Tony (Townsend) Flores, 71

 

Anthony (Tony) Flores February 10, 1948 – October 15, 2019 Tony Flores, age 71, passed away peacefully in his home after a 23-year fight with CIDP. His wife of 50 years, Linda, and his family surrounded him at his time of parting, sharing all the love they had as a family. Born in Sonora, CA, Tony was the son of Beverly Flores and the late Tony Flores. His sisters Maureen Hamilton and Kathy (Kevin) Gold live in Tuolumne, CA where his family has resided for over 70 years.

He graduated with a AA degree from MJC in Modesto, CA and a BA degree in speech from Stanislaus State in Turlock, CA.

Tony put himself through college as a rock jock at KFIV Radio in Modesto. He was known as Tony the Tiger Townsend. He loved music from the 60’s and 70’s, fast cars from the 60’s and 70’s and riding Honda 90’s and 110’s.

 

Tony was a Mason in Lodge 218 in Livermore. He enjoyed all the men who were so kind to him all the years he belonged to the lodge.

Tony leaves behind his son (Bert Flores), wife Renee, his daughter Kasie Flores (partner Mike Williamson). Also left behind are his 4 grandchildren; Katie, Kayla, Gracie and Ben Flores who were the love of his life. He said his grandchildren made him happy from the inside out. Tony was loved by so many. He fought his disease and always counted his blessing, not his down falls. He was always making people laugh and never let his disease stop him living the very best he could. He will be greatly missed by all who loved him.

RICK MYERS shares some fond memories of Tony’s radio days:

ONE PAGE OF NOTES FROM OGDEN’S.

I met Tony June 26th, 1968.  I know the date because it was the first day of radio school at the William B. Ogden Radio Operational Engineering School (R.O.E.S) in Huntington Beach.   The FCC required that a licensed engineer must always be on duty.   Stations could either pay two people, an engineer and a disc jockey, or find a disc jockey who also had a First-Class FCC License.   All stations chose to save the money, so they only hired announcers with that license.   The problem was simple:  the test to get the license was nearly impossible to pass!   The license was all engineering and all math. 

It was crazy difficult!  The R.O.E.S. was the biggest cram course imaginable.  The hours were 9am to midnight, except on Sundays when class ended at 5pm so you could do laundry.  The material could be learned in six weeks (for brainiacs), but you could stay as long as it took to pass.   One guy took a full year to learn the material!!  The school had a dormitory upstairs; you slept as late as possible, then jumped up and studied all day and into the night.

The Class Photo, tall guys in the back! Left to right, Rick Myers, Frank Azevedo, Lee Kirk, and Tony!  He looks like a surfer dude!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Modesto had a big contingent that Summer; we had six people.   Tony and I were tall, and with a class of 50, we were seated side-by-side in the back row.   All day and all night, it was Tony and me.   We joked a lot, and studied a lot.  Tony took an extra week to get his license; that’s what happens when you cut a few classes to go surfing!   All work and no play?  Who needs it?  Not Tony.

Here’s how playful Tony was.    He was hired at KFIV (K-5) before I was.   His shift was 8pm-midnight.   The Program Director knew Tony and I were friends and he directed me to come in that night and Tony would teach me the equipment, all the knobs, buttons, switches, etc.   So far, so good.   Tony pretty quickly showed me where you adjust the headphone volume, which volume knobs controlled which turntables and the format of the order of the songs.  So far, so good.

Then Tony abruptly said, “Here, you take over.  I’ll be back in about a half-hour.”   With that, he left the studio.   He walked out of the studio!

What????   The on-air record had about 60-seconds remaining.  I froze for a bit, then realized either I take action or the great K-5 would become deadly silent.

I sat in the chair and put on the headphones.  Ouch!  The volume was much too high.   I fumbled to turn that down, but that took some time.   Now, how do I figure out what’s the next song?    Well, we were playing an “A” which meant I next played a “C.”   I went to the “C” pile and put a record from that pile onto the turn table.   I’ve got 10 seconds!!    The song on the air was a new song I had never heard!   I DIDN’T KNOW WHAT IT WAS!!!    I’m rotating my head in the same circular motion as the turntable, my head’s going ‘round and ‘round, trying to read that record label   The artist was “Dion,” OK, but what’s the title???   OH MY GOSH, WHAT ARE THOSE WORDS!  Time’s up, and time waits for no man.    I misread the title, and as it faded away, I opened the mic and said, “K-5, this is Rick Myers in briefly for Tony Townsend and that’s Dion with ‘Abraham, Mark, and John,’” and off I went into the next record.   I was sweating profusely, but I made it, I thought.    The janitor was in the next studio.   He opens the door and practically sneering said, “Hey, Dummy, that’s “Abraham, MARTIN, and John.”    It was that great tribute song to Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, and John Kennedy.   I called Martin Luther King ‘Mark.’

Oh man, was I going to get fired after ONE SENTENCE on the air??   How many thousands of listeners heard that, and now the world knew I’m some kind of idiot, at the end of a seven-second radio career.

Tony had disappeared somewhere in the building.   He came back, laughing uncontrollably at one of the great practical jokes in the history of radio.   The word hadn’t been invented yet, but I got Punk’d by Tony the Tiger….  Eventually I started laughing too.  Somewhere, Tony is still laughing.

Did you ever see the TV show, “Laugh In”?  You can check it out on YouTube.  It aired Monday nights at 9pm.   It swept the nation.  It was everybody’s topic of discussion the next day at work.   It was on the cover of all the magazines.   But Tony never saw it.   He was on the air at the same time.  Video recorders were decades away.  It was like he was the only guy in America who never saw it.   Our listeners were talking about it, but Tony couldn’t relate.    I worked the midnight-six shift and got to work each night around eleven.   Tony couldn’t wait for me to tell him all about it.   I HAD TO TAKE NOTES!   I would retell the “Laugh In’ material, and Tony and I would laugh away that last hour of his show, every Monday night.

Next, maybe his most memorable on-air moment.   A radio studio has excellent speakers and usually they’re cranked up pretty loud.  But, when the microphone switch is turned on, the speakers go silent (the broadcasting term is “they are muted.”).  This prevents that ear-piercing feedback squeal.  The studio goes silent and anybody in the studio knows to go dead silent immediately.    So, one day, Tony is on the air, and in the studio hanging out the way friends do, are fellow jocks, Roy Williams, Terry Nelson, and me.   The camaraderie is strong; we are telling jokes, and trading quips, only to stop, sometimes in mid-sentence, when Tony flipped open the microphone.   All is good, and the show continues, until Tony begins a short newscast.   He reads the first story, then reads, “Meanwhile, in South Lake Tahoe…”. Only Tony says, “Meanwhile, in South Lake TACO.”   He repeats it as a question, “South Lake Taco??   He giggles, and the rest of us burst out laughing.  Guffaws of the highest order are everywhere.  We can’t stop laughing.   It wasn’t good radio, but it sure was funny.   Tony is laughing hardest of all.   He regains control, but then as we are all laughing, and Tony continues to laugh into the microphone, he seizes the moment, and turning comedian into the mic he said, “I meant to say Lake TACO.” We all burst into tears with laughter.  With that, it was time to begin the next record.  

For the rest of our years together, I would only need to say the word “Meanwhile,” and Tony would end, “IN SOUTH LAKE TACO…”