KOQ, KXD – First Non Commercial Radio Stations in Modesto, CA

 By George Stevans & Bob Pinheiro

There were two non-commercial (entertainment) broadcast stations in Modesto in 1922, both of which apparently operated for about six or seven months before shutting down .  KOQ, was owned by the Modesto Evening News and KXD by the  Herald Publishing Company of Modesto. Both operated on 833 kilocycles as Class E stations (Entertainment stations) and were required to share the frequency.

There were three frequencies available in early 1922 and they were 619 Kc’s (weather and crop reports only), 833 Kc’s (Entertainment stations) and a few stations on 1363 kHz. Later, there was “frequency jumping”, forcing the Department of Commerce to issue further discrete frequencies, still leaving a number of stations on 833 Kc’s.

The two Modesto stations did not show up on any further Department of Commerce Official lists or  the Federal Radio Commission (FRC) which came into being in 1928.

Effective December 1, 1921, the Commerce Department, which regulated radio communication at that time, formally established a broadcasting service category. This new standard required stations to hold a Limited Commercial license that authorized operation on two designated broadcasting wavelengths: 360 meters (833 kHz) for “entertainment”, and 485 meters (619 kHz) for “market and weather reports”.

Gould Light Man store in Stockton home of KJQ in 1921. Photo courtesy of Glenn Pitts.

On December 20, 1921 a broadcasting station license with the randomly assigned call letters  KJQ  was issued to C. O. Gould at 615 East Main Street in Stockton, California, for operation on 360 meters.

Initially the 360 meter wavelength was the only “entertainment”  frequency available, so stations within various regions had to create time sharing agreements to assign individual operating slots.  By November 1, 1922 there were seven so called  “Inland Stations” sharing time on 360 meters.

In early 1924 the Department of Commerce reported that KJQ had been reassigned to 1100 kHz.  However, contemporary reports continued to list the station as transmitting on 360 meters, sharing time with Stockton’s other radio station, KWG.   KJQ eventually suspended operations and was deleted in April 1925.