Gary has well over a half a century of radio experience. We are fortunate to have him as a contributor to the Modesto Radio Museum. Gary is the museum’s “Microphone Man.” He says that for some reason as a kid he became nuts over microphones and other sound equipment. If it’s microphones you want to know about just click here on Microphone Man and you’re off and running.
We could go on writing about Gary’s broadcasting experience but why do that when he can tell about himself. So, in true radio fashion, here we go: And now ladies and gentlemen the Modesto Radio Museum is proud to present Gary Avey sharing with you, in his own words, the story of his rich and rewarding radio career:
We are fortunate to have an aircheck of one of Gary’s shows courtesy of Gary. In 1961 Gary worked at KFIV (K5) in Modesto, CA. as G. Martin Avey. He was 22 years old. Gary says of the aircheck, “It’s the only one I have from K5. It was recorded on one of the Magnecorder (Maggie) PT-6 reel to reel machines. We had 5 of those machines in the control room. We had no cartridge machines and all local spots (commercials) were recorded on little 3 inch reels and played on the Maggies. It Really kept the jocks busy. Mel Freedman, K5’s engineer was installing the first cart machines on the day I left to join the Navy!” Gary wasn’t in Central California until late in ’57. He says that he believes that must have been when K5 switched to top 40. That must have been the whole reason for the call letter change. The “Top 45 on K5” was the slogan they used when I was on the air. In 1961 K5 was still an ABC Radio affiliate, says Gary (K5 remained an ABC affiliate until the ’70s). We did the ABC news and commentary block in the early evening. They also aired Don McNeil’s Breakfast Club mid mornings!
Gary also tells us, “I think they (K5) took their cue from ABC and their network owned stations like WABC and WLS that had adopted the top 40 format around that time. It sounds a little strange today but even ABC’s owned and operated key stations were still carrying some of the traditional “old-time” radio shows along with the top 40 music.
The voice on most of the local spots you’ll hear was that of Gene D’Accardo who went on to work as the News Director at KNBR in San Francisco. Another note of interest, the voice you will hear in the Burgermeister Beer commercial is Jim Lange who was working at KSFO in San Francisco at the time. Jim Lange later went on to become the host of the popular game show, The Dating Game.
One more treat. In Gary’s own voice, he explains how he came to love microphones, and turned that love into a life long hobby: