KMJ-TV Sports Director

You just got home from school and it’s Channel 30 Fun Time! Or maybe Nancy Allen's Movie Matinee on Channel 24. Don’t forget the BOSS 30's #1 KYNO. If you were sophisticated, you only listened to KFIG on some new airwave called FM. We honor the late great Al Radka here at Lost Fresno whose motto was Lettuce Eat it!
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KMJ-TV Sports Director

Post by chris3dog » Fri Feb 04, 2011 11:37 am

In the mid 1960s I remember George Cooper being the most popular sports personality on Fresno's KMJ- TV. I left Fresno in 1972 and have often wondered where he might be today.
Recently, on a Google search, I found out that a few years ago he and his wife purchased a small independent TV station in Redding,ca area. The article went on to say that George had died in 2009, after a lengthy battle with cancer. His widow continues to operate the TV station to this day.

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Re: KMJ-TV Sports director

Post by coop50 » Fri May 06, 2011 11:37 am

Thanks chris3dog for remembering George Cooper on KMJ. I am his son, and was between the ages of 6 and 11 when he was on the air (both radio and tv). I remember watching and listening to him then (with Bob Long and after Huntley and Brinkley), and thinking he would probably end up in a larger market someday. He was also a terrific play-by-play announcer, and continued doing that at local football games for many years after his KMJ sports days. I wished he would have tried getting a MLB broadcasting job because I always felt he had the talent and he loved baseball. I was always really excited when he got to go to Arizona to cover the Giants spring training and interviewed Mays, McCovey, and company because I hoped he would bring something back from the trip. As it turned out, he was an early casualty of affirmative action as he was removed from the sports desk and offered another assignment which he declined. I think this experience ended his desire to continue his career in broadcasting, but as you know he did retain an interest in television and started the station in Redding. It is a shame he did not live many years after the purchase to enjoy his dream. In between broadcasting and station ownership, George owned a successful advertising agency in Fresno as well. My mother (his first wife who just passed away last February) told me that George was aquainted with Lon Simmons (the great voice of the Giants) and Lon told him about the sports broadcasting job opening in Fresno in '65 or '66 while we were living in San Jose at the time.

Big J
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Re: KMJ-TV Sports director

Post by Big J » Thu Nov 03, 2011 3:57 pm

Thanks for sharing Coop - great info.


Re: KMJ-TV Sports director

Post by msgjr1943 » Fri Dec 02, 2011 5:04 pm

I worked with George Cooper. Along with another great sportscaster, Dick Shepard, we traveled up and down the Valley broadcasting football amd basketball games for KMJ Radio. I was the remote broadcast engineer. After I finished my studies at Fresno State, I was hired as a floor manager at KMJ-Channel 24, and had the privilege of working with them again, this time on television. George was the consumate professional and the nicest guy you would ever want to meet. I went on to become a film editor at Warner Bros. and Disney Studios, and the time I spent with gentlemen like George and Dick served me well in my career in Hollywood.

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Re: KMJ-TV Sports director

Post by BernardII » Wed Dec 28, 2011 5:06 am

Television hit the airwaves on June 1, 1953 in Fresno when the NBC affiliate, KMJ-Channel 24 (now KSEE) started transmitting. It was Fresno’s first station to be followed by KJEO-Channel 47 (now KGPE) in that same year which was a CBS affiliate. A new VHF station had been offered to Fresno, channel 12. KARM-AM and KFRE-AM radio stations litigated for the prize. KFRE came out the winner and on May 10, 1956, KFRE-Channel 12 was on the air. KFRE also incorporated the CBS affiliation forcing KJEO to ABC. It is reported that KFRE wanted to keep the CBS partnership due to its long standing relationship to CBS radio.

Jim Bonkowski W6LFB

Re: KMJ-TV Sports director

Post by Jim Bonkowski W6LFB » Thu Jan 23, 2014 9:56 pm

Saw comments on KJEO switch from CBS to ABC. I recall as kid in 50's KJEO having BOTH ABC & CBS programming at same time. Also remember an independent TV station in Tulare on UHF 27 (KVVG I'm thinking??)

Here is how I recall the Fresno Radio Dial in 1957 - think that was the year KEAP signed on:

KBIF 900 (Daytime)
KEAP 980 (Daytime)
KMAK 1340
KGST 1600 (Daytime)

Also remember living on Pine St. near McKinley & Fresno - from our front yard, could see the KMAK tower with red neon letters at night: "K-M-A-K - KMAK" repeatedly.

KGST was an "eclectic" station - bit of everything. C&W, Spanish language, blues, jazz, etc. Never thought that "Happy Harold" and "Blues" in "Happy Harold's House of Blues" quite went together!!! KEAP came on as first real C&W station.

Only recall 3 FM stations then: KMJ-FM, KARM-FM, and KRFM, Classical format, operated by KFRE.

Remember Al Radka's station ID: "This is KFRE, Fresno, with 50 million milliwatts of power!!"

Took some RTV courses at Fresno State, and had part-time job as engineer ("Baby-sitter" for DJ's that never could learn a volt from an ohm) at KYNO out on Cedar by McKinley.

Finally, KMJ: Used to listen to "X-minus One" (Science fiction) on KMJ on my crystal set as a kid. When in the Navy in San Diego, I spotted a car in the base parking lot with the CA plate: "KMJ 580" - took a picture of it intending to take it in to KMJ in exchange for a tour of the station, but, alas, I never did!!


Re: KMJ-TV Sports director

Post by Guest » Fri Jan 24, 2014 12:13 pm

Who remembers TV channel 21 in the early 60s - a previous incarnation, not the current Univision Spanish station. I seem to remember it was located at Riverland on the Kings near Kingsburg. They had a local teen dance show at Riverland in the afternoon. About the same time, early 60s there was KICU channel 43 - also, not related to the current 43. They had a logo of a stick-man with binoculars looking at you- I-C-U. KICU call letters were moved to a Bay Area station that uses the same logo.


Re: KMJ-TV Sports director

Post by jimnosophist » Tue May 20, 2014 12:00 pm

Exactly right! KMJ-TV Channel 24 NBC affiliate owned by McClatchy Broadcasting hired Mr. Sanford as its first General Manager. He very soon after and Perry Nelson followed was appointed as GM until he resigned in 1957. Nelson instituted Miss Pats Playroom, Omnibus and other cutting edge programming. Nelson developed a friendship with Lon Simmons--future voice of the SF Giants-- during Simmons brief time at KMJ Radio. He suggested to his friend Bill Shaw at KSFO Radio in SF that he hire Lon to be the voice of the newly arrived team. Lon got the job and...

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