Comments: Your response to Cecil Bartolommei about when KTRB-FM first went on the air is correct. The January 3, 1949 issue of "Broadcasting" magazine reported that the construction permit for KTRB-FM had been extended to June, 1949; that means it could not have been on the air prior to that year.
As a child, I visited Modesto every summer as my uncle and aunt lived on Glenwood Dr. During two of those visits, I had the opportunity to visit the KTRB studios on Norwegian Ave. (meeting Cal Purviance) and the KLOC studios on Iowa Ave. (meeting Chester Smith).
I stayed in touch with Chester Smith and had talked with him not long before his death in 2008. I remember him as being kind and gracious to a young teenager in the early 1970s and he was just as gracious to a much older version of me three decades later.
I remember that one summer during my visit, KTRB was becoming "the new KTRB" and renamed all of its disc jockeys (except for Cal)to names like "Johnny Gunn". I wonder if anyone remembers that or how long the "new KTRB" lasted, because as I recall they were back to the old names the following summer. (My uncle and aunt were loyal KTRB listeners and would never have started their day listening to anyone but Cal.)
Comments: I was saddened to hear of the passing of Michael J. Stewart. Mike was a big, burly guy, but he was also a big teddy bear. I had the pleasure of working with Michael at KCEY at a time when country music was gaining in popularity and becoming more mainstream. He truly loved the music, loved his audience and loved Radio. He made his mark in the Modesto market spending much of his career here. Then he moved on to a new life in the Pacific Northwest. I'll miss you Michael. And as you use to say when you signed off your show .... "don't forget to love thy neighbor, every chance you get."
Added: October 8, 2013
Submitted by Name: Roy Richey From: Virginia City, NV
Comments: The plastic tab on my Dad's Silvertone Radio is still marked for 860 AM KTRB. Throughout the 1950's and 1960's Bill Bates and Cal Purviance got my Dad off to work and me off to school. I often flipped over to the shortwave to listen to Cliff Price gather the amature weather which Bill Bates aired later.
What great memories this website preserves. The old Silvertone still works fine, it just can't tune in those great voices anymore.
Comments: Hey there! Now that I'm back home, I've had a chance to re-live such GREAT memories of Modesto radio & the years I spent in radio! I was an announcer for 20 years & have a lot of "aircheck" tapes to send you! I don't do computer "stuff", SO.... Anyway...The first time I visited a station was in the summer of 1963, when Johnny Rivers was popular. At the time I had an Aunt & Uncle that lived around the block from K-5 & got to spend time with Nelson Eddy. (not the singer)!! I was 7 years old at the time & he let me pick out some music to play! What a thrill to play "Seventh Son"! If only I had a tape of his show? I do have a lot of stories & would like to contact "John Chappell"! He is one of my favorites! I have the K-5 album set that was out just before he started there. It has pics of the "jocks" at the tine & some of the hits from the day! So...until I can chat more??? CHRIS :D
Added: July 10, 2013
Submitted by Name: Jim Fannin From: Reno, Nv
Comments: This is so great. I love seeing comments from people like Kenny Roberts, I was convinced that "Skinny Kenny" was the coolest guy on the planet, but never got to meet him. So many of the people who've commented here, or were mentioned here are so important to me. Dave Luna, Gene D'Accardo who I had the great privilege to work for and learn from. Bill Slater, Derek Waring, people I've listed to and admired. Knowing the Pappas family and working for all three of the brothers, and the wonderful Bessie, what a good and kind lady. Cal Purviance, Carol Benson, John Michael Flint was amazing. Watching Chester Smith on channel 19. I remember ordering the "Chester Smith Special" at a local mexican place. Love you Tammy Lynn, Jan London and so many more. God Bless you all.
Very nice job on the website. I am the owner and operator of the television history website Eyes Of A Generation. You do a very good job on the history of these mics and the broad brand coverage is appreciated. I've spent 45 years behind the mic! Keep up the good work and thanks for the effort! Bobby Ellerbee
Comments: Speaking Of KBHI-FM,89.9 FM, 1974-June 1979. KBHI-FM, broadcasting from the Campus of Beyer High School was possible mostly to the efforts Ron Underwood, A teacher @ Beyer High School. Mr. Underwood, along with other teachers @ Beyer, Migrated from Downey High School when Beyer high school opened in 1973 or 74. Little Known fact that In The 1970's, "Modesto,Calif. was the only town in the United States that had 2 high School Radio Stations in the same town". Ron Was also Instrumental in the KDHS-FM, 90.5 station that broadcasted From Downey HS Ron Left for Beyer High School and started the Station at Beyer. I had the honor of learning from Ron @ KBHI-FM and served As their last station Mgr. for the 1978-1979 school year. Despite Mr. Underwood and the students best efforts, KBHI 89.9 FM fell silent on June 11,1979 when The FCC required that All 10W radio stations upgrade their power to Minimum of 100w,which KDJK was unable to raise the money to afford A 100W transmitter. In KBHI's 6 years of existing, It did spawn My 15 year radio career as well as Cindi Webb, Lois Melkonian (KCBS-AM S.F.) and A few others who moved on in the industry. Hats off To Ron Underwood, who was largely and for the most part solely responsible for High School radio In Modesto, Ca. Now In his 70's, Ron still teaches in the Fresno Area. Hopefully, He will receive The honor of a Spot in The Modesto Radio museum Hall of Fame for the careers He helped spawn thru the 2 high school station he helped create and his dedication to our local radio market.
Comments: Your identification of Cindi Webb on a live promotion for KBHI Radio (Beyer High) is indeed correct, and your spelling of the name is also spot on. Cindi and I worked together for a year at KBHI, before she left for bigger and brighter lights. As a matter of fact, as I recall, she was working for the FM station inside the KTRB (KHOP) building in the late 70's.
I lived around the corner from the KTRB studios, on a street called Ribier. Both Norwegian Avenue (where KTRB was located) and Tokay connected to McHenry. Ribier was not, which made it a safer street for children.
I would later wind up working for KMPH All News 107.5 FM in Fresno, owned by the immortal Harry Pappas (some people have other nicknames for him). About the only time my voice was ever heard in the Modesto market, other than some early work on KBHI, was when KTRB began to simulcast station news reports out of Fresno. I do recall that we had to expand our news coverage to better cover the Modesto market, and that voice arrived with the hire of Mary (Action) Jackson in 1996 or 1997.
The big bummer about this move was it extended our lockout from very short news reports, leaving even less precious seconds for news. I think the lockout went something like this: Bill Bird for All News KMPH 107.5 and KTRB 860. We complained bitterly.
I'm sorry that I missed the golden era of Modesto radio programming, when local news and reports were so very important. By the time I finally came of age, AM Radio was near death. Although I would do news for a short period, opportunities and money dried up during my entire career. I finally switched careers into public relations in 1999...
Comments: Nice to look at the site and remember when I started. I'm still at it after over 30 years, But I have to share something that happen to me when I was a Broadcast student at Modesto JC....
When I was at MJC..I use to call a local DJ when he was on the air. I got to know him and we would talk about music and radio. One day I wanted to tour the station. I had asked him a couple of times and he blew me off. Then one day after class I asked if I could come by and he said "I have not time for you, don't you ever call me again". My heart sank too. I didn't let it bug me. It made me want to get into radio and prove this guy wrong and as they say, the rest is history..Now back about few years ago, I was at the Stanislaus Fair Media lunch and I ran into the same DJ ..He came up to me and said he loved the station and my show and said, good job!!..I thanked him and went our way. I didn't bring up 30 years ago. And we still keep in touch on a business level.
And as I look over the website and thinking of the fun times I had at some of the stations mentioned...I still don't think I will ever bring that up to him..