I was hired right out of Broadcasting school in 1990 to work as a copy writer at KTRB then after a couple of months they put me on the air overnights on weekends. I remember the station being pretty much run down in those days, however Pete Pappas (who had passed away a few years prior) had a very elaborate office. Giant double doors led into a den of red leather, huge round desk and a bar. Elvis would have loved Pete's office!
I ended up working all sorts of shifts at KTRB before I was made a "full timer" doing afternoons. Weekends were a scream! All sorts of characters had public affair type shows where anyone who had their own sponsors could come in and get airtime. I would engineer (board operator) these shows and take the phone calls. "Ask the Attorney", "The John Birch Society", "The Classified Show" were just a few. I remember the Attorney used to snort nasal spray on the air and the guy who did the Birch Society would smoke big cigars as he ranted on the air with the crazy callers. We were still spinning some of the weekend countdown shows on vinyl as well as a morning church show on Sunday mornings.
We had a cat that roamed the studio and sometimes he would get up on that turntable and bat the needle around on the record as I was in another part of the building. I would hear all this screeching coming from the speakers and would hall butt down the hallway to get the cat out of the studio! When I was doing overnights, the Pappas boys (Pete's sons) would come into the studio and hi-jack my show putting themselves on the air .
KTRB signal was powerful and at sunset, the signal would automatically power down. One night during my show it never powered down and I was getting calls from Idaho on the 800 line!
I eventually was put on afternoon drive after I left to go work at other stations in the valley, including The Fox and KSGO/KWG in Stockton. My news guy was Jim Fannin (who later went to work for KFBK in Sacramento) and we had a great time. The job was extremely low pressure and the program director at the time was the morning guy, J.W Ford. Heck of a nice guy that would actually call my show in the afternoon and request songs if you can believe that!
Pete Pappas had a great collection of classic cars that his wife Bessie would let us DJs ride in for the local parades. Bessie was very generous with the cars and would let us cruise around town the entire day.
I'll never forget the KTRB production studio that was located in the old bomb shelter that I believe was added in the 1970s. It was a dank cement bunker that had mushrooms and mold growing on the walls.
By May of 1992 I was anxious to move on to a bigger market and decided to head to Sacramento and KNCI who offered me a job, so I moved on leaving behind fond memories of KTRB which I will cherish for life.
KTRB Country 860 Personality Jan London
Jan London on the air.
Pete Pappas's Excalibur car with Jan at the wheel.
Secretary Stephanie Losievski and Jan in the main control room.