Monument to historic radio station KCBQ in Santee.

I remember listening to KCBQ 1170 as a youth. For decades it was one of San Diego’s leading radio stations, featuring radio personalities that are legendary, including “Shotgun Tom” Kelly and Charlie Tuna.

This groundbreaking AM radio station has had a complicated history, its many different owners moving the studio about from time to time and playing everything from contemporary music to country music. A detailed Wikipedia article can be found here.

A monument to the original KCBQ, which was influential in popularizing the Top 40 music format for the rest of the nation, now stands at the radio station’s old Santee transmitter site. It was dedicated on August 28, 2010. You can find the monument on Mission Gorge Road just east of Carlton Hills Boulevard, in front of an In-N-Out Burger fast food restaurant.

Scan the list of past on-air personalities and you’ll see names that have been well known in San Diego radio for decades. Personally, I easily recall the unique voices of Frank Anthony, Gene Knight and Gary Kelley, not to mention “Shotgun Tom” Kelly.

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Richard Schulte

Downtown San Diego has been my home for many years. My online activities reflect my love for writing, blogging, walking and photography.

5 thoughts on “Monument to historic radio station KCBQ in Santee.”

  1. Oh, boy, right in my wheelhouse! I, too, listened to KCBQ growing up. They were a true powerhouse of the southland. I could routinely bring them in at night when I was living in Monterey, and my wife swears she could sometimes pick them up in Minnesota. There were a lot of names on that plaque that took me back, though deafening by his absence is Harry “Happy Hare” Martin, but some have a special significance for me.

    See, in late ’77, early ’78 I attended the KCBQ Broadcast Workshop where I knew and took classes under a number of these guys. I never got my radio gig, but there are a lot of happy memories there. Charlie & Harrigan, the morning drive comedy team, were as knowledgeable and business-savvy as any professionals I ever met, and I remembered the experience of being in their classes long after much of the rest had faded. It was amazing how their personalities contrasted with their on-air personas, though I guess no one who was really that nuts could hold a job for long. Dean Goss, the overnight guy, had a first-class FCC license, and his knowledge was such that if you threw a bunch of parts out into a field, he could build you a radio station. John Foxx, the evening drive guy, which is by the way the actual name on his birth certificate — “John Joseph Billy-Goat Henry Night-Thomas SWEEEEEET Daddy Foxx,” — was a big kitten, a lovable loon on air and off who once shot a bottle rocket at a sheriff’s helicopter, There was often a gaggle of teenage girls in the lot when I’d come out who would ask if I was John Foxx; an unscrupulous gent could have gotten himself into a lot of trouble with a little white lie out there… But it was only ever a gig to Jon, and when he left the Q, he went back to Detroit to sell real estate.

    My daughter, Sidra LEE Tyler, is named for the news guy, Lee Marshall, who later went on to become the voice of one of those all-girl wrestling promotions. Bonnie and I Took the baby in one night to introduce her, and Jon Foxx came out of the studio and cooed and tickled, then went back on the air and announced that he was “playing the hits with Bonnie Tyler’s baby.” Not sure what listeners made of that, but we knew… I was there during “10,000 Winners in 28 Days!” I carried around a box of prize envelopes, and gave one to everyone I encountered who had an “I Q in my Car” bumper sticker. I took a picture of our twins, toddlers at the time, sitting in their kiddie car looking back over the “I Q” sticker on the back, and they put it on that week’s top-40 survey.

    I could go on for days, but I’m sure your eyes are glassing over, and anyway, WordPress has a limit on the size of comments. What a great post, though, and what great memories! Thanks a million for this. It was a great time in my life, and as you might have gathered, I had a

    Liked by 1 person

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