KSAN 1450 Radio, San Francisco
Mike Dix as Jumpin’ George

June and July 1963

When George Oxford departed San Francisco’s KSAN for Oakland’s KDIA in 1960, the former sued the latter in order to retain the right to use Old G.O.’s popular “Jumpin’ George” handle … and won. As a result, KSAN — with the name but without the man — brought in Mike Dix to play the part of Jumpin’ George. (For details on the lawsuit, please click here.)

The broadcast recording heard here, from the collection of Dave Billeci, is a composite from June and July 1963. Dave picks up the narrative:

Mike Dix was originally from Los Angeles and came to San Francisco in the spring of 1963. He was hired in early May, and either quit or got fired in September 1963.

I believe he went back to Southern California and was hired at KFWB in 1964 for a short time. From that point on his timeline faded away. I did meet him in person at the KSAN studios at 1111 Market Street in July 1963. He had blond hair and a beard.

Dix’s style of morning-drive radio had one element in common with Dr. Don Rose years later: the pre-recorded drop-ins during his monologue between records. Dix was nowhere as polished as Dr. Don and in many cases very amateurish due to his style and the technological challenges of that time.

The source of the drop-ins was mostly out-of-house but in July, several were produced in the production studio of the station featuring the voice of the program director/afternoon drive jock, Chuck Scruggs. He used his nickname “Bugs” on the air.

Gates Spot machine

Gates Spot tape machine (13-inch wide tape roll, 101 tracks, 90 seconds each)

RCA 76B Radio Console

An RCA 76B console as used at KSAN

Also produced were a few outlandish station promos by Dix and Scruggs, one of which is included in the recording heard here. Today, no station would be able to get away with the content heard in this particular sketch/promo; station owner Norwood Patterson didn’t really care back then … he was already in trouble with the IRS.

The playback source of the drop-ins may have come from Ampex 300 reel-to-reel tape or from one of the two Gate Spot tape machines the station owned.

Based on the type of cueing errors I heard on the air, my conclusion was that the playback source was the Ampex 300 reel-to-reel recorder.

In the background when the announcer mike was on, you can hear Dix as he is speaking, pushing the source selector buttons (two banks), each bank assigned to a specific pot on the RCA 76B console. The button-pushing sound was clearly heard on the air on KSAN from whenever that console was installed in the 1950s until 1964 when Les Malloy purchased the station from Norwood Patterson.

Going off on a tangent now, Malloy replaced the old RCA console with a Gates Yard. The spot tape machines were turned over to the news department to record actualities. Commercial playback sources were upgraded to a set of four Sparta tube-type cart machines.

I remember dropping by the station in the late summer of 1964 and seeing stacks of brand-new Fidelipac tape cartridges still sealed in their shipping container. I knew then, quoting an old Sam Cooke record title, “A Change Is Gonna Come.”

On The Air Sign (Image)

Mike Dix as Jumpin’ George on KSAN 1450 (1963)

 

4 Comments

      • Diseased.

        Cathy, I’m wondering if you meant that Mike Dix is deceased and not “diseased.” Either way, our condolences to you and your family.

        And, either way, we do owe you a dollar.

        Anything more that you can tell us about your father’s life before and after KDIA?

      • Hey Cathy! Long time, no hear! Fancy meeting you here (lol!) Cathy is my oldest surviving sister… My oldest sister Peggy, Mike’s firstborn, passed away last year. I just googled his name and there was his younger, handsome face! Where do I begin?… I’m his youngest daughter, Courtney Lee (Dix). I was born in South Florida in 1980 while my father, Mike Dix, was a major radio personality there at the time. He was previously married and has 5 children, 20 years older than me. I am the only child between him and my mother, Maxine. We moved to Ocala, Florida in 1981 so my parents could avoid raising me in crime, and my Dad took a production job at a popular easy-listening station here at the time, WTMC. He was absolute brilliant magic! I miss his wit and extraordinary way with words. He passed in 2013 at 86 years old, with me holding his hand. He had a terrible end that my family and I are still seeking justice for. I won’t go into detail, but if any of you reading this “update” pray, please pray for my family. A bright light has left, but he’s on The Other Side, shining brightly! I was missing him today and decided to type in his name. Glad to see that there are others still interestedHinterested about my dad and the mark he left. I hope this was enlightening. Godspeed.

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