In Northern California back in the 1950s and 1960s, listeners had their choice of numerous radio stations playing both kinds of music — Country and Western.
Among those stations were KEEN in San Jose; KVSM in San Mateo; KSAY in San Francisco; Lou Ripa’s little KNBA in Vallejo; KTRB in Modesto; KCEY in Turlock; and mighty KRAK in Sacramento.
KRAK began its life down Highway 99 in Stockton, operating as KGDM. It moved to Sacramento in 1962, with a boost of power to 50,000 watts, allowing it to blanket much of the upstate area with its huge signal.
The station incorporated its 1140 spot on the AM dial into its catchy jingles, singing out “Crack Radio, Eleven-Four-Oh!” every chance they could.
KRAK changed formats in the mid-1990s and became Hot Talk KHTK. It is currently running a Sports format and is the flagship station of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings.
Sonny James, known around the world as “The Southern Gentleman,” recorded a special “Salute To KRAK” back in 1967 as a tribute to the Country Music powerhouse and the capitol of California. According to legend, the record was handed out as a promotional item by the station and received substantial airplay on KRAK.
The flipside of the 45 RPM disc – which was released through Capitol Records’ Custom Services Department – included a collection of greetings from the station’s on-air personalities, credited as “The KRAKer Jacks.”
Here’s a solid half-hour of Jerry Lang on Country KRAK from June 5, 1964, rolling into the three o’clock hour: