Book Explores McClatchy Broadcasting History
by Alex Cosper (8/17/15)


Almost everyone in Sacramento at one time or another has heard of the McClatchy family. After all, McClatchy owns the Sacramento Bee as well as the biggest newspaper chain in America. At one time the family also own television and radio stations in the city and had a major impact on both industries in Sacramento and beyond. That's the theme of a book written by local author Annette Kassis, published by History Press with a release date of October 19, 2015. It's called Sacramento On The Air: How the McClatchy Faily Revolutionized West Coast Broadcasting.

Earlier in the decade in 2012 author Kassis wrote a book about Weinstocks, the department store chain that could be found Downtown and malls like Arden Fair and Country Club Plaza, as well as throughout California. But economic recession wiped the chain out in the 90s. McClatchy Newspapers has also suffered from industry downsizing pressure, but has hung on by reducing the size of its newspapers and focusing on online publications.

McClatchy began venturing into broadcasting with the acquisition of KFBK from the Kimball Upson company in the early days of radio. Later McClathcy bought KOVR-TV from Metromedia in 1963. Due to new FCC media ownership rules in the 1970s the company was forced to sell KFBK and KOVR. At the time KFBK was a leading talk station in Sacramento. It was actually the city's very first radio station when it signed on the air as KVG in February 1922. Today the station is owned by iHeartMedia.

Other radio stations owned by The McClatchy Company included KBEE in Modesto and KMJ in Fresno. Some of the key turning points in KFBK history included shows hosted by Rose Maddox, who went on to become a national country act in the 1950s and 1960s, the boost to 50,000 watts in 1948 and the signing of a broadcast partnership deal with the San Francisco Giants in 1958.

KFBK rose to number one in Arbitron ratings by the end of the 1980s. It remained at the top consistently throughout the 1990s and early 2000s. It remains strong in the ratings in 2015 with Amy Lewis and Ed Crane hosting the morning news and Kitty O'Neal hosting the afternoon news.

The Kassis book documents how Carlos McClatchy was determined to be the first west coast newspaper executive to enter the exciting new radio industry in 1921. Carlos was the son of Charles Kenny (C.K.) McClatchy and the brother of eventual company president Eleanor McClatchy. The family worked with publisher William Randolph Hearst to build a radio network and media empire. Eleanor lived from 1895 to 1980 and served as company president from 1936 to 1978.







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