Truckee and its media past and present
August 29, 2006
In Truckee, residents tune into cable and satellite television, along with the Internet, for information and entertainment. But years ago (1870s to 1960s), citizens had limited access to the different mediums. For instance, the towns people only received information from the local media. Former and longtime residents continue to retain memories of the citys limited yet eventful media history.During a recent phone conversation with Louise McCallen, Truckees Postmaster from 1963 to 1988, she recalls how residents received only television stations from Sacramento, and the reception had more snow than the worst Truckee winter. McCallens son, David, recalled that, in his early childhood, KCRA-TV in Sacramento was the only channel his family received before cable TV came to Truckee in the late 60s. With cable, residents could view stations from Sacramento, Reno and from the then far away city of San Francisco. Seeing Creature Features on San Franciscos KTVU was a big deal for the Truckee youngsters. According to the stations Web site, http://www.ktvu.com, the show featured the worst and cheapest basement films. The programs former host, Bob Wilkins, would actually direct the audience to watch what was on the other channels. Before the late 1960s, radio and local newspapers were the key mediums. But the Truckee historical society reports that the town didnt even have its own radio station (KTRT) until the 70s. The sway of the Reno radio stations, then and now, snow under the local market. The current Truckee station, KTKE, started in 2003, plays unique rock and reggae music, and provides critical emergency information for tourists and residents. Former and current Truckee citizens have relied on the Sierra Sun paper for their news for over 100 years. The Truckee Historical Society cites that top reporters included Charles Fayette McGlashan, who owned the paper during the late 1870s and was best known for writing about the Donner Party. The founding publisher in the late 1800s was D.B. Frink. Frink was inadvertently shot and killed during a raid by the 601 on Jibboom Street in 1874. The 601 was a Truckee vigilante group that worked to boot undesirables out of town. An article in the Sierra Sun began the tragic story telling of a Truckee man named Hayward who refused to leave the city and found himself on Jibboom Street with twenty guns pointed at him. The 601 took Hayward to a saloon back room, where one of the vigilantes shot an approaching shadowy figure that turned out to be the innocent Sierra Sun publisher D.B. Frink. Today, Truckees media has expanded to offer added choices. According to The Center for Public Integrity (www.openairwaves.org), residents can get good reception listening to KTKE 101.5 FM, along with multiple Reno radio stations, including KNEV 95.5 FM. Also, with technology advances, Truckee citizens can now get fair reception, watching Reno channels via an antenna, such as KAME-TV Ch. 21. As for cable, Truckee has two major cable TV providers: Suddenlink, and Charter Communications. The two companies both offer basic and digital cable, with local channels. Suddenlink also offers HDTV. Over the years, the Truckee local media have been, and still will be the towns popular source for news and entertainment.Brian McCallen is a full-time resident of Livermore, Calif., and a part-time resident of Truckee.