“Tim was a self-described rip-and-read news guy, and every morning on the half hour, he’d deliver the news,” said his former KTRB colleague, Bob Lang, referring to the old teletype machine that brought in The Associated Press news from around the world.
St. Martin died of natural causes at his Modesto home. He had been retired for 11 years from a career that included KTRB, KFIV and a few other stations.
Born on Sept. 1, 1945, in South Gate, Los Angeles County, Timothy Bert St. Martin attended the Don Martin School of Broadcasting in Hollywood. The school was known for launching the mega careers of Don Imus, The Real Don Steele, and Bob Eubanks, along with Modesto-area announcers Roy Williams and Steve Rosetta. Tim’s first job in radio was at KTHO in Lake Tahoe in 1966. He moved to Modesto’s KFIV in 1967 and then to KTRB two years later. A colleague at KTRB was the late Cal Purviance, another local radio legend.
“l hired Tim because of his fine on-air personality and his nose for news,” Purviance said in a 1999 interview archived by the Modesto Radio Museum. “l hired Tim because of his fine on air personality and his nose for news. 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.”
Bob Lang fondly spoke about teaming with St. Martin to write commercials for local advertisers. Some of them featured animal characters, such as Spotty and Prince promoting a pet store.
“He was also in charge of a segment called Community Calendar, which allowed us to banter back and forth about various timely topics,” Lang said.
TWO-YEAR BREAK, THEN RETURN TO KFIV
St. Martin took a break from radio in 1976 to work as an announcer on the rodeo circuit and as a yacht salesman in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
He returned in 1978 to KFIV-AM. He worked in radio sales briefly, then got back into newscasting with both KFIV and sister station, KJSN. From 1988 to 1991 he did the morning news at KOSO-FM. He then became the News Director of KJSN, and was paired in the mornings with Gary Michaels from 1991 to 2004. His career continued with two successful stints with Rob Johnson They did the morning show at KFIV from 2004-2005. Together they moved over to KMPH, known as The Patriot Station. Tim worked there from 2005 thru 2009, where he finished his career.
One of his daughters, Cari St. Martin Walker, shared memories of having “a local celebrity for a dad” in an email to The Modesto Bee.
“He had an incredible sense of humor and a hearty laugh,” she said. “He enjoyed golfing with his buddies, creating adventures for himself, smoking cigars, suntanning and his late dog, Chief. He loved being a grandfather so much. We wish we had the time for him to explore that road further. He will be terribly missed and we loved him very much.”
SUNNY 102.3 COLLEAGUE REMEMBERS LAUGH
Sunny 102.3 colleague Kara Franklyn remembered the St. Martin laugh. “Loud and infectious, it was like a warm blanket,” said she in an email.
But she also noted how St. Martin cared about the finer points of broadcasting.
“There were many a conversation with Tim guiding me on what to say, how to say it,” Franklyn said. “He was very particular about not dropping your G’s when speaking.”
Survivors also include daughter Amy St. Martin Baxter, grandson Graham Walker, son-in-law Jim Walker, sister Jill Padgett and brother-in-law Ronnie Padgett.
A memorial service will wait until the coronavirus emergency is over.
“We hope to get together to trade stories when the world returns to normal,” Cari St. Martin Walker said.