OGDEN’S Radio School

The FCC First Class Radio Telephone (First Phone)  examination was a very difficult test and required many hours of study to pass. The William B. Ogden Radio Operational School (ROES)  was established in 1946 in Burbank, CA. offering a standard course of study lasting over a period of several months.However, at the request of broadcasters,  and to meet the high demand for first class licensed operators, owner Bill Ogden  converted  his standard course  in 1949 to a  concentrated course  (cram course) of 6- 8 weeks,  12-16 hours a day, seven days a week.

Thora, Bill and Tally.

Bill was the main instructor, his wife Tally and her sister Thora ran the office and Major (the collie) offered encouragement.

In 1966 the school moved to Huntington Beach, CA with the first class being held in the summer of that year.  The school continued to operate until 1973 or 1974 when the FCC deregulated license requirements and Bill announced his retirement.

If you are an Ogden grad, please read and sign our guestbook and relive those memorable days at the William B. Ogden Radio Engineering School.

Much of the information here was contributed by  many of the students from across the country who know they were lucky to be a student of William B. Ogden.   We are particularly pleased to locate and contact Bill’s  niece Patty Porter  and  nephew Jim McDonald who contributed information and photo’s of Bill, Tally and Thora.   Thank you very much.

Now sit back and enjoy  this trip and memories of the William B. Ogden Radio Operational school.

The Beginning

By  Jim McDonald

Bill’s nephew Jim McDonald, Huntington Beach, 1958 and 2018

(Bill’s Nephew, Huntington Beach, CA.)

Emma K. Jensen, the matriarchal strength of the Ogden family, brought her three daughters Patricia, Tally and Thora to America from England where she owned and operated successful boarding houses.

Bill was born in Maryland and attended and graduated  from a Military School. He wrote music and poems and became a theater barker where he met Tally.  The daughters entered into a theatrical position with the Rocketts where Bill met Tally.

They entered America via Ellis Island and settled in New York. Emma then pursued her ability to run boarding houses and moved the family to a three-story home in Palisades Park, New Jersey and established another boarding house business.

Bill and Tally did not have children thus his great love of children, which was such a blessing to all of us in the extended family kids.  Bill and Tally married and then he went off to war where he served in the Army signal Corps and taught electronics and was sent to China. Thora the youngest sister was divorced.

Bill’s niece Patty Porter, Olympia, WA.

Emma decided to move us all  to California so we moved to North Hollywood.    Emma bought property in Burbank California and built homes for Tally and Bill, Pat and Steve and the house Thora, Grandma and I lived in.  When Bill and Charles were discharged they found out they should come to California so they did. Pat and Steve began their new adventures,  Pat was involved in private investigations and Steve

(Charles) became a technical  representative for an aircraft / aerospace firm. Bill and Tally were encouraged to use Bill’s great ability for teaching and his electronic  background to find an avenue for a career. Thora and Emma continued to support boarders and child day care.

The inspiration:

Radio Telephone license for repairs made on commercial radio and T.V. transmitters While there  were plenty of skilled few had the required to satisfy the FCC requirement, hence an opportunity for Bill.

When radio and TV stations had announcers that had the required license announcers could gain employment and higher wages if they had this license. He provided a  solution with a class to teach announcers and technicians the required curriculum to obtain it.

FCC (Federal Communications Commission) First Class Radio Telephony license.

He made a proposal to the Don Martin School of Radio and Television Arts and increased the  scope of his program by adding the Fredrick C. Speers School of Radio Arts. They were located in Hollywood and Bill,  with limited funds, bought a Cushman motor scooter and drove to Hollywood from Burbank. This was a big commute in  those days.     With  two accidents on his scooter and great success in the concept, Tally and Bill decided to start their own business. They owned the first R.O.E.S in Burbank in 1949, not the one most people know of on Olive Ave.

R.O.E.S school in Burbank, CA

The first school was an office building two miles away from the Olive Ave School.   They bought the property which consisted of a  house and work shop. Tally and Bill built the new school in the house portion of the property but kept the workshop where Bill built the students desks for the school. The school flourished when they decided to move to Huntington Beach in 1966. This is where they retired in 1973.

Bill still loved work and children and he created bowling leagues for the kids to participate in and made wood workings for the family.

Bill’s Major Surgery:
Houston Medical Center

Bill developed aneurysms on his aortic artery, three to be exact, upper, mid, and lower all of which were a size that could lead to a  rupture which would be catastrophic. His cardiologist suggested the we go to Houston Medical Center and consult with Dr. Crawford  the only surgeon who was doing the lower fix.

We started the journey and met with Dr. Crawford and his 19 teen member team in training and agreed to have the surgery. Crawford was an amazing physician, since I was handling their finances the question of cost came up. His answer was simple whatever the insurance payed was his fee we never. We never received a bill!

The surgery lasted over ten hours  with Bill’s body temperature being lowered to 90 degrees F .  Bill then spent almost 3 months in intensive care recovering from the surgery because they could not get him off the respirator support due to his lung capacity.  Probably caused by his smoking.

Finally we were ready to bring him home from Houston to Huntington Beach. When I went to check him out they printed his medical charges which amounted to  three quarter of an inch of computer paper. Thank God I had a no limit American Express Card.

We were prepared for the worse when we looked at the total charges  a little more than $431,000.  I almost fainted!  Thank God for doctors and medical centers that were truly there to help.

Tally and Thora  stayed at a hotel that connected to the hospital by a walkway for the whole time.  I would fly in every week to be with them and Pat came down to be there for a while also. Now it was white knuckle time for me.

He needed an oxygen tank to get home finding an airline that would allow it was difficult, hats off to American Airlines they allowed all of us to fly home.  Bill and Tally were in first class and Thora and I were in coach so I would go up  frequently and check on them and Mom said to me stop worrying.

I got upset and have to confess that I yelled at an Angel out of nervous frustration.  She was right we made it and Bill recovered for a long time. We found out much later that one of the repairs was not successful which really upset Bill. You could see in him for the first time a lack of fight. While not  being a physician, the lack of fight was probably a influencing factor in his passing.

Bill’s   Statement:

“The accomplishment of the difficult show what men are. You did and you accomplished it.


William Bernard Ogden was born April 18, 1913 and passed away in Huntington Beach, CA on January 24, 1998 at the age of 85. The cause of death was aortic failure following a prolonged surgery at the Houston, TX  Medical Center.

Attalla (Tally) Ogden was born on April 17,1914 and died March 5, 2006 at the age of 92. Cause of death, Cancer.

Thora McDonald  died in November of 1991. The cause of death,  Cancer.

Bill, Tally and  Thora  rest at the Pacific View Memorial Park in Corona Del Mar, CA 9 miles south of Huntington Beach, CA. over looking the Pacific Ocean.

Pacific View Memorial Park in Corona Del Mar, CA.
Bill, Tally and Thora rest at the Pacific View Memorial Park in Corona Del Mar, CA over looking the Pacific Ocean nine miles south of Huntington Beach..
50th wedding anniversary in 1995
1995 cruise . One of 23 they enjoyed
Thora, Bill and Tally

01/16/2020Emails from family members

Here are emails received from Bill’s niece Patty Porter, great nephew Jeff Porter  and  his nephew Jim McDonald.

Name: Jeff Porter (Bill’s Nephew) 

From: Thousand Oaks (Currently Olympia, WA)
E-mail: portercreative@yahoo.com

October 13, 2012


I am Bill Ogden’s Great Nephew. I was stunned to see an entire page dedicated to his radio school and got kind of emotional seeing all the lives that he affected. I don’t know what made me look up his name on the internet today but I am glad that I did. Bill and Tally are deceased but his family lives on. I believe that he passed in 1998 but I will get more family to confirm when I share this page with them. Actually Tally’s sister Patricia Stevenson is the only extended sibling of that era still around at 100 years old! My mother, Patricia Porter is Bill, Tally and Thora’s niece. I have very fond memories of Bill, Tally and Thora.

We always loved visiting their house in Huntington Beach California. I knew a different ‘Uncle’ Bill than everyone else as I was just a kid in high school when he passed. In retirement Bill did a lot of woodworking and gardening.

I remember staying up late with him watching Johnny Carson when we stayed at his house, always visiting at Christmas time and always having wonderful meals at their house. They were always a pleasure to be around and I wish that they all could still be here.

I would love to hear more stories about the Ogden’s during their time at the radio school if you have more stories. Again, I will pass this page along to my sisters, mother and family to read and share their own thoughts. My mother is great with dates and can confirm more details about their lives. Thank you again. I look forward to reading all of the comments.

End of message

Submitted by
Name: Patty Porter
From: Washington State now, previously from Calif.
E-mail: alanporter1@msn.com
October 14, 2012

My name is Patty Porter, William B. Ogden was my uncle, as Tally and Thora were my aunts. Some would remember me as Patty Ann, which my aunts and uncle preferred to call me. This wonderful site was found by my son Jeff Porter, and what a treasure it is. I have enjoyed reading all the comments, as my Uncle Bill was very special to me.

I started working at R.O.E.S while in High School in the 60’s. I continued after graduation and got married and moved to Huntington Beach with my husband when they opened up the school down there. My husband Alan was the first janitor for the dorms and classrooms, while he attended college. We both worked there until 1967, when we made a move to Reseda. Some may remember my mother, Pat Stevenson, Tally and Thora’s older sister who is now 100 and lives with us. My mom did the memo-graphing in the back office on a as needed basis.

Uncle Bill was like a second father to me, as was Tally (Attalia) and Thora (Torree) second mom’s. Uncle Bill taught me to ice skate and bowl. Most of you may remember all the bowling teams he was on.

After retirement Tally convinced Uncle Bill to take 1 cruise, and after that they both loved it so much they managed to take 22 cruises in all. We always remained a close family and saw them often, as did my children.

I accomplished my 3rd class license while working in the office. I always wondered who came up with the color scheme of purple and yellow. As a young lady I sure did not think those colors went well together. I was often the person at the doorway taking the coffee count while Uncle Bill said….”Coffee’s get them high”. Of course there was always someone who forgot to raise their hand and had to come to the kitchen to ask for a cup. Thora and Tally always accommodated them with a smile.

Uncle Bill did pass away January 24th 1998, and Tally March 5, 2006, I was there holding her hand as she passed. I believe it was 1987 that Thora passed, I’m sure I can find that date. Thora’s son Jim McDonald is still living in the Huntington Beach area, I am sure many of you remember him. I will pass this site on to him.

My life is filled with wonderful stories from these great people who impacted my life to this day. Thanks to those who appreciated him so much, he would be honored

Patty Porter,

(Bill’s niece)

                        -RELATED STORIES AND FEATURES –

Ogden’s Guestbook

Ogden’s class photos


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