William B. Ogden Radio School

I was in the June of '68 class. I remember two things. The FCC test had one badly-written question. One interpretation had one answer, the other interpretation had a different answer, and BOTH answers were on the test! Bill the Drill Sergeant, hammered home this order, "If anybody gets this question, march right up to the examiner, and demand to know which way it's supposed to be read!!" Sure enough, I got that question, and with all the courage I had, I went up to examiner, who coldly stared at me and said, "You're not to get out of your seat." I almost turned around and sat down, but instead of caving in, I continued and he said, "I can't tell you the answer." I replied, "I don't need the answer, I need to know if the question is asking this or asking that. Thankfully, Bill had taught this circuit's theory, and I explained the logic of each answer. The examiner looked at me, nodded, and pointed to answer "C."
Back at the school, I told Bill the story and he took it in with glee. He had caught the FCC at their own game! He retold that story over and over. He had called me "Mr. Myers" up until then, but I was "Rick" from then on.
Secondly, I'm a guy who always eats breakfast. Even with the crazy, grueling hours, I got up early, and went over to the Airport Cafe, and had eggs and sausage every morning for six weeks. It's a miracle I'm alive today.

Added: November 25, 2018
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I went to Bill's school in April 1970 and by July, I had my first class license.
He was a no nonsense instructor. Erasers, chalk, anything Bill could get his hands on went flying across the room, in response to talkers and the inattentive.

I forgot the young man who taught math in the evening, but I thought he was a wonderful teacher. My regret is that I forgot his name and never personally thanked him.

A local airport was on the other side of the parking lot. Apparently students learn to fly there, often scaring the bejeebies out of us, when the barely cleared the rooftop, where the dormitory was located.

Attending the school was one of the highlights of my life!

Added: November 14, 2018
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My dear Aunt Tally and Uncle Bill, and Thora, were so very dear to me. Wonderful people and a great influence in my life. I was around for years working in the Burbank office, and in Huntington Beach, after I got married. I am so happy this museum exists. Patty

Added: November 12, 2018
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In my R.O.E.S. class of 1958, one of our chain smoking classmates decided one day after lunch to try to have some fun with Bill.

During lunch he carefully inserted a short piece of an extended paper clip into one of his Marlboro cigarettes. He always sat in the first row where he would frequently elevate his right leg on a nearby chair.

He waited for Bill to light up the next one and lit his “Ogden’s” special.

It burn slowly with the ashes held in place by the alteration and Bill was watching. After 30 seconds, or so, the ashes were still holding the original shape of the cigarette clinging to the insertion.

Bill exploded and yelled at the student to put the cigarette out before the ashes dropped to the floor. And he demanded that the student to get his leg off the chair.

After depositing the evidence in his desk ashtray he dropped his pants and unstrapped a wooden leg he was wearing. He dropped it on the floor and sat down. Bill was not impressed and lit up another Salem cigarette and carried on. What made it more impressive was the fact that only a few of us knew he had a wooden leg.

Bill was unruffled but the class enjoyed it immensely.

Added: November 11, 2018
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I was in the January 1969 class at ROES. After passing the second phone test I spent the next 2 weeks heavy into math in order to pass the 1st phone. One day I was the only one in the building during lunch as I was at my desk going over the math. When I heard a strange air plane sound then the noise of lumber hitting the ground. I rushed out the back of the building to see a single engine plane that had crashed into the fence, sending the lumber from the fence all over the parking lot. The wings of the plane were smashed into the fence posts on each side of the plane. I raised upstairs to my locker for my camera. When I got back the crew of the airport were pulling the plane out of the fence. As I stood there a few of the students came back from lunch and walked out thru the hole in the fence to see the plane. 20 minutes later Bill came driving into the parking lot and jumped out of his car with a smile on his face. The pilot of the plane his wife and 2 kids were not hurt. Later we learned that the pilot was a one time student at ROES. Some time later Meadowlark airport closed.

Added: October 14, 2018
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Running out of time and money, I HAD to go take the test but had gotten more the the safe amount of answers (20?) wrong in the 600 question 'final'... I had to go though...

It was getting close to the end of the year and many people were taking the tests so we were told at the FCC office the results would have to be mailed to us instead of having our tests graded at that time...

I was freaking out... I'd already spent several weeks there (9am-1am, 7 days a week) and was under a lot of pressure due to money shortage and running out of time...

STRESSED OUT would be a way of putting it mildly... one of the FCC people gave, one of the guys I went down with, a letter to give to Bill when we got back...

After comparing questions and answers on the ride back to the school I'd pretty much convinced myself I'd gotten too many wrong to get my First.... MORE STRESS!!!!

Upon arriving we went to Bill and told them we couldn't get the results to our tests due to way too many folks being tested for that region...

We turned and as we began walking away, Bill said, "Don't you guys wanna know how you did?".....

The "letter" contained our grades.... We had all passed!!!!!!!

I went upstairs, laid out on my bed, face down and bawled like a baby.... such a weight lifted off my shoulders...

Bill Ogden may you rest in peace along with Tally and all your loved ones throughout all of timeless ETERNITY!!!! GAWD, I learned so much from you....

PS: I have a class photo from October of 1967 if the site's admin is interested!!!

Admin reply: Hello Alfredo,

Thank you for signing our ROES guestbook. I’m sure there were many students through the years who had the same experiences. What wonderful memories when we were so young and fascinated by radio broadcasting.

Yes, we would very much like to have a copy of the class photo of the class of October 1967. Please send it to me in .jpg format at


Thanks again.

Bob Pinheiro
Class of 1958
Modesto Radio Museum

Added: May 20, 2018
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Was in the FIRST Huntington Beach ROES class. It was the summer of 1966. Besides the classes I remember the pizza take out almost next door that used real full fat not skim milk cheese.

I was the second or third student to attempt the Revised Second Phone exam. I was floored when I was told I FAILED! Went back to school talked to Bill, let him know that at most I was sure I had only missed a single question.

Bill and I went back to FCC office. He told them of my disbelief and they said they would have the field engineer re-check my test as we waited. They wouldn't admit that there was an error but said I could return to retake my exam in 7 days rather than the standard 60 days.

When I took my test it was the same series, but the majority of the questions that must have been wrong on first try, were now rules and regs questions. I passed of course

Added: August 9, 2017
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I am a graduate of ROES July 1968 Thousands of memories have been shared with family. It is heartwarming to find this website.

Added: May 30, 2017
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Got my First phone at Ogden's in Burbank. Seven weeks and a lot of hard work, but I worked over 40 years in broadcasting.

Added: May 18, 2017
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I was a student in 1953, got my 1st phone at the federal bldg. in L>A> that fall. One of my fellow students was Ron Miller, who I believe married Diane Disney. He was a roommate in Burbank. This could be wrong but it is as I remember it. Bill. Tally, great memories. Spent 11 years in radio in Tricity area and Seattle

Added: February 9, 2017
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