The KJOY story goes back to December 1946 when founding company
Valley Broadcasting Company (VBC) was granted a construction permit to put a new
AM station on the air in Stockton at 1280 with 1,000 watts, directional to the
west at night. This new AM would sign on in the Spring of 1947 with the call
sign KXOB, co-owned with KXOA in Sacramento and KXOC in Chico. VBC partners
were: Lincoln Dellar, Executive Director (90%), and Morton Sidley (10%). KXOB's
offices and studios were originally at 2013 Pacific Avenue in Stockton with the
transmitter site at Beyer Lane and East Harding Way northeast of Stockton. In
the Fall of 1950, studio facilities would be moved to the Beyer Lane transmitter
site, presumably as a cost-cutting measure.
April 1952 would see KXOB's first change in ownership as radio and newspaper
executive Clem John Randau would buy KXOB from Lincoln Dellar for $200,000. The
FCC would approve the transaction on July 10, 1952. Clem and Beatrice Randau
would own 55% of KXOB with other principals Sherrill Corwin, Ralph Stolkin, and
Edward G. Burke, Jr. Mr. Randau also owned minority stock in New York radio
station WNEW. Randau would also be the man who would move 1280 to its heritage,
legendary storefront location at the northeast corner of El Dorado Street and
Weber Avenue--The Hotel Stockton. The station would occupy this highly visible,
landmark address within sight of the head of the Stockton Channel for over 40
Randau's ownership of KXOB wouldn't last long, however. On September 9, 1953,
the FCC approved the sale of KXOB to 36-year-old Joseph Gamble, in whose family
the station would remain into the 1990s. Gamble's brother-in-law and former
newspaper reporter, Ort J. Lofthus, then-Sales Manager of KCMJ, Palm Springs,
another of Gamble's stations, would be brought to Stockton to head KXOB as
Sometime between the Fall of 1953 and the Fall of 1956 (probably late '53 or
1954), KXOB's call letters would be changed to KJOY, with the company's DBA
changing, in turn, to "KJOY, Inc." This DBA wouldn't last long, either: on
October 30, 1956, the DBA would become "Joseph Gamble Stations, Inc."
It was in that 1953 time frame that
Joseph Gamble decided to change the station to a rock n' roll format and Ort
Loftus added local news to the mix.
On November 29, 1963, tragedy would befall KJOY and the Gamble family: owner
Joseph would suffer a fatal heart attack at KJOY's Hotel Stockton offices. GM
Ort Lofthus is elected president of Joseph Gamble Stations (KJOY, Stockton; KJAY,
Sacramento; and KLAN, Lemoore). Mr. Gamble was 46.
In February 1968, Joseph Gamble Stations would request the KJAX call letters for
KJOY's new FM sister station at 99.3 MHz. This would be the 2nd time Gamble
Stations would have this call sign: the first being 1150 KJAX in Santa Rosa in
In KJOY's early years, some notable personalities included such names as Mort
Cooper, Jim Tracewell, Ken Wayne, Ron Reynolds, Ted Payne, Denny Kirwan and Rick
Cimino, with Spencer Tyler and Jerry Simpson in the KJOY News Department. Then,
gracing the KJOY microphone in later years would be Don Imus (1969), Mike Wynn,
Roy Williams, Mark Webster, Terry Nelson Dave Bowling, David Allan Kraham, Al "the Roadrunner" Heathman,
Pat Kelley, Bill Bishofberger, Johnny Milford, John Willyard, Chrys Fasoli,
Sheilah Bowman, Bill Daniels, Steve Young, Jerry Fuentes, Steve Blum as News
Director, Bob Tilden, Scott Thomas and many more, far too numerous to name here
(see Announcer's Page)
It was in 1986 that Joel Gamble (son of
Joseph), took over as General Manager of KJOY/KJAX succeeding Ort Lofthus.
In October 1989, KJOY flip flopped it's
call letters with KJAX, going to the FM dial and 1280 going to News/Talk.
Joel Gamble passed away in July 17, 2017.
Ort Lofthus passed away on March 7, 2022.