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November 28, 2007
Memories of KAHI

KAHI First Location (2).JPG

My story on Monday about the 50th anniversary of community radio station KAHI (950 AM) in Auburn prompted several readers to share their memories.

This one, from retired history professor Bob McCallum of Earp (south of Lake Havasu):

My friend Jeff March and another friend, Dave Darin, and I worked at KAHI in the early '70s. We were young radio jocks and thought we were God's gift. But KAHI gave us a dose of humility. During a morning newscast, an elderly lady, who was hired to give the news of El Dorado County, was on the phone doing the live newscast to the Auburn station. Suddenly, all of her poodles started barking loudly. She simply covered the receiver with her hand and yelled at her front door, "Come on in, I'll be done with the newscast in a minute." And nobody thought it was funny but me. I was laughing so hard, I had to leave the control room.

And then, there's this from Tony Rohl of Grass Valley:

It's too bad that no one included a brief reference to KAHI's founder, Charles Halstead, whose brother owned a pharmacy in Nevada City a few steps up from the National Hotel. Within months of firing up his radio station, he was at war with Auburn merchants for refusing to buy advertising on his station. He took to saying that he was broadcasting from the Auburn pig farm. As he slowly went broke, he would often leave his station unattended when he went for dinner or to take a nap. He'd put on an LP that in most cases was scratched and would start looping a portion of whatever song the needle got stuck on before he left. All in all, Charles "Charlie" Halstead was one of Auburn's more colorful characters in Auburn in the '50's.

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