KXOA continues legacy through former Arden area resident

George Junak, who is known in radio as Greg Mitchell, established the 24-hour per day Internet radio station KXOA in 2009. Photo courtesy of George Junak

George Junak, who is known in radio as Greg Mitchell, established the 24-hour per day Internet radio station KXOA in 2009. Photo courtesy of George Junak

Editor’s Note: This is the sixth article in a series about the history of broadcasting in the Sacramento area. This series was inspired by readers’ positive responses to previous articles about local television history in this publication and several requests to feature histories of local radio stations.

In the previous article of this series, it was noted that the end of the use of the call letters, KXOA, in Sacramento came in 2004. But that does not mean KXOA is completely a thing of the past.
Instead, fans of the old station, which debuted in 1945 and could once be found on both the AM and FM dials, can tune into a live re-creation of the station via the Internet.
Because the deaths of KXOA 1470 AM in 1998 and KXOA 93.7 FM in 2004 left the KXOA call letters available, former Arden area resident George Junak, who has worked in radio for many years, took the opportunity to acquire those letters in 2008.
Junak, who is known by the on air name of Greg Mitchell, had made the decision to create his own Internet radio station and was familiar with KXOA. He had once worked for KNDE 1470 AM, which had replaced KXOA 1470 AM from 1971 to 1978, before KXOA-AM returned to the air for two additional decades.
In 2006, Junak, 61, moved from San Diego to Jacksonville, Fla., where he would later launch his Internet radio station.
And in recalling his work to establish that station, Junak said, “In between (2008) and July (2009), when we actually signed the station on the air, I needed to get the automation software to run the station, build a little studio, load all the music into the computer system, load everything that we were going to run into the system. That was just pretty much done part time, so it took quite a few months. So, by the time July (2009) rolled around, everything was in place and we just put it on the air one day.”
Junak had no difficulty recalling the precise date of his station’s debut, as he said that, coincidentally, a KXOA-related incident occurred in Sacramento on that day.
“(July 15, 2009), the day that we signed (the station) on the air on the Internet was (when) a couple of towers came down at the 1470 (AM) transmitter site (near Commerce Circle and Lathrop Way),” Junak said.
The Sacramento Bee reported on July 16, 2009 that during the previous day, firefighters had responded to a fire that had toppled one of the former KXOA radio towers, damaged another tower and destroyed a small building containing radio equipment. A third tower was mentioned as having been threatened, but not damaged.
Junak who spends the majority of each day dedicated to his other radio-related business, California Aircheck, said he has enjoyed the responses of former KXOA of Sacramento listeners who have heard his KXOA station.
“People who had grown up in Sacramento were happy to have KXOA back,” said Junak, who began his radio career in Palms Springs in the early 1970s. “I enjoy hearing from people that come across it on the Internet.”
Junak added, “I also enjoy trying to be creative in a different way than just (through) California Air Check, where I just spend time editing things on that. So, doing KXOA is something that’s more creative on a daily basis than my full-time job.”
And after being asked if the station has reconnected him with radio people of his past, Junak said, “It did when I first put it on the air. I did hear from a couple of people that I had worked with, and I did hear from Martin Ashley, who went by the name of ‘Wonder Rabbit’ at (the now defunct Sacramento radio station) KROY. He sent me a couple of jingles from when he was at KXOA.”
Junak explained that most people discover the new KXOA by accident.

The original KXOA was one of Sacramento’s early radio stations. It debuted at 1490 AM in 1945 and moved to 1470 AM three years later. Photo courtesy of George Junak

The original KXOA was one of Sacramento’s early radio stations. It debuted at 1490 AM in 1945 and moved to 1470 AM three years later. Photo courtesy of George Junak

“(Operating KXOA is) pretty much just a hobby, so I haven’t really gone out of my way to advertise,” Junak said. “Most people just stumble across it and either like it or don’t (like it).”
In responding to the inquiry of what people can listen to on today’s KXOA, Junak said, “The format is called Motown, soul and rock ‘n’ roll. So, basically what you don’t hear is the really soft stuff that you might hear on a typical oldies station like the Carpenters and John Denver and Captain & Tennile and Brenda Lee. So, basically we’ve taken the best soul music, the best rock ‘n’ roll, mixed it together and left off the wimpy stuff. We play tons of The Beatles. We play like over 100 different songs of The Beatles, Creedence (Clearwater Revival), Cream, The Temptations, Steely Dan, Barry White, Stevie Wonder, The Moody Blues, Marvin Gaye, Eagles, The Byrds, (The Rolling) Stones, Four Tops, Foreigner, ELO, Elton John, (The) Mamas & (The) Papas, (The) Spencer Davis (Group), (The) Guess Who, Chicago. Basically things you might hear on a classic rock station. Typically an old station these days might play about 500 different songs. We play about 2,000. So, there are a lot of songs you’re not going to hear over and over and over again, and things that you probably haven’t heard in years.
The station, compared to what else you’re going to hear on the Internet, I think has a lot more personality and sounds like the stations of the 1960s, where it’s not where you can go for an hour and here’s the disc jockey two times, and just hear songs back to back to back to back all hour long. It makes it sound more like radio was back in the 1960s.”
Junak said that he works at the station seven days per week.
“I spend a couple hours a day on the station,” Junak said. “Usually I have to go through the logs and fix the problems on it during the day, and I usually decide that there are more minutes in the hour than there actually are, so I typically have to go delete songs at the ends of hours and I basically have to correct any problems.”
Listeners of the station can hear Junak from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Geoff Richards from 2 to 6 p.m., Bob Oscar Johnson from 6 p.m. to midnight and from 6 to 10 a.m., Bill Earl from midnight to 6 a.m., and Doctor John Winston from 2 to 6 p.m. on Saturdays.
In addressing readers of this paper in regard to his station, Junak said, “We’re here 24 hours a day and if you enjoyed radio more in the 1960s and 1970s than you do today, then KXOA, ‘the Giant X,’ would be more of a station that you would want to listen to other than some of the other stations in Sacramento. So, we’re basically four people that aren’t really looking for radio as just background. We want you to hear something interesting along with the music.”
KXOA can be heard through the website www.147kxoa.com.

Land Park’s WPA Rock Garden turns 75 years old

The WPA Rock Garden is sandwiched between this pond and Fairytale Town in William Land Park. Photo by Monica Stark

The WPA Rock Garden is sandwiched between this pond and Fairytale Town in William Land Park. Photo by Monica Stark

Editor’s Note: This is part one of a two-part series regarding the WPA Rock Garden at William Land Park.

The rock garden in William Land Park reached a milestone in its history, as it has been 75 years since it began as a project of the Work Projects Administration, which was a federal government Depression era system for work relief. The WPA was established as the Works Progress Administration in 1935 and renamed in 1939.
Located on a hillside off Land Park Drive and 15th Avenue, a short distance from Fairytale Town and adjacent to the William A. Carroll Amphitheatre, the nearly 1-acre rock garden includes granite block walls that line its walkways and a wide variety of plants, shrubbery and trees.
Also included in the garden is an arbor featuring a circular wall and seating area built in 2005 with cobbles that were used as ballast in clipper ships more than a century ago. The arbor was dedicated during the same year as a memorial to Norma Clevenger, a Sacramento gardener, and Aurora McGinnes, who was dedicated to caring for her brother, Esque Frost, during the Depression.
The beauty of the garden was detailed in the Feb. 24, 1940 edition of The Sacramento Bee, as it was noted: “The flowering peach trees (at the rock garden) are most appealing with their richness and quantity of rosy pink blossoms near plantings of deep green pine.
“Paths bordered with huge clumps of white snowdrops, rosy flowered dwarf heather, iris stylosa in light purple tones, bronzy wallflowers, white perennial candytuft, magenta mesembryanthemum, rosy lilac saxifrage, pansies of rich gold, deep purple, pure white and sky blue, orange marigolds and gleaming basket of gold alyssum lead down to the waterside, where dozens of paper white narcissi bend to the breeze.”
A brief reference to the garden was published in the May 18, 1940 edition of The Bee, as it was noted that James Mangan, city director of playgrounds, had requested that attendees of a May pageant at the amphitheater be careful not to walk on the garden’s flowers.
In its Aug. 31, 1940 edition, The Bee referred to nemesia, which is also known as the “baby snapdragon.” The plant was mentioned to have been “used with great success at the edge of the rock garden in William Land Park, close to the road which winds around the garden.”
Small shrubs and ground covers in the garden were mentioned in The Bee’s Feb. 22, 1941 edition as “making a carpet of brighter color and richer texture.”
The scenery of the garden was once again mentioned in The Bee, on March 28, 1942, as it was noted: “Many trailing plants ideal in rock gardens are at their best. Lamium maculatum, for example, is out on parade in the rock garden at William Land Park.”
In her gardening column in the May 8, 1943 edition of The Bee, Curtis Park resident Christine Abbott Morrison noted that it was common for local garden clubs to highlight their May meetings with field trips.

Home to a variety of plants, the WPA Rock Garden at William Land Park also features an arbor with a circular wall and seating area that was built in 2005. Photo by Monica Stark

Home to a variety of plants, the WPA Rock Garden at William Land Park also features an arbor with a circular wall and seating area that was built in 2005. Photo by Monica Stark

Morrison mentioned that the Mignonette Garden Club would then-soon partake in a picnic before heading to the rock garden for a tour conducted by Frederick Noble Evans, superintendent of the city’s parks department.
Evans, who held the same position at the time the garden was constructed, was referred to in an April 3, 1945 Bee article as having called the attention of local flower enthusiasts to the more than 5,000 daffodils which were adding color to the rock garden.
William G. Chorley, then-maintenance supervisor of William Land Park, was pictured in The Bee’s May 9, 1953 edition, as he was working on herb plantings.
In another Bee photo, which was published in that paper on July 8, 1955, Miriam Hall, Zelpha Smith and June Wallace are shown enjoying a break on a wall of the rock garden.
In present times, a sign on the south end of the garden reads: “WPA Rock Garden.” That year represents when the project was completed.
The garden was named by Daisy Mah, the city maintenance worker and gardener who would become synonymous with the garden.
Mah is credited for having restored the garden, which had become neglected.
In an article paying tribute to Mah in The Bee’s Jan. 20, 2007 edition, it was noted that prior to Mah’s assistance, the garden was a “rough and tumble patch of overgrown ivy, weeds and half-dead scrub oaks.”
The same article mentioned that after Mah became involved with the site, it had become a “cottage garden with a decidedly California/Mediterranean twist [with] thousands of shrubs, perennials, annuals, bulbs and trees.
Mah, who shared her story about restoring and maintaining the rock garden for the second part of this series, expressed her satisfaction with the garden’s present anniversary and with her work with the garden.
“Wow, 75 years, and to think I was part of one-third of those years,” Mah said. “I’m surprised, because I haven’t thought of it in that (historical) way for years. I feel proud to be a part of the WPA legacy and I did what I could to keep the garden alive and thriving. I feel a little bit like I was connected to an important part of the past.”

Lance@valcomnews.com

Former resident recalls early Japanese presence in Riverside-Pocket area

Lily, James and Emmie Kato are dressed up for an Independence Day gathering in this 1933 photograph. Photo courtesy of Emmie (Kato) Makishima

Lily, James and Emmie Kato are dressed up for an Independence Day gathering in this 1933 photograph. Photo courtesy of Emmie (Kato) Makishima

Editor’s Note: This is part three in a series regarding historic Asian districts of Sacramento.

When it comes to Japanese history of the Riverside-Pocket area, Emmie (Kato) Makishima is someone who has no trouble recalling first-hand details about that area.
After reading the first articles of this series, Emmie, 88, expressed a desire to share various details regarding her memories of that area.
Emmie, who presently resides in Rio Linda, spoke about the main concentration of early day Japanese of the Riverside-Pocket area.
“It was actually from Sutterville Road – Japanese lived across from the zoo and had farms over there – to all the way to the brickyard (which was located next to today’s Lake Greenhaven),” Emmie said. “And past the brickyard was mostly the Portuguese.”
In regard to the farming site of the family of Rose (Ishimoto) Takata, who was noted in the initial article of this series as having resided near today’s Cabrillo Civic Club #5 at 4605 Karbet Way, Emmie said, “There weren’t that many Japanese farming there, but further down south there were quite a few.”
Emmie added that she grew up on a ranch a short distance from the old brickyard.
“I lived on (the old Riverside Road), near the Portuguese’s Lisbon (area), as they called it,” Emmie said. “I lived near where the brickyard used to be (located), where (the development of) Greenhaven 70 (was later constructed) with all those homes. That was our farmland that we rented. And there were about a dozen Japanese families that rented from this one lady (Marion J. Donnellan). And with the war, we had to evacuate and the lady sold the land. So, somebody else bought it and they developed it into all these homes.
A 1908 surveyor’s map of the Pocket area, by Ashley and Campbell, shows three parcels of land in the area that were owned by Donnellan. The acreages of those parcels were listed as 317.9, 110.5 and 17.6.
Additionally, a 1962 city document refers to the “525.386-acre tract of land designated ‘Marion J. Donnellan.’”
During her interview with this publication, Emmie named the surnames of several Japanese families who resided near her former Riverside area home. Those names were Hikiji, Kimira, Oto, Suyama, Kobayashi, Muramoto, Miura, Morita, Tsugawa and Tanaka.
And in speaking about her parents, Emmie said, “My father was Yohei Kato. He came from Shizuoka, Japan. He went to Hawaii to work in the sugar cane fields on the big island (of Hawaii in) Naalehu. He got to know the man who was the supervisor and he had three sons. So, he hung around with them. And during the First (World) War, all of them were in the Army, but the war ended before they were sent overseas. So, they trained at Schofield Barracks (on the island of Oahu). So, he got to know the supervisor, because of his sons, and then they had a younger sister (named Satski). That’s who my father married. A few months after they got married, (Yohei) came to Sacramento (in 1919) and farmed with some of his buddies he was in the Army with in Hawaii. And this was in Sacramento where they call it Swanston Drive now. They had a big farmland there owned by the Swanstons, and so they farmed over there. About a year later, he called for my mother and she came. Soon after that, they moved down to Donellan’s ranch, where they rented this property. It was 30 acres that they farmed. And it was a rental.”
Emmie said that not counting her Naalehu-born brother, Kiyoshi, who died when he was about a month, she had three siblings, George, Lily and James.
In recalling her own family farm and other Japanese farms near her old Riverside home, Emmie said, “Everybody in our area were truck gardeners, (who grew) vegetables. Most of the farms were close to Riverside Road, either on the side of the river or the opposite. My father grew all kinds of vegetables. We grew, let’s see, corn, cabbage, cauliflower, radish. I don’t think we had anything that took too (much) time to bundle. Let’s see, we didn’t have tomatoes. We had watermelons. Most of these things we had to put on the wagon with the horse pulling the wagon. We brought (the filled wagon) to the tank house, where we washed the vegetables up by the house. The roads were not paved out in the field. It was dirt, so when it was raining and muddy, that’s why we had to use the horse and wagon. They would bring (the produce by truck) to the farmers’ market on 5th Street, near Broadway. And then he got orders from different grocery stores, too, like Arata Bros. And there was a Red & White market. So, (Sohei) would deliver (produce) to these grocery stores, and in exchange he might get some groceries or money.”
Through his service during the war, Yohei acquired his American citizenship.
Emmie recalled that following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, her father was approached by the FBI, who immediately departed after learning that he was an American citizen.
She added that although Yohei did not own his own land, he did own his own house and crops, which proved additionally important to him in 1942.
“When they were working (on that property) and they had to evacuate, (Yohei) was able to sell (his assets) to a group of Chinese people from San Francisco,” Emmie said. “So, all the crops and the house and the farm equipment, everything was sold to them. So, in that way he was lucky, because he didn’t lose everything.”
Following the war, Emmie resided in Minnesota, where she underwent training to become a registered nurse. She later passed the state board for that work in Washington.
Emmie moved to Sacramento in 1950, where she worked at Sutter Hospital at 2820 L St. and resided near Curtis Park.
She also spent some time residing in Fresno before returning to Sacramento, where she married Joe Makishima in 1957. Joe died at the age of 80 on July 22, 2003.
Joe and Emmie, who had three daughters, Kimi (Joanne), Keiko (Diane) and Sherri, moved to Rio Linda in 1959.
Emmie is presently active in her community, as she volunteers for the Rio Linda-Elverta Historical Society and the Friends of the Rio Linda Library.

Japantown was a thriving community, just west of state Capitol

Sehei Ishimoto often sold his Sacramento area grown produce and eggs in the city’s Japantown, near the state Capitol.

Sehei Ishimoto often sold his Sacramento area grown produce and eggs in the city’s Japantown, near the state Capitol.

Editor’s Note: This is part two in a series regarding historic Asian districts of Sacramento.

During her recent interview with this publication, Rose (Ishimoto) Takata, who grew up in the historic Riverside area, referred to a now nonexistent community, west of the state Capitol, known as Japantown.
In sharing a memory about that community, Takata said, “Well, my dad (Sehei Ishimoto) used to take us there (to Japantown), because he had to sell his eggs and the crops that we grew. Well, of course, we had Chinese cabbage. We used to have what they call daikon – Japanese radish – and we used to do green onion. I’m sure we had cucumber and stuff, too. But, mainly, we took whatever we had to the Japanese market in Japantown. I would say (that market was located in) the main part (of Japantown), somewhere around (today’s Capitol Mall), somewhere around 3rd (Street).”
Sacramento’s Japantown, which was basically located within an area bounded by 2nd, 5th, L and O streets, began to take form in the late 19th century.
An essay, entitled “A Portrait of Sacramento’s Japanese Community,” by Cheryl Lynn Cole, notes: “It is not known for certain when the first Japanese arrived in Sacramento. Probably several passed through the city in 1868 while on their way to the Gold Hill Silk Colony, located between Coloma and modern Highway 50. And possibly some of them returned to reside in the city when that colony collapsed a few years later.”
A 1910 federal immigration commission report regarding “Japanese and other immigrant races in the Pacific Coast and Rocky Mountain states” notes: “The Japanese population of Sacramento is estimated to have been 12 in 1883 and 100 in 1893. According to the census, it was 337 in 1900. In June 1909, it was estimated at 1,000. About 700 of these Japanese were connected with business enterprises and professions or were unoccupied members of the families of persons thus gainfully employed. Some 300 were employed as porters in saloons, clubs and other places conducted by white persons, as domestics or as general ‘help’ in the city. The 1,000 just mentioned is the estimated number of the Japanese ‘settled’ or regularly residing there.”
The report also refers to a “floating population, which ranged from 200 to 2,500 Japanese people. The latter number was mentioned to have been the result of Japanese who gathered in the city during the last two weeks of August before they headed to work at nearby hop fields.
Sacramento was noted in the 1910 report to have been an important distribution point for Japanese laborers for the then past 20 years.
And in regard to early living accommodations for Japanese in Sacramento, the report states that Japanese laborers discovered that they were not welcomed in “white boardinghouses” in the city, and that that they did not find Chinese conducted lodging houses to be suitable to their standards.
The reactionary measure for these Japanese was for them to operate their own boarding and lodging houses.
In 1891, Sacramento became home to two Japanese operated hotels and a Japanese run lodging house. Several other similar places were operating in the city by the mid-1890s.
Sacramento’s Japanese population continued to expand and evolve with businesses and residential establishments, and their downtown community grew to become recognized as Japantown.
An example of the early growth in Japanese businesses in Sacramento is the expansion in the number of Japanese goods stores. The first of those stores opened in 1893 and by 1909, there were 12 such stores in the capital city.
Sacramento became home to its first Japanese bathhouse in 1891 and its first barbershop and restaurant serving Japanese and American food two years later. By 1909, Sacramento was home to 26 Japanese run barbershops, and 36 Japanese operated restaurants, 28 of which were located in Japantown.
In living up to its name, Japantown was certainly like a town, as it would grow to include many more establishments, including banks, grocery stores, fish markets, drugstores, tailor shops, shoe repair shops, laundries, furnishings stores, employment agencies, book and stationery stores, photography studios, a newspaper, printing shops, bicycle shops, churches and even a motion picture theater.
The first Japanese run grocery store in Japantown was in operation as early as 1893, and by 1909, 12 such businesses were operating in the area.
The 1910 federal immigration commission report refers to Japantown as the “Japanese quarter,” and mentions that most of the city’s Japanese lived and worked within that area.
“It is evident that (Sacramento’s Japanese) are closely colonized,” the report noted.
In addition to their success in the Sacramento area, local Japanese also experienced hardships related to discrimination.
For instance, the Webb-Haney Act, which was more commonly known as the California Alien Land Law of 1913, prohibited people who were not American citizens or not eligible for citizenship from owning agricultural land. The law, which was mainly directed toward Japanese, also banned such people from leasing the same property for more than three years.
Local Japanese were later targeted in the Johnson-Reid Act – aka the Immigration Act of 1924 – which, among other things, halted Japanese immigration to America. The law was enacted on May 26, 1924.
Undoubtedly, a great tragedy in the lives of Sacramento’s Japanese occurred as a result of the signing of Executive Order 9066 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on Feb. 19, 1942.
The presidential approval of this order, which occurred following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, allowed for the assembly, evacuation and relocation of more than 100,000 men, women and children of Japanese ancestry residing on the West Coast.
In regard to the removal of Sacramento’s Japanese from the capital city, a related article from the initial portion of that event appeared on the front page of The Sacramento Bee on Wednesday, May 13, 1942.
In describing the scene on that day, The Bee reported the following: “Carrying only their personal effects, large numbers of Japanese families, including tiny babies and gray haired oldsters, began gathering in front of the (Memorial) Auditorium shortly before 8 a.m. today. There they boarded buses for the short trip to camp.
“Streets were blocked off near the loading areas on I Street, between Fifteenth and Sixteenth streets, and on Fifteenth Street, between I and J streets, so that the evacuation could be carried on in an orderly manner.”
Following the war, many Japanese, who had resided in Sacramento’s Japantown, returned to that area and discovered that it had become occupied by others who had filled the vacancy created by their internment.
Available housing in that area, as well as throughout the city, was scarce following the war, and some local Japanese resorted to temporarily residing at the old Camp Walerga, where they had been detained before heading to the Tule Lake internment camp, near the Oregon border.
Eventually, the once thriving “Japanese quarter” made a partial comeback only to be eliminated again in the 1960s, this time in the name of redevelopment through the creation of Capitol Mall.

Lance@valcomnews.com

California Indian Heritage Center: A partnership between state and tribes

The future California Indian Heritage Center will be located on this property, along the Sacramento River in West Sacramento. Photo courtesy of California State Parks

The future California Indian Heritage Center will be located on this property, along the Sacramento River in West Sacramento. Photo courtesy of California State Parks

Editor’s Note: This is part two of a two-part series about the future California Indian Heritage Center.

The future California Indian Heritage Center in West Sacramento, as explained in the first article of this series, is on course to open in less than a decade. The center will replace the California State Indian Museum, which opened on the grounds of Sutter’s Fort in 1940.
In commenting about the initial phase of the project, Dana Jones, district superintendent of the Capital District for California State Parks, said that the closure of the present museum and the movement of its collection to the initial portion of the future center “will definitely happen in less than 10 years.” And she added, “The full build-out of the new project is more than 10 years (away from its completion).”
Curtis Park resident Larry Myers, who serves as president of the California Indian Heritage Center Foundation, described the future center as a “necessary” place.
“It’s necessary (to build the center),” said Myers, who is a member of the Pinoleville Pomo Nation, a federally recognized tribe of the Pomo people in Mendocino County. “It’s something very vital. It’s something that the Indian community needs, that the citizens of California need. I think it’s something that can be just really great, and I think the Indians of California really deserve something like this.”
Myers, who moved to Sacramento from the Mendocino County city of Ukiah (where his tribe conducts its business) 35 years ago, spoke with much enthusiasm regarding the partnership that has been formed between the state and California Indian tribes, in regard to the future center, which will be located across from Discovery Park, overlooking the confluence of the Sacramento and American rivers.
“What we anticipate is the tribes are going to be the leaders in what the (center’s) designs are going to look like, what needs to be displayed and how its going to be displayed,” Myers said. “So, it’s not going to be up to me or the State Parks to say this is what we’re going to display at this time. The tribes, they know their history and they know what’s important to them, so they can say this is important to be displayed right now and we want to make changing exhibits. Obviously, there are going to be a lot more displays than what is currently in the state Indian Museum.

The site of the future Indian center is outlined in yellow in this aerial photograph. Photo courtesy of California State Parks

The site of the future Indian center is outlined in yellow in this aerial photograph. Photo courtesy of California State Parks

“That’s what makes this partnership so unique is it’s state parks’ property, and state parks is going to play a big role in it, but it’s (the tribes’) culture and it’s their heritage and it’s important that they are the driving force behind the story that is told.
“What state parks is excited about is the ability to create this new idea of a partnership and allow the people whose culture it is to be able to tell their story. I think we’re kind of creating a new future for partnerships in state parks.”
Myers said that there have been many efforts to encourage more California Indian tribe members to become involved with the project.
“We need people that want to preserve (their history),” Myers said. “You need people that are interested in their culture, and want to preserve it and want to share it. We need them involved in what we do and how we do it. And, right now I think and feel we (will not) get excitement until we start to build. I think the community is going to be sort of sitting there watching. For the last 25 years or so, I’ve been involved in trying to get this thing completed and working at it and talking to people. There have been efforts in the past to try to (get more people involved). The community has got to the point of (wondering), ‘Well, maybe it will happen, maybe not.’ (A) just wait and see kind of thing.”
Although it was reported by this publication on April 15, 2010 that the new center had been scheduled to open during the summer of 2016, Ileana Maestas, environmental coordinator for the capital district and former curator of the Indian museum, assures the community that the extension for the opening of the museum simply comes with the territory of establishing a new museum.
“Well, I think (people are) kind of holding their breaths, because this project has been going on so long,” Maestas said. “Everybody has the same question, ‘Why is this taking so long?’ I totally understand that. But it’s not a project that’s been passive by any means. Coming from someone who worked in the museum world, to get a museum off the ground, it takes time, and I think it has taken extra time, because of the whole state process. When I look at some of the other major museums that have been created, they take time.”

Lance@valcomnews.com

KCRA introduced to Sacramento radio listeners nearly 70 years ago

KCRA announcer Steve George is shown in this 1940s photograph. Photo courtesy of Sacramento Public Library, Sacramento Room

KCRA announcer Steve George is shown in this 1940s photograph. Photo courtesy of Sacramento Public Library, Sacramento Room

Editor’s Note: This is the fourth article in a series about the history of broadcasting in the Sacramento area. This series was inspired by readers’ positive responses to previous articles about local television history in this publication and several requests to feature histories of local radio stations.

Sacramento experienced much growth in the radio world in 1945, when the city was introduced to two new local commercial stations.
The first of those stations to be introduced to Sacramento radio listeners was KCRA-AM.
With its official debut on April 23, 1945 at 6 a.m., KCRA-AM became Sacramento’s third commercial radio station, as it joined KFBK, which first broadcast in 1925, and KROY, which first went on the air in 1937.
The original partnership of the station consisted of Vernon Hansen of the Crystal Cream and Butter Co.; David R. McKinley, owner of Channel Bakeries, and Ewing Cole “Gene” Kelly, operator of a local advertising agency.
That partnership, which was recognized as the Central Valleys Broadcasting Co., was organized three years prior to the establishment of KCRA-AM.
Hansen, Kelly and McKinley filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission in July 1944 and received a grant for operating a radio station on Nov. 9, 1944.
Construction on the KCRA-AM studios began on March 14, 1945.
KCRA-AM made its unofficial debut on April 12, 1945, when Gov. Earl Warren was brought to the station by Kelly to comment on the air regarding the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
The station, which was then the only National Broadcasting Company outlet in the Sacramento Valley, began on a wavelength of 1340 kilocycles and was serviced by Associated Press news and World Broadcasting Company entertainment features.
The first main studios of KCRA-AM were located in the Capital National Bank Building at 1007 7th St., and the station then-utilized a 250-watt transmitter and a 200-foot tower that sat 900 feet north of A Street at 27th Street.
The station’s other studios included facilities in the California-Western State Life Insurance Building at 926 J St., Room 604.
According to an article in the April 23, 1945 edition of The Sacramento Union, the original programs of KCRA-AM were broadcast to an audience of 350,000 in Sacramento, Yolo, Solano, Colusa, Nevada, Placer, Sutter, Yuba and El Dorado counties.
KCRA-AM was joined by KCRA 96.1 FM in 1947.
A U.S. commercial FM stations directory, compiled from official FCC records through Sept. 2, 1947, notes that the license for KCRA-FM was granted on March 12, 1947.
On Nov. 18, 1948, a voluntary assignment of license from Central Valleys Broadcasting Co. to KCRA, Inc. was completed.
It was also in the late 1940s when KCRA-AM made its move from 1340 kilocycles to 1320 kilocycles.
The Union reported on Sept. 11, 1949 that KCRA would be relocating from its then headquarters at 926 J St. to a building at 1011 11th Street, above the Country Maid Creamery restaurant “in 60 to 90 days.”
With that move, KCRA increased it overall floor space from 1,200 square feet to 4,000 square feet. The new plant featured two large studios, a control room and 15 offices.
It was also around that time that Howard Smiley, who formerly worked for KFBK and KROY, was hired as KCRA’s station manager.
In 1955, KCRA opened its new radio and TV studios at 310 10th St.
KCRA-TV was originally under the proprietorship of Gene Kelly and brothers Vernon, Gerald and Kenneth Hansen.
Gene Kelly died at the age of 57 on Oct. 29, 1960 and his widow, Nina, officially became a licensee of the corporation.
Another KCRA license change occurred on May 23, 1962, when the Hansen family, then owners of 50 percent of KCRA’s AM, FM and TV licenses, sold their share of the business to Nina and her sons, Robert E. and Jon S. Kelly. At that point, the Kellys officially began doing business as the Kelly Broadcasting Co.
KCRA-FM became KCTC in September 1968.
In 1977, the Kelly Broadcasting Co. began operating radio studios at 2225 19th St.
On July 3, 1978, The Sacramento Bee reported that the FCC had approved the transfer of licenses of KCRA-AM and KCTC to WGN of California, Inc. for $5.6 million.
It was also noted in the article that the Kelly Broadcasting Co. had reached an agreement on the sale with WGN Continental Broadcasting Co. during the previous August, and that the Kelly Broadcasting Co. had continued to operate the stations until the sale was completed.
KCRA 1320 AM became KGNR News Radio 132 in August 1978.
As for the second aforementioned radio station to begin its operations in Sacramento in 1945, a history of that station – KXOA – will be presented in the next edition of this publication.

Lance@valcomnews.com

Charles Swanston Memorial Fountain pays tribute to early area resident

The Charles Swanston statue is among the various memorials at William Land Park.

The Charles Swanston statue is among the various memorials at William Land Park.

At the west end of William Land Park and bordering the north side of the Sacramento Zoo, is a memorial fountain that is dedicated to an early day Sacramentan named Charles Swanston.
In being that Charles died more than 125 years ago, it is understandable that many people in this community would benefit from a history regarding this former local citizen.
Born in Ohio to Ireland natives William and Elizabeth (McCurdy) Swanston on June 21, 1833, Charles was raised in that state, working on his father’s farm.
In 1865, Charles made his way to the Golden State, where he would initially work as a stock buyer for various parties.
Charles’ next financial endeavor was to establish a butcher’s shop.
According to the 1931 book, “History of the Sacramento Valley, California, Vol. 2,” Charles’ expanded business later became the largest of its kind in the Sacramento Valley and the only packing concern in the capital city.
As part of his business, which became strictly a wholesale operation, Charles owned 200 acres of land about two miles from Sacramento. On that property, he had packing and slaughterhouse structures that included the then latest equipment.
Charles was a large buyer and seller of stock for his business, which was also a feeder of beef cattle in Nevada and Oregon.
The aforementioned 1931 history book notes that Charles had an “unerring judgment in the selection of bullocks, sheep and hogs” and was “a man of great vision and abundant faith in the future development of the Sacramento Valley, a faith that he backed with his time, efforts and money.”
In 1861, Charles married the then-21-year-old Nancy M. Powers, who was a native of Beaver County, Penn., and together, they had three children, Lillian, George and Frank.
Nancy died at the age of 35 and her funeral was held at her old residence on K Street, between 18th and 19th streets.
George would eventually join his father in his business, and together they established the meat packing firm, Swanston & Son.
Swanston & Son was in operation as early as 1892, and George, who was a partner and general manager of the business, was heading a branch office in the Stoll Building at the southwest corner of 5th and K streets by at least 1898.
On April 14, 1911, Charles returned home from a trip to Bakersfield and complained of feeling faint. He died in the early morning of the next day before a doctor could arrive at his residence.
An announcement of Charles’ death in the April 16, 1911 edition of The San Francisco Call notes that he was “known from the Mexican border to Nevada, Oregon and Idaho as one of the biggest cattlemen in the state” and that through his business he owned large tracts of rich agricultural land in the Sacramento Valley.
The firm continued to successfully operate following Charles’ death.
An example of the business’s latter large scale operations appears in a brief news item in the April 5, 1913 edition of The Pacific Rural Press. That item reads: “Swanston & Son have been putting 1,000 head of steers from the San Joaquin Valley on their Colusa, Yolo and Lake county range. The cattle will be sent later to the Klamath Meadows to be finished for beef.”
On Nov. 14, 1922, the same publication reported: “Swanston & Son, Sacramento, topped the steer sale (at the California National Livestock Show in San Francisco) by paying 25 cents per pound for the champion shorthorn steer, Straloch Corporal (who was dropped at the Straloch Farm in Davis on Jan. 11, 1921).”
Among the various employees of the firm was Oswald Hall, a butcher who resided at 1930 F St.
Swanston & Son remained in operation until as late as 1926 under its president Robert Swanston, who was the son of George Swanston.
As a tribute to his father, George Swanston donated $10,000 for the creation of the aforementioned Charles Swanston Memorial Fountain, which sits upon a knoll and includes a statue of Charles that bears the inscriptions: “To the pioneers” and “Erected by George Swanston in memory of his father Charles Swanston.”
Although the featured topic of this article is the legacy of Charles, it should be recognized that George’s legacy is also substantial.
In addition to his successful business affairs with his father, George, in association with F.H. McKevitt, was involved with the 1922 sale of property, which would become William Land Park.
George died on July 23, 1923, prior to the completion of the park and its memorial fountain.
The memorial fountain was mentioned in the Jan. 4, 1923 minutes of the Sacramento City Council, as follows: “Communication from George Swanston (sic) relative to the adoption of plans for the improvement of William Land Park and his offer to build or cause to be built a public drinking fountain to be placed in the William Land Park and to be known as the Charles Swanston Memorial Fountain was ordered filed.”
The memorial, which sits in the park’s formal garden area, was designed and sculpted by the famous sculptor, painter, muralist, etcher and art educator Ralph Stackpole (1885-1973). It was officially accepted by the city on June 18, 1926.
Stackpole, who was a native of Williams, Ore., moved to San Francisco when he was 16 years old and became a student at the California School of Design (predecessor of the San Francisco Art Institute) two years later. At that institution, he was a student of painter Arthur F. Mathews (1860-1945). And at the same time, he was an apprentice of sculptor Arthur Putnum (1873-1930).
The great San Francisco earthquake of 1906 destroyed the Nob Hill home of the California School of Design.
Stackpole next studied art in Paris, and, in 1911, he returned to the United States, spending a year studying in New York under the Ohio-born artist Robert Henri (1865-1929).
Stackpole then made his way back to San Francisco, where he established an art studio at 728 Montgomery St. and taught sculpture classes at the California School of Design for many years. He also spent two years teaching the same subject at Mills College in Oakland.
It was during that era of his life that Stackpole created many sculpted works, including those for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco and the 1939-40 Golden Gate International Exposition. His works also include murals in Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill in San Francisco and in the Sacramento City College auditorium, and a fountain at Cesar Chavez Plaza on the block bounded by 9th, 10th, I and J streets.
In 1922, Stackpole became friends with the famous Mexican muralist Diego Rivera (1886-1957), who he would bring to San Francisco eight years later.
Stackpole spent the final two decades of his life residing in Chauriat, France.
Like Stackpole, Charles Swanston left a strong legacy in this world.
In addition to his monument and other Swanston named local landmarks, including Land Park’s Swanston Way and Swanston Park at 2350 Northrop Ave., Charles has been memorialized through many positive words.
Certainly, among the words that support the worthiness of having a monument dedicated in his honor are the following words published in the aforementioned 1931 book: “Indeed (Charles) was a prominent factor in the commercial development of this city and was recognized as a man of reliable judgment, fine public spirit and genuine worth.”

Lance@valcomnews.com

Japanese had early presence in Riverside-Pocket area

Rose (Ishimoto) Takata grew up in the historic Riverside area of Sacramento. Photo by Lance Armstrong

Rose (Ishimoto) Takata grew up in the historic Riverside area of Sacramento. Photo by Lance Armstrong

Editor’s Note: This is part one in a series regarding historic Asian districts of Sacramento.

Much has been written about the Portuguese people of the early years of the Riverside-Pocket area in this publication. But it should be recognized that Japanese also have a rich history in that area.
By the 1920s, the Riverside-Pocket area consisted of about two-thirds Portuguese people and about one-third Japanese people.
Certainly, one person who knows a considerable amount about that area’s early Japanese history is 91-year-old Riverside area native Shigeko “Rose” (Ishimoto) Takata.
During an interview with this publication last week, Takata recalled some of her early memories of that area.
“I still remember quite a bit of what went on when I was young,” said Takata, who was one of the six children of Sehei and Chiyo Ishimoto. “I went to school there (in the Riverside area) in the 1930s. I went to Sutter School (in a building that now houses Cabrillo Civic Club #5 at 4605 Karbet Way).”
In regard to some of the Japanese families of that area, Takata said, “One was named Kanaka, and mine was Ishimoto, of course, and we both had chickens and then we also grew vegetables. But it was mostly chicken. We were a chicken ranch. And there was (the) Kawai (family). They were just strictly (a vegetable farming family). I don’t know what kind of (vegetable) farming it was, but (it was vegetable) farming. (The Kanakas) and us, we were mainly chicken farmers. These three Japanese families lived on (the same) property (near Sutter School).
“There were other (Japanese families) right around the Sutter School there. A bunch of them had poultry farms. We kind of centered right around the school where I lived. There was one other (Japanese family) that was fairly far (away). Most of us residents had farms. You know where The Trap is? The Trap (which did not yet have that name) was there at the time we were there, too. It was owned by the Pimentels. That’s an old bar that’s been there for years and years and years. But anyway, around The Trap (at 6125 Riverside Blvd.), around that area, that Greenhaven area, there were a lot of farmers, truck farms. And then further up by (today’s) Pocket Road and so forth, around there were (several) Japanese farms. (The farms) went from Pocket Road to the river (levee).”
In response to the inquiry of when her family began residing in the Riverside area, Tanaka said, “I can’t say, but my oldest brother (Yoshio) was born in 1914, and they were already here (in the Riverside area). We lived by where the Sutter School was (located) on (the old) Riverside Road. I remember our rural route box number (at that time) was 123. We moved later just before the war (to) Sutterville Heights, which is near William Land Park, in that area.

This photograph from the 1941 C.K. McClatchy High School yearbook shows Rose Ishimoto, who would later become Rose Takata.

This photograph from the 1941 C.K. McClatchy High School yearbook shows Rose Ishimoto, who would later become Rose Takata.

The 1900 U.S. Federal Census lists the then 20-year-old Japanese native Sehei Ishimoto as a farm laborer residing in the San Joaquin Township of Sacramento County with Japanese immigrants K. Toro (24-year-old head of household) and M. Toro (28-year-old brother of K. Toro). And the same census notes that Sehei immigrated to the United States in 1899.
The San Francisco Call, in its Wednesday, Aug. 20, 1913 edition, recognizes that Sehei and Chiyo were married during the previous day.
Included under a heading, which reads, “SAN FRANCISCO – The following marriage licenses were issued Wednesday (sic), August 19, 1913,” are the words: “ISHIMOTO-IWATSUBO – Sehei Ishimoto, 32, and Chiyo Iwatsubo, 20, both of Sacramento.”
The 1920 Census notes that Chiyo emigrated from Japan in 1913 and was then residing with her husband and three children on Riverside Road in the Riverside area of Sacramento County.
In recalling her school days, Takata said, “We were in the Sutter School District. There were people who lived beyond (today’s) The Trap (bar, at the present address of 6125 Riverside Blvd., and attended the Lisbon schools). (That) was another area that had Japanese.”
After departing from Sutter School each day, Takata would attend classes at a Japanese school.
In recalling that school, Takata said, “I did go to a Japanese school. Just about everybody did (attend that school). They had classes from first grade to eighth grade, and then on Saturdays they had what they called middle school. There must have been at least 100 kids (who attended the Japanese school). I would think, but I really have no idea. The classes were divided. There were two rooms. From Sutter School where we went, (the Japanese) school was, oh, I would say only about maybe four or five blocks (away). My teacher (at the Japanese school) was Matsumura. I think at one time I knew (her first name).”
Takata also recalled several of her classmates, including Ruth Imoto, Noboru Oto and her best friend, Yaeko Muramoto.
After school, Takata would complete chores on her family’s farm.
Takata later attended California Junior High School at 2991 Land Park Dr. and graduated from C.K. McClatchy High School in June 1941.
After being asked to summarize her life growing up during the Depression, Rose Takata said, “I tell people, we were poor, but we didn’t know it. I grew up in the 1930s. We always had food, we always had clothing, and we had a (Japanese) baseball team, you know, we had different things.”

Lance@valcomnews.com

Indian museum scheduled to close in less than a decade

The California State Indian Museum has been located on the grounds of Sutter’s Fort since 1940. The museum will be replaced by the future California Indian Heritage Center in West Sacramento. Photo by Lance Armstrong

The California State Indian Museum has been located on the grounds of Sutter’s Fort since 1940. The museum will be replaced by the future California Indian Heritage Center in West Sacramento. Photo by Lance Armstrong

Editor’s Note: This is part one in a series about the future California Indian Heritage Center.

Plans for the replacement of the California State Indian Museum on the grounds of Sutter’s Fort with the California Indian Heritage Center in West Sacramento are progressing slowly but surely.
Once scheduled to open during the summer of 2016, the future center is now on course to open in less than a decade.
In speaking about the change in plans for the opening of that center, Dana Jones, district superintendent of the Capital District for California State Parks, said, “Our timeline has been a little stretched. For the full build out, I would have to say, yes (to the center not being completed for more than a decade), but we are making significant progress right now. We are in the final stages of the (land) acquisition process. So, where the property is actually going to come over to State Parks, we anticipate that that’s going to be done by the end of this year. It has to go through the (state) Public Works Board. At that time, State Parks will be the owner of the 50 acres of the property, and we will be able to take a look at at least starting to program things on it and look at the future of what we’re building and what phases we’re building in.”
Jones added that the state already owns seven acres of the site, which is located across from Discovery Park, overlooking the confluence of the Sacramento and American rivers. The future center’s remaining 43 acres of the site was selected as a result of the city of West Sacramento’s agreement to donate the property for the project.
Ileana Maestas, environmental coordinator for the capital district and former curator of the Indian museum, said that she is eagerly anticipating the eventual opening of the Indian center.
“The California State Indian Museum is a special place and I’m really excited that this (Indian center) project is going on, because the state Indian museum will morph into the California Indian Heritage Center,” Maestas said. “So, it will be bigger, it will be more dynamic and just much more available so people can see about California Indian culture.”
Maestas also noted that California Indian tribes will play a substantial role in the development of the center.
“We’re in collaboration with the Indian community and we want them to make sure that they sign off on all that,” Maestas said. “Once this land transfers, the (Indian) community is going to be a lot more involved in deciding the type of museum that they want, the (structures), the layout, the square footage. Because this is (about) how they want their story told. And that’s why they called it a heritage center and not a museum. They want the public and the people who visit (the center) to understand that California Indian culture is unique and (it is) a culture that is alive and dynamic. In California, there are over 100 tribes, so the diversity of California tribes is big, too.”
In commenting about the tribes’ future involvement with the center, Larry Myers, president of the California Indian Heritage Center Foundation, said, “I guess when it finally opens, it will have, I think, an immeasurable impact on the Native American community. And the spiritual impact it’s going to have, it’s going to be a place that the Native American people are going to want to come, not just to read a book or look at artifacts, but also to work on materials, to do things, to do baskets or whatever art that they may want to do, or if there’s something spiritual that they need to know or they want to practice, this would be a place to do it.”
Jones explained that the size of the present museum is a problem, since it houses “substantially less than 5 percent” of its collection.
But Jones also emphasized that most museums do not display a large percentage of their collections.
And when asked to estimate what percentage of the collection will be on display at the new center, Jones said, “It really all depends, because we haven’t designed what it’s going to look like or the size of it. But it’s really important not to display everything (at the same time), because you (want) the ability to have rotating displays and to bring people in and (have) new things for people to look at.”
Maestas said that the new center’s large size gives it an advantage over the present Indian museum.
If there’s an exhibit at another (museum), say the Smithsonian did an exhibit on California Indians, then we would have the space to get that exhibit in,” Maestas said. “Where as right now, at the state Indian museum, that’s the one thing I would say about it, it doesn’t change. It tells the story of the Indian people, but we can’t bring in more contemporary stories, other parts of the stories. Things just stay the way they are, because there is no space to have new exhibits.”

Lance@valcomnews.com

KROY was among Sacramento’s early radio stations

Editor’s Note: This is the third article in a series about the history of broadcasting in the Sacramento area. This series was inspired by readers’ positive responses to previous articles about local television history in this publication and several requests to feature histories of local radio stations.

The now defunct Sacramento AM radio station KROY made its debut in 1937. Its history also includes the operation of the FM station, KROI – later KROY FM. Photo courtesy of the Lance Armstrong Collection

The now defunct Sacramento AM radio station KROY made its debut in 1937. Its history also includes the operation of the FM station, KROI – later KROY FM. Photo courtesy of the Lance Armstrong Collection

Sacramento radio station KFBK, which was featured in the last article of this series, remained the city’s only commercial radio station until Monday, March 15, 1937. It was on that date that KROY, which would eventually operate in the Arden area, made its official debut at 1210 AM.

Efforts to establish KROY was described in an article in the Nov. 6, 1935 edition of The Sacramento Bee. In that article it was reported that San Francisco native Royal Miller (1884-1976), who then-resided at 1325 45th St., had applied to operate a new radio station in Sacramento.

Miller, according to the article, commented that KFBK was on the verge of doubling its advertising and enlarging its facilities, and therefore, he believed that Sacramento was in need of a second and smaller commercial radio station.

In addition to his eventual notoriety as the owner of KROY, Miller was well-known as the president of the Miller Automobile Co. at 1520 K St. That company then had an estimated net worth of $136,000.

At various times during his life, Miller had a variety of other roles, including serving as a member of the Sacramento City Council, second vice president of the Sacramento Chamber of Commerce and president of the board of directors of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District.

As previously mentioned, KROY officially went on the air on March 15, 1937. That action occurred at 2 p.m., with a push of a button by Gov. Frank F. Merriam from his office in the state Capitol.

After starting the station’s transmitter, Merriam briefly spoke on air to the station’s first listeners.

KROY’s dedicatory program was broadcast from its studio on the mezzanine level of the Hotel Senator.

The program, which concluded at 6:15 p.m., included greetings by other guest participants, including city, county and state officials. Among those officials were Lt. Gov. George J. Hatfield, Mayor Arthur D. Ferguson, City Manager James S. Dean and Sacramento County executive and purchasing agent Charles W. Deterding, Jr.

During the same evening, at 7:30 p.m., the Sacramento Chamber of Commerce honored Miller with a formal dinner at the Sacramento Hotel at 1107 10th St.

The original KROY staff consisted of Robert Barringer, general manager; Al Wolfle, technical director; Robert S. Spence, program director; Bert F. Hews, news editor; George W. Collipp, sales manager; Lucille McCubbin, receptionist; George F. Strahl, radio operator; Alyse Sullivan, women’s programs; and Harry Oakes, announcer-salesman.

A unique, original offering by KROY was its on air interviews with job applicants, for the benefit of employers through the California State Employment Service.

In 1941, KROY’s frequency was changed to 1240 AM, and the station began transmitting from a 195-foot-tall tower at 3502 Kroy Way in today’s Tahoe Park area.

Two major events in KROY’s history occurred in 1943, as the station changed from its original 100-watt operation to 250 watts of power, and KROY’s license was modified to feature a partnership of owners doing business as Royal Miller Radio. That partnership featured Royal Miller and his wife, Marion Miller, and L.H. Penney and Gladys W. Penney.

The Billboard magazine announced in its May 18, 1946 edition that the Federal Communications Commission had approved the sale of KROY to Harmco, Inc. for $150,000.

In the same edition of that weekly publication, it was noted that the Gibson Broadcasting Co. had submitted the same offer, but was turned down by the FCC, because that company was already operating another radio station, as well as two newspapers.

In the fall of 1952, Harmco, Inc. sold KROY to KROY, Inc., a then-newly formed organization headed by Charles L. McCarthy, for $425,000.

KROY was sold once again, in 1954, to Robert W. Dumm, a former manager of Sacramento radio station KXOA. Dumm had also previously worked as the sales promotion manager of San Francisco radio station KSFO.

In 1956, KROY began broadcasting at 1011 11th St., above the Country Maid Creamery restaurant.

KROY was sold to John T. Carey, Inc. in 1959, and then to Sacramento Broadcasters, Inc., which was headed by Lincoln Dellar, a year later.

It was also about that time when Arden area resident A.J. Richards became KROY’s station manager.

As a station that was known for presenting popular music of respective eras, KROY entered the rock and roll era in the same decade.

For a period of time, KROY regularly played surf music.

During research for this chapter, a unique entry was discovered in the April 11, 1963 city council minutes. That entry reads: “In accordance with verbal recommendation of the city manager, (Bartley W. Cavanaugh), Councilman (Philip C.) Mering moved that the written request of radio station KROY for permission to land a helicopter in Edmonds Field baseball park (at Riverside Boulevard and Broadway) on Saturday, April 13th, for a children’s Easter egg hunt be granted with the stipulation that evidence of insurance be filed, saving the city harmless.”

In early 1966, KROY, which was then a Top 40 format station, relocated to 977 Arden Way.

KROY was then managed by Dwight Case and was advertising itself as an “all request” radio station.

The station relocated its transmitter to the city dump, off 28th Street, in 1966.

It was also around that time that KROY persuaded popular KXOA deejay Johnny Hyde to become a KROY deejay and present his unique, non-Top 40 music program, “The Gear Hour.”

A KROY listeners’ survey list from Oct. 8-14, 1966 shows the titles of 40 top songs and 12 “hit-bound” songs. The top five songs on the main list are “I’m Your Puppet” (James & Bobby Purify), “Poor Side of Town” (Johnny Rivers), “Fortune Teller” (The Rolling Stones), “If I were a Carpenter” (Bobby Darin) and “The Fife Piper” (The Dynatones).

Such survey lists were based on a survey of record sales, listeners’ requests, national sales information and KROY’s “judgment of the record’s appeal to the Sacramento audience.”

A KROY document for the week of April 26 to May 4, 1967 notes that the 12 most requested tunes at that time were: “Yellow Balloon” (Yellow Balloon), “A Day in the Life” (The Beatles), “She Hangs Out” (The Monkees), “Blues Theme” (Davie Allan & The Arrows), “Groovin’” (The Young Rascals), “Somethin’ Stupid” (Nancy and Frank Sinatra), “Dry Your Eyes” (Brenda and The Tabulations), “Creators of Rain” (Smokey and His Sister), “On a Carousel” (The Hollies), “The Sound of Music” (The New Breed), “When I Was Young” (Eric Burdon & The Animals) and “Close Your Eyes” (Peaches & Herb).

In 1968, KROY became recognized as Sacramento’s number one radio station – according to Arbitron ratings books – and it would hold that position for several years.

KROY moved to new studios in the basement of a building at 1017 2nd St. in 1975.

In 1976, KROY 1240 AM was joined by KROI 96.9 FM.

According to a July 25, 1978 article in The Bee, during the previous day, the FCC approved the sale of KROY and KROI to Jonsson Communications, Inc. for a combined $4.08 million.

During the following year, KROI became KROY-FM.

Both KROY stations replaced their Top 40 format with an adult contemporary music format in the early 1980s.

KROY 1240 AM remained in operation until 1982, when it became known as KENZ.

On July 26, 1984, The Bee reported that KROY-FM had ended its rock format.

The article’s lead paragraph reads: “Sacramento radio listeners who had their sets tuned to KROY-FM this morning got a surprise when they awakened to KSAC and the sounds of vocalists like Frank Sinatra instead of the rock music of Van Halen.”

In regard to the KSAC call letters, the article noted that Ken Jonsson, who was president of the firm that owned Sacramento magazine, Heavenly Recording Studios at 620 Bercut Drive and radio stations in Sacramento, Manteca and Reno, played an integral role in securing those letters from a college radio station in Kansas.

The KROY letters were revived in 1985 by the station’s then-new owners, Commonwealth Broadcasting of Northern California.

KROY-FM made news again on Nov. 8, 1988, when The Bee reported that the station had been sold to the Great American Radio and Television Company of Cincinnati, Ohio for $11.7 million.

The article noted: “The station is expected to retain its current format of adult contemporary music. Its assets will be transferred from current owner, Commonwealth Broadcasting, to Great American within the next 90 days, a spokeswoman said.”

KROY-FM, which would eventually be recognized as “Hot 97,” officially left the air permanently in 1990 when it was replaced by radio station KSEG “The Eagle” 96.9 FM.

Lance@valcomnews.com