KROY Sportscaster Ken Gimblin Dies
[April 15, 2014] Longtime KROY sportscaster Ken Gimblin, whose reports celebrated the achievements of Sacramento-area high-school and college athletes and teams, died of a heart attack April 15, 2014, at age 76. Ken was beloved by his KROY colleagues as well as by his fans. He was kind, considerate, polite, and totally committed to promoting youth sports activities.
Ken, who was an educator as well as a broadcaster, was teaching at California
Middle School in Sacramento when KROY program director Johnny Hyde hired
him 1968 to report on sports. His enthusiasm was infectious, and his energy was
seemingly limitless. While maintaining a full-time teaching schedule in the
Sacramento City Unified School District, Ken expanded the scope of his KROY
sportscasts to include Bay Area teams, traveling frequently to the Bay area to
conduct exclusive interviews with numerous players, coaches and managers with
the San Francisco Giants and 49ers, Oakland A’s and Raiders, and Golden State
“He was absolutely perfect in localizing sports and being a programming-plus
rather than an excuse to tune out when news came on,” said Bob Sherwood, who
in the early ’70s succeeded Hyde as program director. “Beyond everything else,
Ken was a lovely human being.”
Former KROY morning host Dave Williams also speaks fondly of Ken.
“He was absolutely one of the most openly friendly people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. Never saw him angry or annoyed about anything. I doubt his face ever contorted into a frown,” Williams said. “People like Ken are few and far between but they leave a part of themselves in each of us. I’m a better man for having known him.”
Ken left KROY briefly to branch out into television in the 1970s, becoming the first sports anchor for KTXL channel 40. He ultimately returned to KROY in 1977 for two more years, but always retained a strong affinity for it. Only six weeks before Ken died, he had asked former KROY production manager Jeff March for a recording of a KROY broadcast from 1973.
Former KROY disc jockey Martin “Wonder Rabbit” Ashley, recalled, “When it came time to do the 1996 KROY on-air reunion on KSEG — formerly KROY-FM — I contacted Ken for his help with the sports elements. He was then teaching at Rosemont High School, and he was thrilled to be part of the old KROY again.”
During other phases of his career, Ken was a publicist for the California State Fair for many years, hosted a syndicated nationwide TV program called Bowling for Dollars, and established a business called Multi-Media News and Sports. He also broadcast sports at various times for KCRA, KGMS and KWOD radio. His teaching career encompassed supervision of the school district’s Practical Politics program, through which high school students served internships at government agencies and in the state Capitol building.
Kenneth Earl Gimblin, who was born in Sacramento on Dec. 2, 1937, had three sisters: Catherine (Wilson), Nancy, and Jean (Cress). Ken also had two daughters, Carolyn (Bonanno) and Jennifer.
We honor and fondly remember these members of the KROY family who are no longer with us.
(left) General Manager John Ogden during his radio years, (right) John and Bonnie enjoying each other's company at their Nevada County home.
KROY Salesman Mike Hamiel Dies
(April 5, 2018) Former KROY advertising sales representative Michael Hamiel, who
devoted five decades of his life to the advertising and broadcasting industries, died
on April 5, 2018, at age 78, four days following a brain hemorrhage. He and his wife,
Aloise, had been married for 40 years.
Mike, who was raised in Columbus, Ohio, served in the U.S. Air Force from 1961 to
1965. As an airman, second class, in 1963, Mike was a disc jockey for the Armed Forces
Radio station at Iraklion Air Station, Crete. One of his air shifts immediately followed
Adrian Cronauer (of “Good Morning, Vietnam” fame).
Following his military discharge, Mike joined the on-air staff at WJNO West Palm Beach,
Florida, in 1966. He moved to television when WJRT channel 12 in Flint, Michigan, hired
him as a floor director and on-camera weather reporter. He subsequently joined KXTV Channel 10 in Sacramento in August 1969 as a weather reporter, working with anchor Dick Cable and sportscaster Creighton Sanders.
After a stint at Sacramento radio station KCRA (1320 AM) as a talk show host in 1971, he entered radio sales with KPSC (96.9 FM) Sacramento. In 1973 Mike joined the sales staff at top-rated Sacramento station KROY (1240 AM), where he excelled during his two years on the strength of his engaging personality and infectious sense of humor. He moved into management in the mid-‘70s as sales manager at KOBO radio (1450 AM) in Yuba City and also at KNDE (1470 AM) Sacramento. He joined the sales staff at KXOA-FM (107.9) when that station switched from top 40 to a highly successful “mellow rock” format, and after relocating to Modesto in 1978 he worked at KTRB (860 AM) and KHOP (104.1 FM), then at KRVR (105.5 FM) in the ’90s.
Mike always enjoyed a good laugh and never shied away from taking risks. “In the early ‘70s while doing nights at KCRA, before the all news format, I made nightly ‘celebrity phone calls’ all over the world,” Mike recalled. “One night I called Algiers, Algeria, in the hope of speaking with Timothy Leary, who was on the lam from a California prison. The Berkley Barb had run a story about Leary's close contact with Black Panther party leader Eldridge Cleaver, who had moved to Algiers. When the operator got me through to their residence, Eldridge took my call. In the course of the conversation I asked him if the Communist Party had any control of the Black Panthers. He answered, “No, I run this %&¢#ing organization.” I thanked him for taking my call and told him I had to break for commercials. ABC Radio picked up the story and ran with it, along with Herb Caen writing it up [for the San Francisco Chronicle].”
In 2001 Mike was in charge of the city of Modesto’s bus bench advertising program. He was as resilient as he was funny. After undergoing quadruple heart bypass surgery in February 2006, Mike said, “I've had more pain from a paper cut.”
An avid recreational golfer, Mike was a freelance writer registered with the California Golf Writers Association, and in the early 2000s broadcast his reviews of golf courses on Sacramento radio station KHTK’s Saturday morning “Golf Talk” program. He retired from full-time work in 2002 but remained a prolific TV commercial voiceover announcer and also worked part-time as regional editor and an advertising sales representative for Golf Today magazine. In recent years he lived in Elk Grove.
Mike, who had no siblings, was a teenager when his father died. His mother passed away in 2007. Mike is survived by his wife, Aloise (a cardiac care registered nurse and a public health nurse); his son, Cody, who was born in 1985; and a cousin, Molly, who lives in Ohio.
Dwight Leland Case
June 29, 1929 – August 9, 2019
Esteemed general manager guided ascendancy of ‘music power’ KROY
Dwight Leland Case, a broadcast industry luminary under whose insightful leadership as general manager KROY radio ascended to an unparalleled era of prominence in the Sacramento region, died at age 90 on August 9, 2019. Earlier in the year he had suffered a stroke, from which he had largely recovered.
Dwight, a superlative salesman, was at once a demanding yet compassionate leader who had a gift for recognizing talent in others and coaxing out potential that they themselves may not have recognized. KROY disc jockeys, sales representatives, and office and technical staff members who worked during Dwight’s tenure at the station value his mentorship and regard him with respect bordering on reverence. Although AM 1240 KROY had been a fixture in Sacramento for three decades, it was otherwise unremarkable until Dwight joined the station as general manager in 1966.
Under the guidance of Dwight Case, KROY ascended to the top of the ratings and maintained unparalleled prominence in the community for five consecutive years, until the growing popularity of FM radio took its toll on AM listenership. He assembled a staff around a nucleus of four key hires: popular disc jockeys Johnny Hyde (who became program director) and Bob Sherwood (initially music director, then Hyde’s successor as program director in 1970), chief engineer Don Trafton (who optimized KROY’s audio quality and transmitter power) and sales manager Bill Stukaloff (who marshaled the revenues to fund KROY’s growth and community-minded public service activities). Also instrumental was programming consultant Grahame Richards, who recorded the electrifying station identification announcements for each disc jockey, such as “And now, K-R-O-Y Sacramento presents another mu-u-u-u-usic power hour with the Chuck Roy radio show!” Johnny Hyde fondly recalled Dwight as “a master salesman who made you believe in and be sold on yourself. He was a great salesperson, but above all he was a motivator.”
Dwight, the son of Clifford and Bessie Case, was born June 29, 1929, in Modesto, California. He worked briefly as an announcer for Stockton radio station KXOB in 1948 upon graduation from high school, then joined the U.S. Navy and served for two years in the Korean War as a sonar operator aboard the destroyer USS Kepler beginning in 1950. After his military discharge, Dwight resumed work as a radio announcer and advertising representative while attending the College of the Pacific (now the University of the Pacific) in Stockton, from which he earned a bachelor’s degree (cum laude) in 1956. He arrived in Sacramento in 1957 as sales manager for KRAK radio, for which he became station manager the following year. He went on to management positions at other stations in San Francisco and Bakersfield before joining KROY, quickly earning promotion to vice president of the western region of ASI Communications, KROY’s parent company. The “music power” format that KROY unveiled in 1968 captivated the attention and hearts of devoted KROY fans throughout Sacramento.
KROY’s dynamic on-air staff during Dwight’s years at the station included talented disc jockeys Chuck Roy (who became program director in the autumn of 1971), B. Winchell Clay, T. Michael Jordan, Gene Lane, Dr. Tom Becker, Dave Williams, “Wonder Rabbit” (Martin Ashley), Terry Nelson, Don Christie, Terry Knight, Steve Moore and sportscaster Ken Gimblin.
“There was a time when KROY was absolutely, positively, the undisputed leader—the flagship of the culture—the most listened to radio station in Sacramento. KROY was not just the station with the biggest audience, it had influence,” Chuck Roy recalled in 2001. “No station will ever be greater than its general manager. Dwight Case was a great man. The rest of us played our parts, but without Johnny, Grahame and Dwight, it is doubtful whether KROY—the KROY that was truly larger than life—would have come into being.”
Chuck Roy remembers that the KROY team spent the summer of 1968 hard at work designing, rehearsing, drilling for and fine-tuning the “music power” sound behind the scenes.
“That summer of 1968 was the preamble for the launch of the new ‘music power’ format in time for the fall Arbitron rating period,” Roy explained. “Johnny worked all of us very hard that fall. What no one could have predicted was that it united us, and created a camaraderie that lasts until this very day. As simple as it sounds, we had been through something together. We were becoming a force greater than our individual selves. We discovered that we had been transformed and united into a team. When the fall ratings were published, we had demolished [competing radio station] KXOA. The center of gravity had moved to 977 Arden Way [KROY’s studio location]. KROY's five-year market dominance had begun. And I do know this: The environment that allowed it to happen was incarnate in the amazing personality of Dwight Case.”
The impact of KROY propelled Dwight to national prominence. He remained at KROY until 1972, when he was recruited to become vice president and general manager of KHJ Los Angeles, the flagship of “boss radio.” A year later he was elevated to western regional vice president of the station’s parent corporation, RKO General Radio, on his way to becoming president and CEO of the RKO Radio Corporation. Dwight Case by then had the attention of every radio programmer and broadcast executive in the nation. By the end of the decade he had become president of Transtar Corporation, a pioneering originator of satellite-distributed programming content for radio stations nationwide. His mastery of the media also encompassed a period as publisher of Radio and Records magazine, a leading broadcast industry trade journal.
Word about Dwight’s death prompted an outpouring of heartfelt sentiments from many of his former KROY colleagues.
“The news of Dwight’s passing saddens me to the core. I highly respected that man,” Martin Ashley said.
Dwight Case had an innate sense of timing, and possessed the uncanny ability to know when to let the creativity of his staff prevail — but also when to step in and assist if necessary. Bob Sherwood reminisced about Dwight’s “MBWA” approach — management by walking around. “Dwight perfected the art of stepping in at precisely the right moment better than any manager I’ve ever known,” Sherwood said.
KROY morning disc jockey Dave Williams observed, “Dwight’s passing is like losing my father again. What strikes me is the absolute certainty that everyone who loved and admired Dwight felt his affection and attention in a very personal way. Multiply that by the thousands and you have some measure of the man,” added Williams, now morning co-host at KLIF radio in Dallas.
Dwight, who remained in Southern California throughout the latter part of his life, served as a deacon and elder at Bel Air Presbyterian Church and offered his insight as a member of the governing boards for medical and public service organizations. Dwight Case is survived by his wife of 59 years, Virginia, his daughter Jaye, his sons Cole, Scott, Craig and Bret, and all their families.
KROY Salesman Mike Scheuble Fondly Remembered
[Oct. 30, 2003] Mike Scheuble, one of the most inventively productive media salespeople who ever worked in the Sacramento market, died July 8 of cancer at the age of 66. Scheuble, a KROY sales manager who endeared himself to station management as well as on-air personnel, was instrumental in concocting some of the zaniest as well as the most brilliant KROY promotional events.
[Photo of Donna and Mike Scheuble in 1997.] Former KROY Program Director Johnny Hyde remembers Scheuble fondly.
“I can’t begin to tell you the number of times when Mike would come back to the station with a cockamamie deal that would frustrate the hell out of me. But then, with that Scheuble smile, we would put it together in a fashion that didn’t run the listeners to KGMS. In exchange, Mike would make sure that you could get your car washed at Gus Stathos’ Magic Minute Car Wash. In fairness, much of what we did wouldn’t have been possible without Mike. He helped to create the cash flow that kept us going.”
Scheuble honed his penchant for practical jokes while still a student at
Van Nuys High School, from which he graduated in 1955. “I didn’t have
a hot car but was in a club called the Jesters,” he reminisced in 2001.
“We used to go down Van Nuys Boulevard at Halloween throwing
pumpkins out of the back of [my friend] Scott’s truck as the cops slid
through pumpkin slush chasing us.” Scheuble’s classmates included actors
Robert Redford, Natalie Wood and Diane Baker, and baseball pitcher
Don Drysdale—who played second base in high school.
Scheuble began his radio career at KBVM in the Southern California desert
town of Lancaster. “That station was so broke they repossessed the “Casy”
—the portable toilet,” joked Scheuble, who went on to KAFY in Bakersfield,
working as a disc jockey and engineer before shifting to sales. While in
Bakersfield, Scheuble met his wife, Donna. When Mike joined KROY in 1962,
the couple moved to Sacramento, where they raised their twin daughters,
Greta and Karen, and a son, Christopher. Scheuble remained at KROY until
1973, when he became general manager of RKO General’s WAXY in
Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
Following a KROY reunion in Sacramento in October 2002, Scheuble wrote,
“The thrill of seeing so many of the people I worked with over the years at
KROY was overwhelming. To see [John] Hawkins, [John] Ogden and Dwight [Case] together and remember when KROY was the loser in Sacramento and to know that we were part of the effort that made KROY one of the greatest stations on the coast was humbling. Even more so, walking around the room and talking with the people that an entire city rallied around. Going from last to first was a thrill, but we had such a good time doing it!
“I know all of us have moved to other stations, but the magic of KROY has never been rekindled,” Scheuble continued. “Those were magic years powered by magic talented people, and to relive it for the evening was so memorable. Someone said the evening was so short, there just wasn’t enough time, but there were so many great people—even Les Thompson [of KXOA], who was a classmate at Van Nuys High! Thanx for the new memories.”
When doctors first discovered in 1997 that a cancerous tumor was pressing against Scheuble’s aorta, they told him he could expect to live for only six months. He set about establishing print brokerage businesses—Media Plus Advertising and Hispanic Advertising Network in Vacaville—for the benefit of his family members, which deeply impressed former KROY Program Director Bob Sherwood.
“From my own perspective, Mike was the only internal person I ever banned from the control room because I couldn’t do my show when he was haranguing me to increase the spot-load during the holiday season. Any holiday—Labor Day, Arbor Day, Duke Snider’s birthday, Russ Solomon’s Bar Mitzvah, Lodi’s Grape Festival, the opening of pheasant season, Millard Fillmore’s anniversary,” Sherwood reverentially ribbed. “And when I’d stubbornly refuse to yield, on occasion, he’d employ the ultimate ‘closer’—a meeting with [General Manager] Dwight Case and me at Christie’s Elbo Room [a popular watering hole of the day]. “In that environment I generally ceded an increased spot load, plus assumed the national debt of Bolivia, promised that all jocks would do a freebie appearance at Weinstock’s and did 6-to-9 on Sunday night as penance,” Sherwood joked.
“More recently, I lit a candle at St. Patrick’s,” he added solemnly. “Michael, we miss you.”
Although radiation bombardment and chemotherapy had suppressed the malignancy for more than five years, development of lethal abnormalities in Mike’s thyroid remained undetected until early 2003. He continued working, however, until the day before his final trip to the hospital. Donna vividly remembers that when he awoke on his final day at home, Mike gently patted her and said, “Hey, babe, it’s been a really good ride. Call 911.” During his last hour of life, Mike authorized medical donation of his eyes.
“We had one whale of a good time,” said Donna, to whom Mike had remained married for nearly 42 years. “We spent a lot of good years together.”
Johnny Hyde, Program Director, mentor, treasured friend, ultimate professional
[August 1, 2017] Innovative radio programmer Johnny Hyde, one of the most popular Sacramento broadcast personalities of the 1960s and '70s, died in his sleep August 1, 2017. Hyde, who had been diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer, was 77 years old. One of his strengths was an innate ability to choose the right music for any station he programmed in any market he served. Hyde positioned himself at the avant-garde of the “British invasion,” introducing listeners in 1963 to the then-novel music of the Beatles and other British performers, initially at KXOA (1470 AM) and then at KROY (1240). Hyde was particularly gifted in inspiring creativity and in recruiting rosters of talented air personalities who attracted loyal audiences. As program director, he transformed KROY into a dominant station that retained its firm grip on the ratings in California’s capital city well into the ‘70s. By then, Hyde had made the transition into talk radio at KCRA (1320), which he guided with a captivating blend of adult contemporary music and stimulating conversation.
John Thomas Hyde, born in St. Louis, Missouri on November 18, 1939, broke into radio in the mid-1950s when he left home at the age of 14 and headed for Arizona.
He is survived by his companion of many years, Maxine Sheppard, son Larry of Southern California, and beloved Daughter-in-Law Amber Hyde-Ross.
NOTE: Additional biographical information has been updated as of 8-2-17.
KROY Disc Jockey
Peter Mark Boam (aka Peter B)
(May 17, 2019) Family members, friends and fans mourned the passing of Peter Mark Boam, who died unexpectedly at age 73 of a heart attack at his home in Roseville, California. The son of Flora and Willard “Bud” Boam, Peter was born in Paterson, N.J., on July 4, 1945. He spent his early childhood with his two siblings in nearby Fair Lawn, N.J, and then moved with his family to California in 1958 when Willard, an engineer, joined the staff of Aerojet in Rancho Cordova.
Peter, who played football and graduated from Encina High School in Sacramento in 1963, enrolled at California State University, Sacramento, with a major in mechanical engineering upon his father’s urging. But that was not his passion, which he discovered during the summer of 1965, before his junior year.
“I was in my car in the McDonald's parking lot on Arden Way in Sacramento enjoying a burger and fries, when Bob Dylan’s ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ came on the radio. I was mesmerized by Dylan's new sound, and I thought to myself ‘I want to be on the radio and play that song.’ Two years later, I did, on KROY,” Peter recalled in a Facebook post only six weeks before he died. Beginning in 1966 Peter landed part-time on-air shifts for a succession of radio stations in the region, including jazz station KXRQ Sacramento (the predecessor of KZAP), KJAY, KERS (the Sac State FM station), KJOY Stockton, KMYC Marysville, and, beginning in September 1967, KROY, where he did weekend shifts until he received his B.S. degree in June 1968. So began an illustrious 25-year career as a radio broadcaster.
“To see my name posted on the weekend schedule with Bob Martin, William E. Bauer and Jack Hammar was incredible! They were my idols,” Peter recalled in an email message to his KROY pals in May 2004. “However, what left a lasting impression was that on my first weekend at KROY, [program director] Johnny Hyde had left a welcome note on the control room door asking the staff to make me feel at home. This was a small, thoughtful act of kindness that made me feel like I was a part of the KROY team, even as a weekender.”
Immediately after his college graduation, Peter landed his first full-time radio position as music director and on-air personality at KLIV San Jose in June 1968. Known to his listeners as “Peter B,” he joined the air staff at KJRB Spokane in 1970, and three years later he made the leap into major-market radio at KVI Seattle, where his midday program built a strong following during his nine-year tenure there. After the format of KVI changed from music to talk, he began in 1982 what he considered his most accomplished period in radio as host of the highly rated ”Peter B and the Breakfast Bunch” program on WIBA Madison, Wisconsin. Madison Magazine readers recognized Peter B as ”Madison's Best Radio Personality" during five of the seven years he was there. In 1989 Peter moved on to Salt Lake City radio station KALL, where after three years he decided to try his hand at a different career.
Peter joined Discover Financial Services (Discover Card) initially as cardmember services manager before his promotion to marketing services manager. He concurrently enrolled at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, from which he obtained his master’s degree in business and professional communication. That led to his recruitment in March 2002 as communication and compliance manager for Harley-Davidson Inc. in Los Angeles, for which he oversaw all human resources functions, with responsibility for regulatory compliance with state and federal employment laws. After his retirement in March 2007, Peter relocated to Marin County and established himself as an independent marketing consultant, offering voice-over acting services. He volunteered for the Center for Volunteer and Non-profit Leadership of Marin County and the Mill Valley Philharmonic Orchestra, until his relocation to Roseville in 2016. Peter took pleasure in playing music he loved for his listeners, and he also enjoyed serving as announcer for high school basketball and soccer championship tournaments. He prided himself on crisp enunciation, and was playfully critical of mispronunciations and grammatical blunders he heard on the air.
Peter, whose mellifluous delivery prompted a radio colleague, Terry McGovern, to nickname him “Mr. Smooth,” returned to his broadcasting roots in 2012. He became host of a nightly program on BossBossRadio, an internet streaming service with which he remained until the day of his death.
On April 18, four weeks before he died, he reminisced about playing “Daydream Believer” by the Monkees on KROY. “When it was popular I had just been hired to work all-night weekends at KROY, the number 1 station and my first professional goal. Whenever I hear it I imagine myself in that cozy studio at 977 Arden Way. I was so excited, so hopeful, so amazed that I was on KROY and actually starting a lengthy career. There were so many adventures ahead of me. When I hear this song, those feelings return. I will never forget them,” Peter wrote. “Anyone whose career passed through that studio knows the thrill of leaning into the mic and saying "K-R-O-Y!" It's a feeling that stays with you forever.”
Peter was predeceased by his parents, Willard and Flora, and his younger brother, Jeffrey. He is survived by his sister, Pamela Boam Ryder and her family. Dear friend and neighbor Mickey has welcomed Peter’s beloved pup Wookie into her familiar and loving home. Family members invite his Peter’s friends to attend a celebration of life in July, details about which are posted at https://thelifeofpeterboam.com, his memorial website. Donations can be made in Peter’s honor to the Humane Society, the American Heart Association or a charity of your choice.
Peter B (Boam)
July 4, 1945 - May 17, 2019
KROY Disc Jockey
Joan (Tabor) Borba
KROY Executive Secretary
Aug. 21, 1938 – Sept. 17, 2009
KROY Disc Jockey
Sept. 15, 1946 – July 10, 1989
Dwight Leland Case
KROY General Manager
June 29, 1929 - August 9, 2019
Bob 'Blue Whiz' Castle
KROY Disc Jockey
Feb. 8, 1949 – March 29, 2007
KROY Chief Engineer
KROY Sales Representative
1920s – September 1977
Dec. 2, 1937 – April 15, 2014
KROY Sales Representative
Oct. 25, 1939 - April 5, 2018
Program Director, Disc Jockey
Nov. 18, 1939 - Aug. 1, 2017
Richard W. Irwin
Program Director, OM
1951 - June 6, 2018
Oct. 8, 1944 - Mar. 10, 2020
Receptionist, J. Hyde Assistant
KROY Disc Jockey
Jan 2, 1934 – June 24, 1965
Robert W. Morgan
KROY Disc Jockey
July 23, 1937 – May 22, 1998
Patti (Lisle) Nelson
KROY Receptionist; Commercial Traffic Scheduler
ca. 1952 – ca. 1998.
KROY Sales Representative in 1960s
KROY-KROI General Manager in 1970s
1933 – June 23, 2010
KROY Sales Manager
1936 – July 8, 2003
KROY Disc Jockey
Sept. 25, 1958 - July 4, 2015
Norton J. Spitzer
KROY Sales Representative
April 6, 1928 – April 22, 2006
KROY General Sales Manager
ca. 1930 – ca. 1998
KROY General Manager 1960–65
1919 – Jan. 14, 1990
Richard W. Irwin Former Program Director, Operations Manager
(June 6, 2018) Richard Warren Irwin, operations manager for KROY and KROI-FM from the late 1970s to
the early 1990s, and the founder of the internationally recognized Reel Radio archival audio website, died
in Sacramento at age 67 on June 6, 2018. A painful degenerative spinal condition had inhibited his mobility
during the last two years of his life, compounded by other physiological conditions. Irwin, known to his loyal
online followers as “Uncle Ricky,” built and operated Reel Radio on a nonprofit subscription basis for 22 years.
The online repository was widely praised for preserving thousands of “top 40” radio broadcast “air checks”
from the mid-1950s through the ’80s. Irwin was meticulous in processing the audio files to achieve the best
possible fidelity for streaming over the internet.
Irwin was born in Flushing, New York, in 1951 and at 5 years of age moved with his family to Concord, North Carolina. Fascinated by radio as a youngster, he got his first job in radio at age 14. By the time he graduated from high school in 1969, he had worked at four radio stations (WPEG-FM and WEGO in Concord, and WMAP and WIXE in Monroe) and as a producer and booth announcer at one TV station (WCTU-TV channel 36 in Charlotte). “After a year at East Carolina University, I got my First Class Radiotelephone License, and went to work at top 40 station WYCL in York, South Carolina, where I became program director,” Irwin wrote on the Reel Radio website. He held programming and on-air positions for a succession of radio stations in Rhode Island and Pennsylvania before moving in 1976 to Bakersfield, California, to program top 40 station KAFY.
“On Halloween, 1978, I was hired as program director and morning guy for KROI-FM (96.9) in Sacramento, sister station of the legendary 1240 KROY,” Irwin wrote. At that time, Jonsson Communications Corporation (JCC) acquired the stations and, with expansion plans in mind, promoted Irwin to broadcast operations manager, a position in which he remained for 16 years. Talented in audio production, Irwin choreographed the music for numerous KROY and KSAC July 4th “pyromusical spectacular” presentations over a decade. After JCC began divesting itself of its five broadcast properties, Irwin had the distinction of doing the last on-air shift on 1240 KROY’s successor, KSAC, in November 1994.
Irwin, who in 1984 had become interested in computing and learned computer programming, left radio to become webmaster for Sacramento Network Access (SNA) in January 1995, designing dozens of websites for the company’s clients. While there he conceived the idea for user-supported Reel Radio, which he launched in February 1996. After PSI Net acquired SNA, Irwin became a software engineer for Captus Networks, a startup company that developed a device to protect small networks from malicious denial-of-service attacks. He remained with Captus until April 2004, when he devoted his full attention to Reel Radio Inc. as curator, president and chief executive officer of the nonprofit corporation.
Irwin never called himself “Uncle Ricky” on the air. “I started using that pseudonym when I became a real uncle — my sister had a son in the late 1980s — and I was running a small bulletin board system for early computer geeks. No one ever called me ‘Ricky’ until I was modemized. But it sure stuck. When I made the move to the Internet in 1994, ‘Uncle Ricky’ or ‘Ricky’ was pretty much all anyone called me.”
Declining health prompted him to make the painful decision to shut down Reel Radio in May 2018. Richard Irwin earned admiration and respect through all echelons of the radio broadcast industry for his devotion to his craft and his enduring love for classic top 40 radio.
General Manager John Odgen dies at age 76
[June 23, 2010] The KROY family mourned the death of former station executive John Odgen, who died June 23 at the age of 76 due to illness. John had been a member of the station's sales staff beginning in the 1970s before rising to the position of general manager of KROY and KROI (FM). Staff members fondly referred to him as "General John." Pictured below: John during his radio years.
Born in Bakersfield, John Ogden graduated in 1951 from East Bakersfield High, where he had been an outstanding athlete in basketball and track and field. He had entered the radio industry in the Bakersfield market before then-KROY General Manager Dwight Case lured him to Sacramento to join the KROY sales staff in 1965. He remained until 1969, when KROY's parent company asked him to become general manager of KMAK, its affiliated station in Fresno. He returned to Sacramento in 1976, to take the helm as general manager of KROY and KROI (FM). When sale of KROY was accompanied by personnel changes four years later, John left radio and opened his own equipment leasing business. Pictured below: John and Bonnie enjoying each other's company at their Nevada County home.
During his retirement years, John lived in Nevada County with Bonnie, his wife of 41 years (who also had worked at KROY in merchandising and promotion from 1960 to 1964). In addition to Bonnie, John's loving family members include daughters Gayle Turnage, Leah Adams-Ogden and Lynn Ogden Snyder; son Daryl Ogden; brother Jerry Ogden; sister Judy Blanton; and 12 grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews.
Rick Shannon click to enlarge
Longtime KROY Staff Member Joan (Taber) Borba Dies
[Sept. 17, 2009] Joan (Tabor) Borba, an executive secretary in the KROY business office for a decade beginning in the late 1960s, died at age 71 on Sept. 17, 2009, following a lengthy battle with illness. Joan, who loved music and had a terrific sense of humor, endeared herself to all of those fortunate enough to know her. Pictured below: Joan at her desk working to make KROY better.
Born Joan Smith on Aug. 21, 1938, and raised in the Amador County town of Jackson, she played saxophone in the Jackson Butte High School band, was chosen “Miss Amador County” in 1956, and attended Armstrong Business College in Berkeley.
She worked most of her adult life in the television and radio industry in the Sacramento area. At KXTV, Channel 10, she was secretary to program manager Dean Borba from the late 1950s to the late ’60s, before joining KROY. She was an ardent Oakland Raiders fan, a member of the Valley Broadcast Legends society, and a
member of the Sacramento Children’s Home Guild.
Her first marriage, to furniture store owner Bob Taber, ended in divorce. After
attending a KXTV reunion in 1984, she renewed acquaintances with Dean Borba,
whom she subsequently married. Dean died several years ago. She is survived by
her daughter, Kerry Taber, of Truckee; and her son Michael Taber and his wife, Leyla Taber, of Sacramento. Remembrances in Joan’s name can be made to First Call Hospice; please call 916.725.2580 for more information.
'Blue Whiz' Bob Castle dies at age 58
[March 30, 2007] Robert E. Castle, known to KROY listeners first as the "Blue Whiz" and then under his real name, Bob Castle, succumbed to illness at the age of 58. Castle died March 29 at his home in Reno after battling Parkinson's disease and heart ailments for several years.
Castle, who was born Feb. 8, 1949, in Richmond, Calif., had a radio broadcasting career that spanned more than 40 years and he was inducted into the Broadcasting Hall of Fame. Castle held down evening and afternoon-drive shifts at KROY from 1973 to 1977. He most recently worked at 105.7 KOZZ, a Reno classic rock station.
KOZZ Program Director Jim McClain, known in the 1970s as "Night Train" McClain to listeners of K108 (KXOA-FM) in Sacramento, notified KROY "alumni" of Castle's death and spoke affectionately of him.
"In 1974 I was driving into Sacramento to help build K-108. I decided to check out the number one station and the number one night guy. I dialed up 1240 KROY and heard a crazy person bouncing off the walls. His name...The Blue Whiz," McClain wrote. "Bob was a true character."
After becoming ill, Castle was able to work only work part-time.
"He was always welcome at KOZZ, and it was a joy to have him around the station. Plus, he sounded good, even to the last," McClain said.
Castle loved being a grandfather and enjoyed winter sports activities, and camping and hiking in the Lake Tahoe wilderness during the warmer months. Castle leaves behind four children: Tim, Chris, Ryan and Danielle; and six grandchildren: Marcial, Tristan, Estevan, Riley, Kyndal and Hayden.