Today’s column is drawn from “The Diamond Mine,” a self-published memoir by Gerry Whitehead, a.k.a. Jim Diamond, a radio jock from Bakersfield who grew up in Ontario. The first 80 pages or so are about Ontario in the 1950s and ’60s and his radio habits as a youngster.
Back then, the valley, while small, had several radio stations. Here’s what Whitehead tells us in his book.
In the late 1950s Ontario had KOCS-AM (1510), which simulcast on KEDO-FM (93.5). Both were owned by the Ontario Daily Report and located at 222 E. B St., next door to the newspaper’s office.
Whitehead writes: “The station call letters KOCS did stand for something. O-C-S stood for Ontario City Service. The AM station, KOCS, signed on in 1946 with a mighty 250 watts and was originally a ‘day-timer,’ which means that it was licensed by the FCC to operate only from local sunrise to local sunset.”
The station, if I understand correctly, was sold in the ’60s and became KASK-AM. It broadcast from 8729 E. 9th St., Cucamonga, from a ranch-style house with three tall towers behind and a huge wooden cask in the parking lot.
Pomona, meanwhile, had KKAR-AM (1220) and KWOW-AM (1600). (KWOW was originally KPMO.) And San Bernardino had KMEN-AM (1290) and KFXM-FM (590).
This is all courtesy of Whitehead, who seems to know what he’s talking about. Anyone want to offer corrections, clarifications, lore or favorite memories of local radio?