List Project: Community Access Channel 8

Pacifica, California

What is this page and why have you found it?  This page is meant for me to find you! 

I've been involved with a web site that lists my ancestors. The site gets visited by people from all over the world who find the site through web search engines.  I wondered if the same thing would work to help me get back in touch with people I haven't seen in a long time.  So, I put together a few pages of the names of people I knew at different times in my life.  If you found this page, I'm hoping that you are one of the people listed here. 

This list page is for my time working and playing, and growing up, at the TCI community access cable channel (at the time channel 8) in Pacifica, California

If you used to know me, why not email me ... and say hello.

August 2009: Photos on Flickr

                Click here for mine from 1973

                Click here for some from Paul


April 2004 UPDATE - Well, someone did just that! He sent me a little note about Channel 8 and asked me for some history. It brought back a flurry of great memories.  Here's the email I sent back to him - although I keep updating this as I hear from others with slightly different (or better) memories than I.


The internet is a wonderful thing. I am always surprised at who finds me, and what they were looking for.

Thanks for the info on Channel 8. I worked there all through my Junior and Senior years at Terra Nova (1974/5). My first exposure to Ch8 was when we had the oil spill off the California coast. My siblings and I wanted to help clean the birds of oil. I think that must have been 1972 or 73. Against my parents better judgment, they dressed us up in old clothes and drove us to the beach. By the time we were there it was pretty much over and we just watched and went home. I don't know if I remember this or have added it to my memories of the time, but I vaguely remember people there with cameras. I now know that Layton Jones did a documentary of the oil spill and won a local origination Emmy Award for his work. I believe Grady Hesters, and maybe Maggie too, worked on it with Layton. At Channel 8 we were all very proud of that Emmy - and rightly so.

I don't know how I got involved, but eventually we formed an Explorer Scout post at Channel 8. At the time Boy Scouting was letting Explorer posts specialize in some field. I think we were the first TV Explorer post in the country. My dad, Joseph (Ben) Schrempp was the leader. Jeff Frye, son of the Laguna Salada school board member Will Frye was in the group. I remember Danny Mayer and Guido Borges as well. Perhaps a guy named Roland Pacquette too. A girl named Debbie Patsel from Oceana joined us. She dated Jeff's brother Chris for a while. I think she went on to professional clown school. I hear she's now a special education teacher. I think the Savage you reference must have been the wife of Mark Savage. He was active in local politics. It was a long time ago.

I never worked in the little studio that was near the TCI office, next to the current sewage treatment plant. I came in just as the studio on the road that fronts Highway 1 was opening. I remember long days of putting up donated egg cartons for sound deadening, only to find out that they were not fire safe. We took them all down, dipped them in a fireproofing, then put them all back up again. I remember building the audio console and the technical director's room. I remember the card flipper that ran when we were off the air and a salesman named Harry Moss who came in to sell advertising, but the market was a bit small.

When I came in there was a group of really nice tie dyed hippies that worked the studio. Phil Towle was a tall thin guy with long reddish hair and a ZZ Top kind of beard. I remember him with the stature of Gandalf, only taller and red. They did a regular show, Home Sweet Home, but I don't remember what it was about. They were very nice to our Explorer group. I think they used to call us the gremlins or some such, but it was an endearing term. I assume everyone was smoking pot back then. Yet I never saw it. Or maybe I did but didn't know what it was - I was pretty naive in those days. They were very protective of us gremlins. I remember Sunny Shephard who wanted to be a DJ and had a regular Saturday evening show playing the "music of love." He was sooo smooth. A very nice guy.

We crewed for several shows. There was Wayne's sport report with Wayne Johnson. Once a week he showed video from local Pop Warner football and little league games. We also crewed a weekly religious show for someone. We used to print title cards with a block type printer in the back. My first week I spelled the credits "Pasture xxx" instead of "Pastor xxx". I guess it showed my lack of religious training. He was amused but his wife was not.

One year we taped all the Terra Nova and Oceana football games. We used to erect a three story scaffolding to get a better view. Grady and someone else would sit on the second story doing the play by play. One game at Saramonte (or was it at Westmoor?) High was beset with a huge wet wind. We wrapped plastic bags around our big cameras and other equipment. We tied tarps on the windward side to protect the talent. I was on the top floor helping the cameraman when a big gust came up and toppled the whole thing. We were thrown to the ground and the camera fell on top of me. I remember that on the way down I was torn between protecting myself and protecting the expensive camera. Without those cameras we wouldn't be on the air. Luckily no one was hurt and the equipment survived. Grady was pretty shaken up - he was the manager and the potential danger caught him by surprise.

One time we had a theater company come in and perform a play. I don't remember much except that the action all took place in a dark prison cell. The lighting made for cool camera shots. We tired to be very artsy on that shoot. Frank Zamacona was a producer at Channel 8 and I think he produced this show. He might have been the director too. I saw Frank's name in the credits of one of the comedy club shows on KQED (SF Channel 9) a few years back. 20 years later a friend of mine worked in television production at Hewlett Packard in Cupertino and he met Frank there. I think Frank is an independent producer in SF. That play made me start thinking about shooting a video of a pop song that was playing at the time, Timothy. It was about a guy trapped in a mine cave-in. I thought it would make a great show. Too bad I never followed through; I might have made an early version of MTV!

Our explorer post also had a regular weekly show. Danny Mayer was the host of a variety show. I was the guest once and I showed how to develop a roll of film at home. Those shows must have been painful to watch. I distinctly remember seeing myself on tape and noting how badly I slouched. I was over 6 feet tall and I walked like a hunchback. I was so mortified to see myself with such bad posture that that very day I started throwing my shoulders back and standing tall. To this day I remember that lightening bolt hit. Strange what things remain burned in the brain.

We also did the one-off events. I remember a remote at Oceana where we taped a band that played modern gypsy music.

We had some down times too. Grady was always trying to find ways to keep the funding coming. In fact, when I started it might not have been TCI because I remember a transition when TCI took over the cable operation and we got the word that we were part of a big corporation and we better watch our p's and q's.

For a few months the new corporate masters at TCI assigned a new guy to, I thought, "straighten the place out." He was a blustery guy. I think he had an affected drawl and chewed on toothpicks. Might have been Harold somebody. He didn't get along with Grady, Maggie, Tuck and the others. He took our Explorer post on an outing to one of the San Francisco TV stations. We thought he knew people there, but once we were in SF he drove to a pay phone and said, "watch this." He proceeded to call the TV stations. He asked to speak to the chief engineer on duty and told a story about being from out of town. He "worked for an affiliate in Ohio and I'm showing my brother's boy scout troop around. Could we get a quick tour?" He talked the talk very well. After enough calls he bluffed someone into it. We had a great tour.

As young boys we thought this guy's tough talk and all-business demeanor was going to save the station. This guy bad mouthed Grady and Maggie and the others. We were too young to know better. Anyway, he was always asking us if we wanted to see "the transmitter" on Montara mountain. The head end was off limits and this was an exciting thing to see. One time he tried to get Jeff and me to go up with him. He told us we'd take a few beers or some Jack Daniel's with us. We were Seniors at the time and didn't drink except on rare occasions. This guy was a little too pushy and we never went up with him. Another young boy bragged about going up to the transmitter several times. We were jealous, but something kept us from ever accepting the offer. After this creep had been around for a few months he abruptly disappeared completely one day. When I asked Grady about it, I said something like, "are we still going ahead with his plan to change the way the station is managed? It sounded so good to me." Grady looked angry, sad, and weary all at the same time. He said, "XXX would say anything to get young boys up to the transmitter." Everyone was weird over his leaving. That's all I ever heard about it, but in retrospect I assume he was a pedophile.

I was hanging out with a high school group that called themselves The Minutemen after they stole the "anchor" from Oceana. It was a perpetual trophy and they just walked in and took it. The caper took less than a minute. That was big news to Panagoulias, the principal of Terra Nova. Oceana was a rougher school and he thought a group of toughs were going to come down and destroy Terra Nova. I think he was worried about a West Side Story type show down. He yelled about it and the anchor appeared again. Late one other night The Minutemen took hand saws to the big Oceana high school sign and cut the 4x4 posts supporting it. The sign was spirited away and another brew-ha-ha was predicted. In an anti climax, no one at Oceana even knew the sign was missing. The Minutemen had to call the local newspaper as a concerned citizen and ask where the sign went. The story in the paper made it seem like this was a crime (duh!) and The Minutemen started looking for a face saving way to give the sign back. So, one night Channel 8 was doing a fund raising auction using the City Council chambers. Half way through someone walks in with the Oceana sign and feigning innocence says, "I found this leaning against the side of the building. How much do you think the Oceana principal would donate to get it back?" Grady gave him a long look and put the sign to one side saying, "that is going back to Oceana." A while later the auction was in full swing and Grady turned around to find the same guys who brought the sign in taking it back out the door. 

"We're just going to store it outside, out of the way." 
"No way," said Grady. 

At that point the sign was put behind the auction tables where it could be seen on camera and Grady could keep an eye on it.

Whew. That was a fun romp through things I had not thought of in years!

I don't know if you wanted to know this, but I did.


Summer 2005 - In re-reading my email above, I see that it leaves some questions open. I need to add that I really enjoyed my time at Channel 8. I learned so much about people from Grady and Maggie and the others. They spent a lot of time with me as I hung out at the studio. There were many long summer afternoons when I'm sure they wanted to shoo me out of there (or perhaps shoot me for my big teenager mouth) and yet they didn't. Those were formative years and I have to credit them for some of what's good in me today. They are very good people.

Since publishing this page I've received several emails from people mentioned here. So far they have not given me permission to use their names, and I can respect that. To make this history more complete I'll add some notes below without attribution. I don't mean to steal other's work, just to protect their identities.

There was a weekly Baha'i program called Dawning Point directed by Dave Stevens.

Vincent Garnier was Sunny Shepherd, the DJ.

Summer 2006 - I was alerted to a few more items...

Mark Savage passed away in the late 1980's. His wife Dema was the Pacifica Historian for many years. 

There were two high schools in Pacifica: Terra Nova and Oceana. Funny thing, back in those days the principal of Oceana was Mr. Terranova.

June 2008 - Bruce Brunger sent me a couple of very nice emails reminiscing about Cable 8. He generously allowed me to excerpt them here.

Hi there, Jim!

We never met at Channel 8, but I was one of Layton Jones' prized students in his tele-productions class at Oceana High School in 1976-77 along with Dave Collett, Ken Brown, and Mark Burns. The four of us were Layton's "go-to" team for the class, and we actually accomplished a lot on a shoestring budget and hand-me-down cameras with Plumicon tubes, etc.

Layton lived in Linda Mar, not far from Terra Nova High School, and his two sons both attended Terra Nova while Layton taught math and physics at Oceana. You never saw him without his plastic engineer's pocket protector stuffed not with pens or pencil, but those pungent cigarillos plastic tipped cigars! He really enjoyed making me and others blush at his racy jokes and off-the-wall comments. He could swear like a sailor and talk like a diplomat at the flick of a switch.

When we established the TV studio at Oceana with Layton in a room adjoining the Oceana library on campus. It was the first for a high school in Northern California at the time, Layton told me. He worked closely with the Business Club and Journalism clubs at Oceana to arrange for paid advertising from local businesses to help fund the weekly newscasts that we taped at Oceana and ran later that night on Cable 8. The journalism students served as news anchor people and "in the field" reporters. Layton himself did some ad voiceovers/narration for some of the ad breaks during the broadcast. He was so funny... he sounded like some wheezy tobacco chewer instead of an announcer! But his voice had character for the ads.

Our entire TV studio at Oceana was small; just two cameras, a hand-me-down control table and switches, and we often spliced cables and mended motherboards in the cameras to get everything to work... and we built a wall to acoustically separate the director room from the studio floor... but you'd often still hear (over the newscaster's microphones, no less!) the director's voice carrying over, giving orders from behind the wall... Oh those were fun days... the four of us in the tele-productions class hung out and did various video projects for the school there, and Grady Hester would call us down to help with manning the cameras or audio equipments for local sport games coverage, etc.

I loved being the cameraman up on the truck or up in the audience stand, covering the events... I had some punk once stick some of his chewed gum onto my camera lens, but I never had a mishap really. Rain or shine, we were there, and we'd occasionally earn a couple of bucks for our time.

At the Cable 8 Station, there were several sports shows that I was tapped to do the camerawork and directing for... and I'd be the one-man production crew for most of the evening broadcasts... (one show featured an "Oceana" sports commentator sitting next to a "Terra Nova" commentator, who often got angry with each other on-camera during the shows when talking about their alma mater teams...), and there was a local DJ who did some music and commentary for the cameras... his program was called "Bossanova"... He was fun to work for.

I got to be the cameraman on top of the truck while Grady was director.... but Layton seemed to think that I should be the sound man, so I sometimes got to be inside the directors' van and oversee the microphones and such.

Layton also took our class to visit KGO-7 TV news studios, and we saw Van Amberg and his other co-host there, and got to touch the cameras and sit in the studio, etc. It was fun.

Layton retired from teaching at Oceana in 1977 and he moved with his wife to Hamilton, Montana to his log cabin home in the Bitterroot Mountains (he invited me to accompany him and his sons to help build the cabin that summer in 1977, and he gave me the privilege of building a small TV studio in the basement of his log cabin home. Later on he was still teaching TV broadcasting and tele-production to local kids there in his retirement years!)

Layton Jones was like a strange cross between Burl Ives and a cigar-chomping foul mouthed trucker, but he was endearing in his own way. He taught math and physics and electronics for a number of years at Oceana and later Layton started up the Oceana High School tele-production courses around 1975-76, and worked closely with Grady and Maggie at Cable 8 in Sharp Park.

I worked with Grady and Maggie to help do some evening broadcasts from the Channel 8 station in Sharp Park, and it was a great experience. I only had the best of memories working with everyone there...



Jeff Frye, Chris Frye, Danny Mayer, Grady Hesters, Frank Zamacona, Harry Moss, Layton Jones, Debbie Debra Patsel,  Maggie Moseley / Ramirez

Paul Osborn, Charlie Starr, Winged Pig Productions, Wayne Johnson, Dave Stevens, Jim Perry, Vincent Garnier, Dan Kumler,

Gary Sandino, Tup Fisher, Sunny Shepherd , Roland Pacquette, Tom Roberts, Dale Dennis, Tim Nolan, Jim Vossen, Noble Fields, Phil Towle

Mary Spriggs