Victor G. Koping, of Stockton. California reported to the Radio Division, Bureau of Navigation, Department of Commerce, that a new broadcast station had been erected at the Peffer Music Store at 332 East Channel Street, Stockton on November 6, 1926 and requested the call letters and license for operation.
On November 12, 1926 the Radio Division granted authority for the new station to operate and assigned the call letters KGDM. On November 16, 1926 the station went on the air and started commercial advertising. The station first started operating on 1380 kilocycles with 10 watts of power.
On January 17, 1927 KGDM's license was transferred to Koping and Peffer and the new station was moved to the Peffer Building at 42 South California Street on the southeast comer of South California and East Market Streets in Stockton. KGDM was acquired by E. F. Peffer in August 1927 and became the sole owner.
On November 11, 1928 the new Federal Radio Commission ordered KGDM to change the frequency to 1100 kilocycles and allowed the station to increase the power to 50 watts.
On April 1, 1930 the power was increased to 250 watts and A H. Green was appointed the Station Manager. During this time the Peffer Music Store remained the principle business with the studio and transmitter located in the back of the music store.
On December 11, 1934 The new Federal Communications Commission authorized an increase in power to 1,000 watts and the transmitter was moved to three miles south of Stockton and a Blaw-Knox 204-foot self supported vertical radiator was erected.
In 1939 Joe D. Carroll replaced A.H. Green as General Manager. In 1940 Edith Smith became the General Manager. On Saturday, March 29, 1940 the frequency was changed to 1130 kilocycles.
On January 21, 1942 the FCC granted a construction permit to raise the power to 5,000 watts and move the frequency to 1140 kilocycles and erect a directional antenna system for nighttime use. The station was non directional in the daytime. The station also became affiliated with the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) network and the studios were moved to 517 East Market Street. Also in early 1947, KGDM FM took to the air on the FM band; operating at 92.9 megacycles with a power of 1,000 watts.
In 1948 KGDM was granted a construction permit to raise power from 5,000 watts to 10,000 watts and the station's studios and offices were moved to the Hotel Wolf, 409 East Market Street in downtown Stockton. In November 1955 E. F. Peffer sold KGDM TO Golden Valley Broadcasting Company for $162,500. The principals were President L.B. Chenault, owner of stations in Fresno and Visalia, with a 17.5 % interest; Vice President Alan L. Torbet (18.6%); Treasurer Richard C. D. Bell (18.6%); Secretary Bert Williamson (17.5%); Amelia Schuler (17.5%); and Lindsey H. Spight (10.3%).
On New Years Day, January 1, 1957, KGDM changed call letters to KRAK and dropped its affiliation with the CBS Radio Network. KRAK opened associate studios at the Hotel Senator in Sacramento . On March 19, 1959 the FCC granted a change of the transmitting location to a site in Sacramento County south east of Elk Grove and was given a construction permit to increase the power to 50,000 watts with a directional antenna pattern. On May 1, 1959 Walt Shaw was hired as the all night DJ.
On January 20, 1960 the station was sold by Golden Valley Broadcasting to Hercules Broadcasting for $550,000. Manning Slater was President and the station was moved from Stockton to Sacramento. In October 1960 KRAK affiliated with the Mutual Broadcasting System. The format was changed from rock and roll to a big band pop format. On May 27, 1962 the Mutual Broadcasting System was dropped and KRAK joined the ABC Radio Network.
A country music format was introduced on October 1, 1962 and Jay Hoffer established himself as one of the top country music programmers in the country. His DJ's were told to stay away from the so-called hillbilly style associated with country DJ's. Walt Shaw continued on the all night show calling himself Cousin Walt the Midnight Son bringing light to all in the darkness. In 1964 Walt Shaw was assigned to news and covered legislative and general news.
History of KGDM, Stockton, CA
By Walt Harris
In 1968 ABC Network programming was terminated and the station was moved to Country Club Center at 3326 El Camino Avenue in Sacramento.
In 1970 Walt Shaw became the station's Farm Director and started an hour morning farm program. Another change occurred in 1974. Hercules Broadcasting purchased KMPS AM & FM in Seattle, Washington and in 1975 Bernice Slater was appointed General Manager and A Vice President of the Company. Bernice Slater appointed Walt Shaw Program Director.
On December 1, 1978 KRAK was sold to Affiliated Broadcasting, Incorporated whose parent company was Affiliated Publications the owner of the Boston Globe and stations in Seattle, Washington, Cincinnati, Ohio, White Plains, New York, Springfield, Massachusetts, San Jose, California and Jacksonville, Florida. Today the station is know KHTK with an all talk sports format.