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.
Here’s a sample KRAK jingle from 1970, produced by PAMS of Dallas:
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:
24 thoughts on “Sacramento’s KRAK Country Radio”
Much obliged for the KRAK radio history. I remember going back and forth from Livermore to Reno, riding in my dads 1958 Cadillac Coupe with the auto slide bar asking my dad if i could change the station, instead of KRAK!!! But I remember the songs
As a young teenager in Stockton California between 1973 and 1976 I used to listen to crack radio all the time I never missed a beat back then the one district I always used to remember is one guy called himself Mike’s side if that was his real name or his stage name but I’ll tell you what that’s what I still miss about crack radio having good disc jockeys do exactly what they’re doing and I can tell you this much right now I am glad to see that Cal Polk radio takes on the tradition of the old krak radio. All I can say is you people have a good sounding station I just checked you out on the internet. And now I’m hooked just about but I can tell you this much keep up the good work. Also, I wanted to let you know I tried to get you guys on TuneIn radio but there was a streaming problem with it hopefully when everything is all fixed up I can barely think about it but when it is all fixed up I’ll be glad to listen to you guys on TuneIn radio after everything is all fixed but for now I’ll just listen to you on the website Leonard brinkman Seattle Washington
As a kid, in the late 60s and early 70s, I learned about KRAK Radio, while visiting relatives in the San Juaquin Delta area.
I discovered that, at night, while their power was boosted to the full 50,000 watts, I could hear KRAK all the way from my hometown, near Eureka, CA, o’n the far north coast of California. What a wonderful memory!
Thank you for sharing the history of KRAK Radio. Eleven Four Oh.
I used to ride with my dad from Redwood City to West Point and he always tuned in to KRAK… The KRAKER barrel!
KRAK was 50,000 watts day and night. I was on air there, nights then morning drive, in the early 1970’s. A good gig, but I finally left and moved to Anchorage.
I worked for KRAK in 1968 as a Transmitter Engineer. The original transmitter location was located on Twin Cities Road (Hiway 104) next to the old Rancho Seco Nuclear Station. During the construction of the plant (starting 1966), there were lawsuits between KRAK and SMUD over the impact the plant construction had on KRAK and the impact on the giant construction cranes close to the high power RF from the KRAK antennas, which created RF arcs 18″ – 24″ long.
Subsequently, SMUD paid for a new 50KW GE transmitter, antennas, building and property and 5 engineers (me included) to build, power-up, test, and maintain at a site east of Wilton south of Rising Road, currently KHTK transmitter site.
In ,1976 I Moved To Roseville And Went To Work For My Dad Everyday We Listen To KRAK Radio In The Morning With JOEY MITCHELL Hope I Spelled That Right He Was So Funny Always Kept Us In A Good Mood Would Like To No What He Is Doing Now Days
Thanks for stopping by! Joey Mitchell is still around as I write this – he does mornings on 101.5 K-Hits in Sacramento, and you can find him on The Facebook:
~~~ COTTON ~~~
I lived in The Clearlake, Lake County area in the 60’s & 70’s and we could pick up KRAK radio loud and clear. I was driving in the SF Bay Area in the 90’s came across KRAK again, at least it was a group called the KRAK Radio singers if I remember correctly. They were singing an excellent Parody on the song, ‘Daddy’s Hands.’ It was called ‘Daddy’s Pants!’ The song was a hoot! I’ve tried unsuccessfully to find more of their recordings, but so far no luck. If anyone knows more about them I would appreciate you sharing any information with me and others.
i loved KRAK so much that when I got transferred from McClellan AFB to England I’d get up early to catch Joey in the morning on RF skip
“Yuba Duba, you have 65 KRAK radio degrees!”
That’s what I used to hear in Oakland as a kid listening to KRAK radio. There was only one country station in the Bay, so finding KRAK was a big discovery for me. Given my folks and brothers didn’t like CW music, I was “closet” listener for a time. But when “Okie” by Merle went nationwide, even my father started to appreciate CW, and gave me a fiver to go buy the 45 single.
I grew up in Sutter & Yuba Counties listening to KRAK 1140. Great memories!! I wish there were stations like that now, with real DJs and good music.
Big Jim Hall and Paul Harvey…. I miss listening with my Papa Roy at the ranch in Byron California..
Loved KRAK radio. I listened to Hugh Cherry on KLAC, Los Angeles & when I went to work at C&W KZON in Santa Maria, I was able to listen to KRAK. It was a choice station that really had its act together.
Evan Haning (KZON, KATY, KOAG, KVEC, KRLA, KGIL, WJOK, WRC, WTOP, WNEW, Westwood One. Central Coast, LA, Washington DC.)
My grandparents, the Stocktons lived on the south side of Stockton near hiway 4 in the sixties and 70s. Each morning as they sipped their coffee and we started breakfast they tuned in to KRAK…it played all day. it seemed kinda corny to me at the time but now I am hooked on these same “Country Memories”.
A treasured memory.
Matt, I got those same fond memories of KRAK — my grandma and grandpa lived in Manteca during the 1960s and 1970s, and they kept an old black-and-white TV on AND had a Sears Silvertone radio tuned to KRAK all the time.
If I close my eyes, I can still see and hear it in my memory…
#### COTTON ####
“KRAK Country Memories” sung as a jingle?
I lived on Arch Rd near the airport and went to New Haven in Manteca. 69-71. Any chance we were classmates?
From 1976 to 1991 I was an engineer at KRAK including decade as Chief Engineer. I still work on the antenna system for them.
We built new studios in 1988, many remote and news vehicles. Did thousands of remote broadcasts. Worked with a lot of great people, many of whom are still around.
There are a LOT of funny stories!
I have some KGDM pictures from the stockton days and many after that period.
Back when radio was real!
i remember my dad would listen to 1140 am radio krak when we lived in dublin ca. when we moved to modesto in 1972 he would listen to this station he and his coworkers at work would join in on the commute quiz with big jim hall i remember the skinney kid joey mitchell and rick stuart all dj.krak what memories.and jerry hopper 1967 68 dj.i also remember walt shaw mike side with agra buissness this is bill hummer memories
7 years ago
KRAK Radio, I haven’t heard that in a long time, “Since 1962 the tempo of Sacramento KRAK” I would love to find that News Sounder KRAK used. For my collection and studio stuff. I remember as a baby there was a Zenith Radio by my crib always on KRAK Radio. Yea, that’s right I guess you could call me a KRAK baby… I was sorry and sadden when they changed the call letters and the format to Sports the home of the Sacramento Kings KHTK 1140
So maybe someone could help. My papa had this cassette tape full of parody type songs, krak radio singer greatest hits (crossed out) bits. We would listen to it on all our road trips. Is there any of them still alive somewhere or how can i find the songs that were on it? The songs arent listed on the tape itself. I’ve been talking about this cassette to my husband for years now and he doesnt believe me. I remember at the end of one of the songs (it was about cleaning an apartment/house) and it was a girl saying does a vacuum ring a bell.
That was a cassette done by KRAK’s Joey Mitchell – it shows up on The Ebay every once in a while.
Joey hisself may have a few still laying around.
~~~~ COTTONMOUTH ~~~~
KRAK was the official HINEY WINE radio station in the mid 80’s. Seem appropriate with that set of call letters. Here is a YouTube video on Hiney WIne. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5sSfS_9xy4&t=1190s
Sure miss KRAK and all the DJs: Joey Mitchell, Racin’ Rick Stuart and Big Jim Hall, the worlds tallest DJ. I loved Joey’s sign off song that started with: “Born in New York not Tennessee…..”