KBOX Modesto, CA  History
  In the late 40's a group seeking to put the third AM station on the air in Modesto applied for a frequency of 1010 kcs and then amended their application for 970 kcs which was granted. The station came on the air on November 1, 1951 with the call letters KBOX.  The group incorporated as Stanislaus County Broadcasters, Inc. and included  Cecil Lynch; Cecil's dad Mat;  Ralph Brown, a state assemblyman from Modesto and Ralph Bowen an area rancher among others.  

In August 1956 the station was purchased by McClatchy Broadcasting and joined with their KBEE-FM station.  McClatchy sold the stations to Price Broadcasting of Utah who changed KBEE-AM to KHYV on Feb. 17, 1983.  Another call letter change to KOOK occurred on August 29, 1988.  The stations were sold to Citidel Broadcasting who changed KBEE-FM to KATM-FM.  The AM station became KESP on March 9, 2000.

Engineers preparing to take field strength readings during construction of  KBOX in 1951.  This jeep belonged to Jay Tapp of T&T Radio at Long Beach. He rigged an elevated platform for the meter, which we strapped in position and carried an external battery in the jeep. The field strength meter we used at that time was made by Federal Radio Company operated off a car battery. The antenna was in the lid with a bayonet connection into the instrument, so the antenna could be rotated to maximize of null the signal. 

The engineer standing is Carl Pendergraft. Seated, Jay Tapp, Cecil Lynch standing next to Jay. The man in the dark suit is Cecil Lynch's dad Mat Lynch. Next to him, with the cane, is John Boyer. John was indirectly an innovator of KBOX through his brother-in-law Harold Bowen. Harold is on the ground, next to the jeep. The other man holding the map is Ralph Brown. Brown was a lawyer, and State Assemblyman at that time and an original owner of KBOX.

(Photo and information courtesy of Cecil Lynch)

November 1, 1951
KBOX  original 1 KW Collins transmitter in the 50's.

(Courtesy of Bob Pinheiro)
Call Sign History

  1. KESP    03/09/2000
  2. KANM   04/17/1998
  3. KBUL    09/20/1996
  4. KOOK   08/29/1988
  5. KHYV    02/17/1983 
  6. KBEE-AM   08/1956
  7. KBOX    11/01/1951

Call Letters Are Given for Modesto's New Station
Call letters of Modesto's newest AM radio station are KBOX. They were assigned the Stanislaus County Broadcasters by the Federal Communications Com- mission. John Boyer, director of public  relations for KBOX, said the station is scheduled to be on the air around June 1st.

Construction of a downtown studio, on Tenth near O Street, will start  in a few days. It will be of modern architecture. Off street parking areas will be provided. Transmitter site of KBOX is on the Sylvan Road. There will be three transmitter towers. The station's signal will come in on  970 on the standard radio dials.  Boyer said all necessary equipment and materials have been acquired.

Newspaper archives dated 2-17-51

Price Broadcasting Purchases KBEE AM and FM

Around 1986 John Price Broadcasting Co. of Utah purchased this station (then KBEE AM)  and sister station KBEE FM  from the McClatchy Broadcasting of Sacramento.  Shortly thereafter the AM station call letters were changed to KHYV  (The Hive)   and programming switched to classical.   Contributor and listener  Floyd Perry, Jr. says they dropped  the Classical music format on April 18, 1988 and switched to 50's/60's/70's ROCK OLDIES utilizing the Satellite Music Network's PURE GOLD Rock Oldies Service. They retained the KHYV calls for awhile (even reviving the K-HIVE moniker) until dropping it for the KOOK call on August 29, 1988.

Through the years many ownership, call letters and programming changes occurred.   KBEE-970 changed calls to KHYV on February 17, 1983. They remained Adult Contemporary but dropped all local programming and utilized Satellite Music Network's STAR STATION Adult Contemporary Music Service.  They id'ed as "K-HIVE 970". This remained until 1985.

On April 30, 1985, They switched formats to CLASSICAL MUSIC. Even though they kept the KHYV call, they no longer used the K-HIVE moniker. They were home to "The Modesto Symphony" concerts as well as the syndicated "Metropolitan Opera".  In addition to Classical Music, KHYV continued to broadcast the Oakland A's  baseball games. They advertised as being home to  "The Three Classics, BACH, BEETHOVEEN AND BASEBALL! .

Courtesy of Floyd Perry, Jr. Stockton, CA
Modesto's newest radio station KBOX on the air

KBOX.  California's  newest broadcasting radio station is now on the air with daily  programming.  The station officially began operating November 1st on a  6:00 AM to 11:00 PM schedule.

Fourteen persons comprise the staff.  Cecil  Lynch is general  manager and program director. Other executive personnel include John Boyer, sales manager;  John Witherspoon, director of news and special events;  Carl Pendercraft,  Chief Engineer; Roy Storey, sports director.  Additional staff include Jack Miller, Edward J Smith, Edward Witt, William S. Reynolds, John Kearney, George Stevens, Jack Heald, Claude Bennett and Chris Hermanson.

The new station is owned and operated by the Stanislaus County Broadcasters, Inc. composed of local citizens.  Stockholders include Cecil Lynch, G.A. M. Lynch, Ralph Brown and Harold Bowen.

The original application for the station was filed with the FCC in 1947 with the final grant for a construction permit following in 1951.   The station's studio are located at 1507 Tenth Street in downtown Modesto with its transmitter located on Sylvan Rd. and Old Oakdale Rd. near Modesto.  The station is to operate on 970 kilocycles with a full time power of 1,000 watts.  The station represents in investment of more than  $100,000 and is the only standard Modesto radio station maintaining studios apart from its transmitter site. 

Remembering The Good Old Days of KTRB & KBOX
By Paul Bennet, McMinnvile, Ore.

My father, Claude D Bennett Sr, worked for KBOX in 1951, the year they came on the air, performing antenna tests and equipment shakedown runs.  He was an FCC licensed engineer.  With Dad's association with the station I soon knew everyone and I frequently went to the studio weekday evenings during my high school years. 

I frequently would sit in on Chester's morning programs on KTRB.   Those were influential days for a high schooler who was interested in everything and left many pleasant memories.

I wish I could remember more about a character named Big Bill,  a 300 pound pianist whose band played from a flat-bed truck up/down  South Modesto Acres.

I built a powerful piano amplifier for Bill Bates at KTRB which allowed him to overpower the guitars...he was most grateful.

Cecil Lynch hired my dad in 1951 but couldn't keep him on the payroll as he had no announcing the skills, only technical skills.  They needed combo guys who could do everything (announce and have a FCC license .

As KTRB epitomized country music back in those days of tube radios, which took about a minute to warm up and start playing.

For several years I had the Modesto Bee paper route on 10th and 11th streets downtown. So, when dad worked on the setup of KBOX, it was easy, at age 13-14, to pop into the KBOX downtown studio/office for several hours. I clearly recall sitting in the studio through several 're-created' big league baseball games. That guy was a real professional. He had a homemade desktop gizmo to whack to simulate the ball hitting a bat and had a  record with crowd noises they turned the volume up and down for excitement.

There were 3 teletype machines against the back wall and he would have me gather whatever made sense to stretch things out. I can't  remember where he got the game feed. Later, I would take many feet of teletype paper home to read, and compare with the local newspapers. That's when I learned the difference between Democrat and Republican news media. To slant the news their way, the papers would print the news word for word but simply leave out paragraphs which made their political side look bad.

One last note, I went through the obits on your website and sadly found many household names from the time. People who were a part of our lives, if only though a radio.

Paul Bennett,
McMinnville, Oregon.