Monday, July 10, 2006

The Rockabilly history of California Radio

Rockabilly was not inveted by Johnny Cash contrary to popular belief. I've seen the man play and I'd like to think it myself, but it just aint so. Please refer to the Arhoolie 447 release as exhibit A: I'll start with a version straight from the Rockabilly hall of fame:
"Rockabilly may have started with a Modesto, California based family when a man named Fred [Maddox] got sick of pickin' cotton, sat down on his cotton sack and made the announcement to the family, "We're going into the music business.."

The maddox family were migrant workers traveling the San Joaquin Valley durring the great depression. It was the year 1937 and Fred managed to convince Rice's Furniture Store to sponsor them on the radio station KTRB-AM from 6:30am to 7:00am every weekday as the trio "The Alabama Outlaws."

Fred, was the announcer and the bass player, Cal was on harmonica and rhythm guitar and 11-year-old Rose doing lead vocals. All three sang back up. It was the country version of the Partridge family. Early the following year, they began playing at KFBK-AM in Sacramento, and their show was syndicated throughout the West Coast in cluding KGDM-AM. Over the next decade, their fanbase steadily grew, as their blend of music and comedy played well not only in concert, but on the radio as well.

KTRB spent from 50 years as The valleys country & western music station then really ticked off their long time fans with a sudden flip to spanish in the mid 1990s. by the end of that decade they were running extremist right-wing talk, which though popular in the south, did as well as you'd expect in the bluest of blue states. With a ratings book dragging in the bottom 1% Pappas Radio decided to leave town. Literally.

860 KTRB-AM is emboiled in a atempt to move from Modesto to San Francisco. In May of last year owner Pappas Radio submitted another minor engineering amendment to their proposed move of 50,000-watt KTRB-AM at the same time, submitting a corresponding engineering change on their "replacement" station in Modesto, 5000-watt 840 KPMP-AM to sweeten the deal. The station is currently silent awaiting execution of the final move. It is rumored that Pappas will then immediatly sell off the now far more valulable peice of RF real estate, engineering chatter Here.