Valley Broadcast Legends
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Cal Bollwinkel

Jim Birmingham

(Copy by Jim Drennan)

We’ve lost another one of our Valley Broadcast Legends. Jim Birmingham died on Dec. 29, 2015, in San Rafael. Jim was born in 1929 and raised on his family’s apricot ranch near Winters. In 1953 after a stint in the Coast Guard, Jim placed an ad in the Sacramento Bee saying he was “a young, single vet just out of college willing to work and not afraid of elbow grease.” The result: several years as a manufacturer’s rep for the Alliance Manufacturing Co., selling Tenna-Roters to retailers. The Tenna-Roter was an exciting new gizmo that allowed you to change the direction of your TV antenna from inside the house.

In that role, Jim bumped into KCRA executive Jon Kelly in Redding, and the result was a career at KCRA that ended up with him becoming general manager. Jim later took another assignment from the Kelly family, becoming market manager and then executive vice president at its River City Bank.

Jim was active in many civic organizations and in later years became involved in the senior movement, bringing the Senior Games … and 825 participants … to Sacramento in May 1991.

His obituary in the Bee reports that Jim was “at the forefront of the unorganized and sweeping movement that set out to dispel the nonsensical and self-defeating myths about aging that refused to see elder Americans as washed up, withered and useless human beings.”



last edited 22 May 2020