Radio Modesto Is Given Tentative Federal Permit







(News archives from September 20, 1949)

The FCC on  August 30th, 1949  granted the Stanislaus County Broadcasters Inc of Modesto, an application (KBOX) to operate on 970 kilocycles, one kilowatt unlimited time, and allowed 40 days for the decision to become final.  This action means Modesto  will have two additional standard radio stations.

Cecil Lynch, who has been in the radio business here for a number of years, will head the Stanislaus County Broadcasters station, which is expected to be in operation around the first of the year. Among the others having an interest in the station are Ralph M. Brown, G. A. M. Lynch and William E. Bacon, all of Modesto.

No date has been announced for the start of broadcasting by Radio Modesto, half of which is owned by John Schacht, formerly of San Mateo and  the balance by Warren Giddings, his brother, Richard, and John E. Griffin of Modesto.

   California’s newest broadcasting radio station is on the air
This was BIG NEWS! The actual day KBOX came on the air


KBOX, California’s newest broadcasting radio station is on the air with daily programming. The station officially began operating November 1, 1951,  with programing from  6:00 AM to 11:00 PM.

(Note: KBOX were the chosen call letters because the owners wanted to capitalize on the well-understood baseball term “Box Seats.”  Their slogan was “Your Box Seat to the Best in Radio!”) The new station is owned and operated by the Stanislaus County Broadcasters, Inc. comprised of local citizens. Stockholders include Cecil Lynch, G.A. M. Lynch, Ralph Brown and Harold Bowen.

The original application for the station was filed with the FCC in 1947 with the final grant for a construction permit following in 1951. The station’s studios are located at 1507 Tenth Street, downtown Modesto, with its transmitter located on Sylvan Rd. near Old Oakdale Rd. in northeast Modesto. The station is to operate on 970 kilocycles with a full time power of 1,000 watts. The station represents in investment of more than $100,000 and is the only standard Modesto radio station maintaining studios apart from its transmitter site.

 In the late 40’s a group seeking to put the third AM station on the air in Modesto applied for a frequency of 1010 Kilocycles and then amended their application for 970 Kilocycles which was granted. The station came on the air on November 1, 1951 with the call letters KBOX.  The group incorporated as Stanislaus County Broadcasters, Inc. and included  Cecil Lynch; Cecil’s dad Mat;  Ralph Brown, a state assemblyman from Modesto and Ralph Bowen an area rancher among others.

The engineer standing is Carl Pendergraft. Seated, Jay Tapp, Cecil Lynch standing next to Jay.

The man in the dark suit is Cecil Lynch’s dad Mat Lynch. Next to him, with the cane, is John Boyer. John was indirectly an innovator of KBOX through his brother-in-law Harold Bowen. Harold is on the ground, next to the jeep. The other man holding the map is Ralph Brown. Brown was a lawyer, and State Assemblyman at that time and an original owner of KBOX.


Newspaper archives dated 2-17-51

The original KBOX 1000-WATT Collins Transmitter.

Construction of a downtown studio, on Tenth near O Street, will start in a few days. It will be of modern architecture. Off-street parking areas will be provided. Transmitter site of KBOX is on the Sylvan Road. There will be three transmitter towers. The station’s signal will come in on 970 on the standard radio dials. Boyer said all necessary equipment and materials have been acquired.

Price Broadcasting Purchases KBEE AM and FM

In the mid-1980s,  John Price Broadcasting Co. of Utah purchased KBEE AM, and sister station KBEE FM from McClatchy Broadcasting of Sacramento. Shortly thereafter the AM station call letters were changed to KHYV (The Hive).  This was a play on words!   The two stations became KBEE and KHYV (K-BEE/HYVE). The  AM station’s programming switched to Classical.  Contributor and listener Floyd Perry, Jr. reported KHYV  dropped the Classical music format on April 18, 1988 and switched to 50’s/60’s/70’s ROCK OLDIES utilizing the Satellite Music Network’s PURE GOLD Rock Oldies Service. They retained the KHYV calls for awhile (even reviving the K-HIVE moniker) until they switched the call letters to  KOOK on August 29, 1988.

KHYV display at a local Home & Garden Show.

Through the years many  call letter and programming changes occurred. KBEE-970 changed calls to KHYV on February 17, 1983. They remained Adult Contemporary but dropped all local programming and utilized Satellite Music Network’s STAR STATION Adult Contemporary Music Service. They identified themselves as “K-HIVE 970”. This remained until 1988.

On April 30, 1985, They switched formats to CLASSICAL MUSIC. Even though they kept the KHYV call, they no longer used the K-HIVE moniker. They were home to “The Modesto Symphony” concerts as well as the syndicated “Metropolitan Opera”. In addition to Classical Music, KHYV continued to broadcast the Oakland A’s baseball games. They advertised as the home to “The Three Classics, BACH, BEETHOVEN AND BASEBALL!”


Remembering The Good Old Days of KTRB & KBOX
By Paul Bennet, McMinnvile, Ore.

My father, Claude D Bennett Sr, worked for KBOX in 1951, the year they came on the air, performing antenna tests and equipment shakedown runs. He was an FCC licensed engineer. With Dad’s association with the station I soon knew everyone and I frequently went to the studio weekday evenings during my high school years.

I frequently would sit in on Chester Smith’s morning programs on KTRB. Those were influential days for a high schooler who was interested in everything and left there with many pleasant memories.

I wish I could remember more about a character named Big Bill, a 300 pound pianist whose band played from a flat-bed truck up/down South Modesto Acres.

I built a powerful piano amplifier for Bill Bates at KTRB which allowed him to overpower the guitars…he was most grateful.

Cecil Lynch hired my dad in 1951 but couldn’t keep him on the payroll as he had no announcing the skills, only technical skills. They needed combo guys who could do everything (announce and have a FCC license).

KTRB epitomized country music back in those days of vacuum tube radios, which took about a minute to warm up before they would start playing.

For several years I had the Modesto Bee paper route on 10th and 11th streets downtown. So, when dad worked on the setup of KBOX, it was easy, at age 13-14, to pop into the KBOX downtown studio/office for several hours.

Radio broadcasters recreated baseball games in their studios from information received by telegraphy transmission (Courtesy of the National Baseball Hall of Fame Library).

I clearly recall sitting in the studio through several ‘re-created’ big league baseball games. That guy was a real professional. He had a homemade desktop gizmo to whack to simulate the ball hitting a bat and had a record with crowd noises they turned the volume up and down for excitement.

There were 3 teletype machines against the back wall and he would have me gather whatever made sense to stretch things out. I can’t remember where he got the game feed. Later, I would take many feet of teletype paper home to read, and compare with the local newspapers. That’s when I learned the difference between Democrat and Republican news media. To slant the news their way, the papers would print the news word for word but simply leave out paragraphs which made their political side look bad.

One last note, I went through the obits on your website and sadly found many household names from the time. People who were a part of our lives, if only through the radio.

Paul Bennett,
McMinnville, Oregon.