I never heard of San Ramon before I moved here. I was trying to be an entrepreneur in Morro Bay, but not doing very well at it. I moved to Morro Bay in 1993 to buy a partnership in an AM/FM radio combo. It seemed like a good idea at the time.
The AM station, KBAI, played music from the forties through the sixties to appeal to all the retirees there. Even though I was still in my early '50s, I loved big band and swing from the '40s, and grew up in the early rock era of the 1950s.
The FM station, KWWV, played light rock, which wasn't my favorite, but is easy to listen to. The stations were on a Satellite feed, but we had morning DJs on both stations for live shows and phone-in requests.
Both stations were popular and had loyal followings. There was just one problem ? we sold spots, when we could, for $8 a minute. Even when we had a full lineup of advertisers, I couldn't make any money. They were money pits.
There's an old joke, which isn't really a joke. "How do you make a small fortune in radio?" Answer, "Start with a large fortune." I started with $80,000 from selling my house in Culver City. I burned through most of that in two years. Fortunately I was able to sell the stations before I went broke.
I tried to find a job in the "big city," San Luis Obispo. I was on the list for adjunct faculty at Cal Poly. What I didn't know at the time is that getting on the list is easy, but when openings came up, the people hired were friends of faculty or administration. I didn't have time to ingratiate myself with Department Heads, so I started looking for a real job.
I was at a craft fair in San Mateo selling fruit sauces when I saw an ad in the San Francisco Chronicle for a Technical Writer at a software company in San Ramon. I worked as a technical writer and trainer at Hughes Aircraft for 12 years.
I mailed a resume to the address and tried to find San Ramon on a map. I thought it might be near the Oregon border, but I saw it wasn't far from Walnut Creek. I heard of Walnut Creek and even went on a job interview there; so I felt a little better about San Ramon not being in the hinterland.
I received a phone call the next day from the VP of Operations. He was desperately looking for a Tech Writer because up until then he was writing all of the user guides for the company's Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system.
I drove up to San Ramon for an interview, but the only hotel here was the Marriott and that cost over $100 a night. So I stayed at the hotel on Regional Street in Dublin. It's a Holiday Inn now but it was something else back then.
I was offered the job at a decent salary. So I rented a one bedroom apartment at Cedar Pointe Loop and moved to San Ramon in two weeks. That was March 23, 1997. I never heard of San Ramon before I moved here. It's a hidden treasure, like Shangri La.