Derek began his radio career at KSRT in Tracy. He then worked at KFIV and KTRB in Modesto, CA and at KJOY in Stockton, CA. Derek worked full time in radio from 1969 to 1974 before going back to college. He worked 22 years for Valley Mountain Regional Center in Modesto as a Program Manager and then 17 years at Modesto Junior College (MJC) where he was the Dean for Special Programs and the Dean of Counseling and Student Services.
Derek retired from full time work at MJC in 2010 but still works as a licensed clinical therapist providing mental health services to students through the MJC Health Services Office. He is a member of the Modesto Radio Museum and administers the Modesto Radio Museum’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages. He is also a contributing author to the Modesto Radio Museum Website.
Here are airchecks from Derek’s radio days:
KFIV – Derek on The Rockin’ 136, K5 from 1969
KTRB- From Derek’s last show in November of 1974
KFIV – Derek continued to work part time for many years hosting Solid Gold Saturday Night in 1984
Mike is a Modesto boy who began his radio career at KOSO in Patterson, CA. in 1974. He was 17 years old. At that time Mike said he was playing “elevator music.” That didn’t last long because Mike had the urge to ROCK and in 1974 at the age of 18 Mike was hired by Larry Maher at KFIV, Modesto, CA. And from there Mike was on his way. He worked numerous stations in California and across the nation.
Here are a few of the stations Mike has worked for: KXOA, KHYL Magic 101, Cool 101, KROY, KSEG, KSFM, KNDE in Sacramento, CA; KBEE, KFIV in Modesto, CA; KOSO in Patterson, CA; KXXR in Kansas City, MO; KLUC in Las Vegas, NV and KOWL in South Lake Tahoe, CA.
Mike’s last air shift was in 2007 at Magic 101 in Sacramento. He is now employed as an Information Technology Specialist for California’s Office Systems Integration.
Here’s a clip of Mike’s velvet sounds at Magic 101 in Sacramento (2001):
John Chappell’s radio career began at KSRT in Tracy. He then worked at KCEY in Turlock and was Program Director at KFIV in Modesto, CA. Following KFIV John had a 36-year career at Modesto Junior College as Telecommunications Systems Manager and was a part-time radio instructor. He was instrumental in launching the radio careers of a number of successful radio personalities.
John died unexpectedly in his sleep June 20, 2020 of natural causes. He was 71 years old.
Terry Nelson is from Modesto, CA. His radio career began at KFIV (K5), Modesto. Bob De Leon recalls meeting Terry for the first time. When he first started at K5, Bob was working on the air from 8:00pm to 1:00am. K5 used to sign off at 1:00am, and come back on the air at 6:00am. Within the year, they went to 24 hours a day programing, so Bob’s shift was from 8:00pm – 12 midnight, and a brand new DJ by the name of Terry Nelson started working from 12 midnight to 6:00am. Gary Culver, Program Director, asked Bob to assist the “new” DJ in getting used to the equipment and familiar with station’s operations. Bob describes Terry as being one of the wittiest and funniest people he had met! Not only that, he had an infectious laugh. Bob said when he was listening to Terry’s show and Terry started laughing, he would start laughing too, it was unavoidable. Bob has many stories about Terry Nelson and their experiences at K5, but he sums it up by repeating what everyone who has known Terry says, he was a super talented air personality…a good, honest, fun-filled friend.
After KFIV Terry graced the air at many stations with his infectious laugh and impeccable timing. He did stints at KJOY, KROY, KRAK, KXOA, KHYL, KCTC, KFI and KFRC in California and WXLO in New York.
Terry passed away unexpectedly but peacefully at home on May 26, 2020.
Last time we featured the RCA 44 series of high fidelity ribbon microphones
which were the “top of the line” in their day. Radio Corporation of America was in the business of making money…so the audio division decided to design a less expensive version of their very successful model 44 that would appeal to a wider segment of the audio industry.
Somewhere around the middle 1930s RCA came out with the model 74 ribbon mike (microphone) …it was nicknamed the “Junior Velocity” Velocity is another term used to describe a ribbon microphone. This refers to the way in which a ribbon mike picks up sound…by the velocity or speed of air particles pushed by sound waves toward the mike.
The Jr. Velocity was a junior in size compared to it’s big brother. It was about half the size as well as being much lighter weight. The model 74 did not have quite the extended frequency response…or fidelity of the model 44 series….but it still was a very good sounding mike. It also did not have the rubber shock absorber or forked mounting of the 44. It had a unique ball and socket type stand mounting that allowed the mike to be tilted up or down toward the sound being picked up.
RCA’s Model 74B came out somewhere in the late 30s and was very popular. It was manufactured until, I believe, about 1950. The first 74B’s had a shiny chrome windscreen with a black bottom and then in the 1940s RCA changed the wind screen to a brushed chrome and the color of the bottom part to what they called “umber gray”. Umber gray looked more like brown to most people! The change in color scheme was necessary for television as they didn’t want shiny parts becoming a “glint” in the camera’s eye.
The model 74B cost less than half of it’s big brother the model 44. This mike was very popular with smaller radio stations, but even many larger stations used them especially for announcing and for indoor remote broadcasts because of their small size and light weight. The 74 was very much used on PA systems, too, due to it’s lower cost. Even though the quality of sound did not quite match the model 44…the Junior ribbon still had the smooth, clean sound typical of a ribbon mike.
Radio stations in the local area that used the RCA Junior Velocity included KBEE, KFIV, Modesto Jr. College radio and KYOS. The McClatchy stations like KFBK, Sacramento and KMJ, Fresno also used the 74B.
Around 1950 RCA replaced the 74B with the KB2 “Bantam Velocity”. This mike was much smaller than any previous ribbon mike. The Bantam used much stronger magnet material that came out of WWII…this allowed the smaller size. The actual case of the mike was part of the pole piece of the ribbon magnet. Another name for the KB2 was “paint brush” because it had a built-in handle that made it look very much like a small paint brush. Inside the handle, under a cover piece, was an “XL” type connector. The “XL” connector was made by Cannon Electric Co. of Los Angeles which would later bring out the “XLR” connector that everyone knows today. RCA claimed that they commissioned Cannon to make the “XL” connector especially for the KB2 series of mikes.
In about 1954 RCA replaced the KB2 with the SK-46…this also was a relatively small size ribbon microphone that RCA continued to manufacture until they stopped making mikes. For more information on these mikes go to “www.coutant.org”,
RCA brought out one more bi-directional ribbon mike before they went out of the broadcast audio business. Actually this mike, the BK-11, was to replace the 44BX. It is about the same size as the Junior Velocity but with a more curved, modernistic shape, it also has a swivel mounting on the bottom. The BK-11 is an excellent quality mike like the 44BX. This mike is still seen once in a while on Ebay but I don’t think RCA sold as many of the BK-11 as compared to the model 44s and 74bs…which are seen all the time on Ebay. Until next time…this is Mr. Microphone signing off for now!
Abel Pulido, a Latin radio host, and famed entertainer for nearly four decades, passed away November 17, 1992. He was 80. Mr. Pulido was best-known as the host for many Spanish-language music programs on several radio stations in the San Joaquin Valley. He also performed in vaudeville shows.
In addition, Mr. Pulido owned and operated Frank’s Marketon South Ninth Street in Modesto and helped with his wife’s restaurant business, Abel & Lupe’s Café, next door. The restaurant was well-known for its authentic Mexican dishes, and was popular with local patrons.
He began his broadcasting career in 1945, working for KCEY, Turlock, and continuing on KMOD, Modesto, which became KFIV, and KTRB, Modesto, for nearly 40 years. He retired in the mid-1980s due to ill health. As a young man, Mr. Pulido performed in vaudeville shows! He played with live mariachi bands, Mexican dance troupes, and big bands.
In addition to his wife Lupe, he is survived by his son, both of Modesto and two grandchildren.
He was a member of St. Stanislaus Catholic Church and President of the Tuolumne School Parent-Teachers Association.
Remembrances were directed to Community Hospice, Visiting Nurses Association and St. Stanislaus Catholic Church, all of Modesto.
Best known for his jazz program that ran on KUOP-FM radio for some 13 years, the famed Mel Williams died May 30, 1999 at Doctors Medical Center in Modesto. His radio career began in 1974 with a one-hour program on KHOP in Modesto. He was 69.
Williams, a wise and well-respected member of the Modesto community, was familiar to radio audiences for nearly a quarter-century as a genial program host who offered up mellow sounds and insight commentary drawn from his encyclopedic knowledge of music. In addition, Mr. Williams was an accomplished musician.
He retired in 1992 from the city of Modesto, after having served mostly as a supervisor in office services. He is credited with establishing the Sickle Cell Anemia Program, which tested 11,000 people in 18 years and which was funded through jazz benefits. He also created the Mel Williams Physical Fitness Program, which began with a few persons in his back yard and later was offered at Modesto Junior College. The program grew from 10 youngsters to more than 100 of all nationalities
Every Friday evening for thirteen years, jazz listeners from throughout the valley would tune in at 6 o’clock to hear Williams open his KUOP-FM show with: “Good evening, my wonderful listening audience…this is the world of Mel Williams.” In a 1990 interview, he said: “Music is my first love, and it will probably be my last.
Mr. Williams is survived by his children: Monte Williams and Morris Williams, both of Modesto, Mel Williams of Ohio, Mike Williams of San Jose and Marcus Williams of Virginia. Marcus continued in his father’s footsteps and enjoyed success as an area radio personality. Mel also leaves behind nine grandchildren.
Russell Bryan Pope, a pioneer in radio and television, died on May 2, 2012 in Berry Creek, Calif., he was 95.
Mr. Pope was the long time Director of Engineering for Golden Empire Broadcasting Co., owned for several decades by the McClung family. The company owned KHSL-AM and TV in Chico. He retired in 1995 after 54 years with the company. He was the company’s President and Director of Engineering when he stepped down.
Even after his retirement, Russell continued to do consulting work for the company that purchased KHSL-TV in Chico. He was well known across the country in the industry as a top notch engineering mind. Mr. Pope served as an active member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers and the National Association of Broadcasters, having chaired the NAB conference committee four times; and the Satellite Frequency Coordination Committee.
The McClung family, at one time, owned or had part interest in several radio stations stringing from Longview, Washington to Redding, Chico, Watsonville and Merced in California. Russell Pope was head of engineering for all these stations.
The Merced station, KYOS, went on the air in 1936 and was owned by the McClung’s until 1953. Mr. Pope coordinated the effort to increase the power of KYOS to 5,000 watts and move to 1480 KCs in the late 40s. The station, up to that time, had been a low power 250 watt station on 1040 KHz. He designed the complex directional antenna system utilizing 3 towers that aimed KYOS’s night time power to the west protecting other radio stations on the same frequency to the east of California. The transmitter location remained at the same place some 9 miles north of Merced on Old Lake Rd. near Yosemite Lake until 2017 when the building was leveled and the station move to a new transmitting site.
The McClung’s decided in 1953, with Mr. Pope’s encouragement, to take the plunge into television by building KHSL-TV channel 12 in Chico. Mr. Pope completely rebuilt the transmitter plants and increased the power for two other McClung owned stations, KHSL-AM in Chico and KVCV-AM in Redding. He also built some of the first FM stations in California in the late 40s at Merced, Chico and Redding.
I worked under and with Russell Pope for over 30 years at KHSL-AM and KHSL-TV in Chico. He had a keen engineering mind and was a very kind and good man. Much of the information in this article came from my years of knowing and working with Russell and from his telling the many stories of his long and varied career.
He is survived by two sons, a daughter and by 7 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren. He married Forest Helen Moore in 1941 in South Pasadena, CA. She died in 1997. He is survived by their children: Ron Pope of Normal, IL, Kathy Main of Chico, CA;…
His two sons followed their dad into the electrical engineering field.