After “breaking the ice” with his first job in radio at KCEY in Turlock, CA. the late Larry Maher, KFIV Program Director (PD), hired Ron on as a “weekender.” In February of 1975, “Rockin'” Ron Richards began his career in Top 40 radio. When Ron first sat down at the K5 board he was mesmerized by the number of buttons, switches, and volume control knobs but he soon caught on and realized that by pushing and turning them in the correct manner one could create magic!
Weekenders usually had a second or third job to make ends meet! At that time, Ron was working for Wherehouse Records when it was located next to Mervyn’s on McHenry Ave. His third job was working part time at KTRB in Modesto.
Every DJ has his or her moment(s) that involve the proverbial “slip of the tongue.” One of Ron’s came one Sunday afternoon as he was talking-up the song Some Kind Of Wonderful by Grand Funk Railroad! Well, yep… Ron mispronounced the word Funk! Ron thought to himself, just shut-up and close the mic. It just so happened that his brother had tuned into Ron’s show that day and as brothers tend to not let brothers off the hook very easily he called to ask Ron if he heard right? Fortunately nobody else called and asked questions and the incident was forgotten, until now. Everybody knows now and the Federal Communications Commission wants to talk to Ron about it!
Ron’s favorite things to do in radio were live broadcasts, working High School dances, and special functions put on by local organizations.
Ron enjoyed working among other notable radio personalities at K5 during the 70s such as “Skinny” Kenny Roberts (Ken Tinkle), J. Michael “Bird” Stevens, “Radio” Rick Myers, “Captain” Fred James, The “Unreal” Don Shannon, John “Dyno” Michaels, and A.J. “Koala Bear” Roberts. During Ron’s tenure at K5 he also provided an FM-Album Oriented Rock (AOR) format on the all nighters. FM radio started taking the turn towards the late 70s and Rock 104 came into existence with other stations to soon follow.
In January of 1977, Rockin’ Ron departed K5 to become the “Morning Drive” person at KYOS in Merced, CA.
Here are some memories of Rockin’ Ron Richards on the air:
1977 – Ron at KYOS, 1480 in Merced. The voice you will hear doing the station ID/promos in this aircheck sounds like a young Mike Novak. Mike has confirmed that he does remember cutting some promos at that time.
1978 – Ron at KHNY, FM 92, Riverside, CA.
2012 – Ron participated in K5 Graffiti Gold Weekend. The Modesto Radio Museum captured it for the ages.
Read more about Ron Richards here on the Modesto Radio Museum site