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.

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
Ogden’s Classrooms, with upstairs dormitory. Warner Avenue, Huntington Beach, 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.

14 thoughts on “OGDEN’S RADIO SCHOOL”

  1. I was barely 19 yr.s of age when I enrolled at R.O.E.S. It took me six (6) full weeks, but with Bill Ogden’s dogged persistence, I successfully passed the FCC First Class Radio License. It literally changed my life and I’ll be forever grateful to Bill, Tally, Theora and Major Comet Zip for making it possible.

    I went on to own and operate three small market radio stations. Subsequently, branched out into to become stockholder and president of a group of cable TV systems.

    My broadcast interest led me to politics where I served as City Councilman and two-time Mayor of Escondido, California.

    My experience at R.O.E.S. was a very special time in my life and have Bill Ogden to thank.

    1. I attended the William B. Ogden Radio Operational Engineer School in January 1964. After passing my Second Class License Test, I had run out of money. I went back home to hometown of Bakersfeld/ O recall Bill Ogden saying “there is nothing lower than a Second Class License holder”. I went back to Bill Ogden Radio Operation School in 1967, in the summer to finish up. I passed my First Class test and received my License in September, 1967. To be honest, Bill Ognden told me he did not believe I was ready to take the test when I decided to go take the test. I was weak on Math and he was afraid if Mrs. Lyons gave me the Math test, I would be “sunk”. I was given the 9 question math test. Maybe it was true that if Mrs. Lyons liked you, she would give you a test that you could pass. The night before I went to L.A. to take my First-Class Radiotelephone License Test, Bill Ogden sat down with me. I aksed him for one of the Proverbial Gold Pencil’s that had all the Answers in it. I recall him saying “I sure do hope you can hear me yelling the Answers to you”. They must have been in the Gold Pencil that I still have. It always reminds me of what someone can do if they put their mind to it. I now have a General Class Radiotelephone License which was grandfathered in 1981 which I surrendered my First-Lass License. I have such fond Memories of Bill Ogden, His Wife Tally and her Sister Thora. They were such lovely people. I had such a Wonderful experience knowing them and attending their School in both Burbank and Huntington Beach.

  2. I remember Bill allowing us to watch the moon landing in July 1969. We slept upstairs and spent long hours studying for the first class license downstairs. Our excitement was watching the fireworks from Disneyland at night. Don’t forget the planes almost hitting our building while taking off from airport. Never forget our time at Bill Ogden’s. Pat LaPointe class of 1969

    1. OMG we must have been in the same class, as I remember us watching the moon landing too!!!

      Just 19, many fond memories of the time there, including Disneyland too!!

      I have managed to become disconnected with a friend I made there, Jim Moore.

      If anyone knows whatever became of Jim Moore (after we both had worked at KRCR-TV, in Redding California in the mid 70’s), please shoot me an email at onsitectr@hotmail.com

      I miss to this day, the camaraderie we had at R.O.E.S., there never has been as good a time in my life, either before or since those days.

      Take care,
      Gerald Dunham

      1. Gerald, Thanks for checking out our homage to Ogden’s. We will place your comments in the Ogden’s Guestbook. We have two “friends of the Radio Museum” in Northern California, We will check and see if they have any memories/knowledge of your friend,Jim Moore. BTW, 1969 was a big year for Modesto-area people attending Ogden’s. If you have an Ogden’s Class Photo we will post that, too.
        All the best,
        Rick Myers
        Radio Museum President

        1. Hi, Rick, and got your email, too!

          Thanks for trying, I guess my main hope was that maybe there was some sort of Student List in the records of ROES that might exist to help me out, and/or that someone from our class in particular would be able to help me reconnect with Jim {middle name unknown!} Moore, in that class of 1969.

          We were both just Engineering “Operators” of the control room in our years there in the mid 70s, so it’s unlikely of there being some remembrance or connection… in relation to us young lowly Control Room operators.

          I DO appreciate you trying. As with all things, if [reconnecting] was meant to be, it will/would happen.

          Take care, and thanks for running this tribute to Bill Ogden!!!
          Gerald Dunham

  3. After my U.S.A.F. discharge in ‘57 I went to Ogdens school in Burbank. After six weeks of study, 10-12 hours a day I had my First Phone and first radio job.
    In retrospect I owe the beginning of my 47 year radio career to Bill and the many hours he personally spent with
    our group working by our side seven days a week.
    Don Pummill
    Class of 1962

    1. Don,
      Thanks for visiting our on-line Museum. We encourage you to sign the Ogden’s Guestbook, and share your memories. If you have any photos of your Ogden’s days, please send them our way. Ogden’s had thousands of graduates, including you! Congratulations to you on a nice career.
      Rick Myers, Modesto Radio Museum President
      Ogden’s Class of 1968

  4. As a high school dropout, I attended “Bill” Ogden’s ROES, class of January, 1970 and graduated in February that year. Doing Radio was a kick, as we say in the vernacular, but it created anxiety and underarm odor for me with my limited academics. But it did serve to send me back to school… with a GED, four years later I graduated with Honors from Phoenix College. I discovered my raison d’etre in Psy 101. I fell in love with Psychology and went to ASH, the Arizona State Hospital to start my career as a Behavioral Counselor. I am proud of my experience in Bill’s ROES; I am ever indebted to Bill for teaching me that I could accomplish the difficult.

  5. I attended Bill Ogden’s Radio Operational Engineering School back in 1971, Bill affectionally would tell us “You don’t have the brains God gave a tennis ball”. I will never forget those 12 hour school days , theory in the morning and math in the evening . I wish I had stayed in contact with some of my classmates .

    1. Thanks for visiting the Ogden Pages; you’ve joined hundreds of others. If you have your class photo from ’71, please send us a copy. We will place your comments in the Ogden’s Guestbook. If you have any more stories, please send those, too—Rick Myers, Modesto Radio Museum President, and Ogden grad ’68.

      1. I was barely 18 in the fall of ’51. Worked the summer for the City of Weiser, Idaho. I got my draft physical and entered the current ROES class. They took good care of this kid from the sticks, and sent me home with my first phone 6 weeks later. Weiser was not my home town, and working nights and weekends at KWEI soon got old. Joined my parents in Grants Pass, OR and opened at KUIN for a year.
        The boss wanted engineers and sent me to KIEM/KRED in Eureka, CA, and to college. It turned out I wasn’t smart enough for that and after stints at the TV stations in Klamath Falls and Medford, OR ( all with the same ownership), I wound up as a pharmacist. I wish I had the sense to get a photo of my ROES class. If anyone has one from that far back I would like to have it. I got my ham license in 2000, so I still have a hand in the radio business. I could go on, but will refrain.
        I have no problem being contacted if anyone is left alive from those days.

        1. Bud, it looks like you’ve had a great life, and are among thousands of Ogden graduates. We have a few Ogden Class photos from way back in your day, and we’ll forward those to you. Another grad from ’51 was the great television newscaster, Stan Atkinson. We will place your comments in the Ogden Guestbook. Thanks to over a decade of work by the Museum’s Webmaster, Bob Pinheiro, the Modesto Radio Museum is regarded by Google (among others) as the leading source for info on the Ogden Radio Operational Engineering School. Thanks for finding us. Rick Myers, Museum President

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