The Modesto Area Music Association super MAMA 2011 lifetime achievement award was presented to former Modesto DJ, musician and Modesto Radio Museum board member Bob DeLeon. The presentation was made at ceremonies held at the DoubleTree hotel ballroom on October 13, 2011.
The award, presented by KFIV’s Rick Myers. Among his remarks he said DeLeon could have been one of the characters in the American Graffiti film created by Modesto native George Lucas in 1962. The film was inspired by groups of young people, like DeLeon and Lucas, who cruised 10th and 11th streets in downtown Modesto in the fifties and sixties.
DeLeon began his career in 1959 playing keyboard with the Kent Whitt and the Downbeats band, all fellow students at Modesto high school. The band a stopped performing in 1963, but not until they had performed in a USO tour for troops in Alaska and Asia. The band spent 3 1/2 months touring Vietnam, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, and the Philippines before the breakup started with DeLeon and other members of the band being drafted into military service.
DeLeon, in his remarks, said he made numerous friends while playing with the band, one in particular, a young lady named Ronie, who eventually became his wife.
DeLeon fondly remembers the fifties and sixties and enjoying cruising up and down 10 and 11th streets in downtown Modesto with his friends. After finishing his military commitment, DeLeon became interested in the broadcasting business.
After obtaining a broadcast/operator license in Los Angeles, he returned to Modesto in 1963 and started working at KLOC radio station in Ceres, which had just been put on the air by country musician and media mogul Chester Smith. A few months later, he landed a position at KFIV as an on-the-air personality staying until 1972.
DeLeon moved on to KTRB in the 80’s before eventually making his way into the real estate business working his way up to Vice President of sales and training for Century 21 M&M and Associates Realty in Modesto.
In 2004 DeLeon, and several other veteran radio personalities in the Modesto area, formed the Modesto Radio Museum group dedicated to preserving the history of local radio broadcasting.
At 69, DeLeon lives in Modesto with his wife of 46 years Ronie. They have one daughter and one grandson.