invariably a student would confuse current and voltage. He would innocently ask what might happen if the voltage were to go in this direction or that way. Bill would stop him cold. “Voltage goes nowhere,” he’d bellow! I’ve heard that same story so often that the incident must have repeated itself in every session.

Every so often, a student would remark that the complexity of the material was driving him crazy. “With you,” Bill would respond, “it’ll be a short putt!” When a student got an answer to a question regarding electrical current wrong, he’d say, “You’ve just blown hell out of another $500 tube.” When someone made a disparaging remark about the FCC, Bill’s response would be, “There’s another fascinating word they’re going to make you eat!” And when we became anxious to make the drive to Los Angeles to take the exam, but he didn’t think we were ready, Bill would discourage us with, “When I yell ‘frog,’ you jump!”

In the mid-morning and mid-afternoon, Bill’s wife Tally would stand at the classroom door with a notepad and wait for Bill to take refreshment orders. She and Thora would brew coffee and tea and prepare the cart. Bill would call a brief halt while we made our choices. “Coffees – get’ em high” he’d bark in his raspy voice, and Tally would count those of us with our hands raised, then he’d follow with hot tea and iced tea. The other anticipated event of the day was mail call when he’d pass out letters from home. Most of us had gotten so good at mimicking his voice that on at least one occasion someone yelled “mail call” from the lobby and the entire student body marched out of their study rooms.

Warner Avenue

Warner Avenue was a good-sized boulevard in the late ‘60s, but still had a rural, open feel. To the east of the school was Meadowlark Field, a private airfield from which novice pilots would infrequently taxi toward the school, but lift off a bit late, roaring over the building and sending Bill’s students to the floor. Bill would sit undaunted, however, used to this occasional commotion. The airport also had a breakfast and lunch counter and a short order cook who whipped up some dandy ham and eggs whenever we wanted something substantial to begin our day. Across the street was a liquor store where we all bought our cigarettes.

To the west at the corner of a strip shopping area was Jam’s Doughnuts. Jam was an Asian lady who owned the place and hired local high school girls to work the counter. One pretty waitress would save a custard-filled chocolate doughnut bar for me in case I’d go in. When I found that out, I went in more often. The girls were all friends with one another and spent their off hours at Jam’s too, maybe because there were lots of single guys from our school two buildings away. All of the surfer girls in the area seemed to drive 1962 Chevy Impalas and, being close to the Southern California coast and the Pacific Ocean, they all had blonde hair, bronze skin, bare feet, and beautiful reveals.

Between the school and Jam’s was an evening hangout for those requiring a more manly diversion. The Maple Room was a dark rustic saloon with an L-shaped bar and three or four pool tables under rectangular faux stained glass light fixtures. From the previous class was a hold-over; a young, thin, handsome lad with an Elvis-type mane known only as “Star” who clearly was the pool champ of the establishment. No doubt he was a hold-over from the previous class because he spent more time behind a cue than he did behind a school desk. The girls in the Maple Room were unlike those at Jam’s. They wore denim, had short, mousy hair, thin lips, and smelled like a Coors. A more sophisticated array of females could be found around the corner at the Roman Scandals, a classier watering hole, but with a brighter, more open ambiance and slightly less personality.

Among the several other interesting personalities at R.O.E.S. were two of my favorites: Tom Irwin and Tom Lowe. Tom Irwin was arguably Ogden’s most successful graduate and went on to have probably the longest radio industry tenure of all. He became Shotgun Tom Kelly, a popular rock jock in the Drake Chenault mold and a mainstay at KCBQ in San Diego where he’s occupied the time slot once held by the Real Don Steele for several years and presently at K-Earth radio in Los Angeles. Tom was, and is, easily among the most energetic and captivating of all radio guys I ever encountered.

Bill Ogden had the habit of standing in front of you with his legs slightly spread and his hands behind his back. As he conversed with you, he’d sway from side to side. Tom picked up the habit and I have a vivid memory of watching the two of them standing out in the parking lot behind the school having a discussion. They stood face-to-face and had become so engrossed in their conversation that neither realized that the dance had begun and that they were swaying in unison.

Tom Lowe, on the other hand, was interested in becoming a technical engineer. An engaging character and tremendously likeable, Tom had a learning disability and was having trouble getting through the Ogden sessions. He was from Ridgecrest and had spent more time at Ogden’s than anyone, something like four class sessions. I’m not entirely sure when he might have made it out, but Bill guaranteed that he’d work with anyone who enrolled at the same initial price for as long as it took.

Tom was part classmate, part mascot, and part unofficial employee (as so often happens, Tom became comfortable in the “home” he’d found at Ogden’s and came to regard his existence there as a job). Bill had given him the keys to the various rooms with the assignment to see that the place was locked up and secure each evening.

Tom was so playful and off-the-wall that it would have been difficult not to find him appealing. A few of us, including Jack Combs, another colorful character that I spent much time with, would take a willing Tom next door to the Maple Room where we shared pitchers of beer until Tom was loosened up. Jack would eventually begin to question him about his experiences with girls, but Tom would have none of that. “Frequency modulated broads,” according to Tom, were too much of a distraction.

As immersed as we were in our studies, we were mostly 20-somethings with an additional need to kick back. Occasionally, some of us would drive down to the beach at dusk with our guitars to make a bit of music or share radio dreams as we enjoyed the sunset and the phosphorescent waves breaking on the sand. For others, a trip to Tijuana across the Mexican border for some well-planned over-consumption usually resulted in a visit to more than just one strip club and perhaps, as in Larry McLeod’s case, a tattoo parlor. He remembered little of the actual experience, but seemed to walk quite slowly for the following two or three days.

Bob Lang at KTRB in Modesto, CA.
Graduation

The first of us, Rich Corgiat who had left his wife at home and was much more focused, successfully reached his goal within a mere four weeks. A few more were out after five or six. Pretty soon we were dwindling at the rate of three or four each week. I managed to keep up despite my struggles with math, but seemed to plateau before I was able to take the test for my second class license. While I was stalled, others were preparing for their first class exam. I watched Tony, then Bruce, and the others I’d shared a classroom with launch their careers and I began to feel anxious and inadequate.

My trip to the FCC to take my second class test occurred later than most of the others. Bill’s ritual was to meet with those who would be driving to Los Angeles early the following morning and give them parting instructions. We would be given scratch paper for our calculations, he’d tell us, but we were expected to turn those notes in with the tests themselves. We were to make sure they were neat, precise, and indicated that the answers were well thought out. We then lined up and Bill would present each of us with a gold pencil for taking the test and a final word of encouragement. In my case it was simply, “Give ‘em hell!” Bruce’s goal was to complete the exam with his pencil, but without having a need to use the eraser. I recall that he did.   kept that gold pencil for several years and I would bet that there are some that exist even today.

Within a few days I received notification that I had passed my second class FCC exam. The big hurdle was behind me, but I had a deadline looming that I wasn’t sure I’d make. In mid-summer, I was to be best man at the wedding of one of my oldest friends, an event I simply couldn’t and wouldn’t refuse. I discussed my options with Bill who was not comfortable that I’d pass my first class exam in the short time remaining. He wasn’t yelling “frog,” and I’d learned very well not to jump until he did. Bill convinced me to hold off until after the wedding, then come back and join the following class session to finish up. I certainly didn’t want to be a hold-over, but fortunately the delay would only be a couple of weeks.

Jack had been struggling hard with his second class test scores and would also be returning following the brief hiatus. Bill wasn’t letting him loose until he felt Jack was ready. Somehow I made it down to meet him at his brother’s place and the two of us hitch-hiked the rest of the way to Huntington Beach. Tom Lowe was back too, with his keys to the building. But this was a new class session with new students in the classroom, again with the smokers on one side and the non-smokers on the other. One of them was Derek Waring, perhaps the most naturally talented radio guy I’ve ever met. He wasn’t a rock jock in the style of Shotgun Tom, but had an easy, natural style that I admired and hoped to develop.

I took my final test right around the time Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon. That was on July 20th, the day before my 23rd birthday. That next evening, I stood alone near the cinder block wall that separated Ogden’s from the Maple Room parking lot and stared up at the near-full moon. It was a stunning moment for me to realize that, although I couldn’t actually see them, there were two men walking around on the moon’s surface. I was witnessing an historic event that I sensed was ushering in a new era and realized that I was about to enter my own new age of existence. A few days later, I would be headed home with my first class ticket to begin looking for work.

Post-Ogden

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