(written circa 1970)

If anyone at KHOF rates the degree of Wizard of Electronics it is Walter B. “Bernie” Marston, Operations Manager and Chief Engineer of Faith Broadcasting Network.

It was Bernie who salvaged the TV antenna for a saving of more than $25,000 and who built much of the television transmitter equipment at a saving of $100,000 or more.

Bernie was a part-time volunteer operator and engineering consultant for KHOF-FM in 1957 and 1958 before becoming co-owner of a Christian FM radio station in Bakersfield. A resident of the San Gabriel Valley for 31 years, he attended schools in Arcadia, Monrovia, and Pomona College. During WW II he made precision measuring instruments and supervised a gage laboratory that served as “Bureau of Standards” for Southern California. In 1948 he founded his own business making French horn rotary valves. After leaving Bakersfield he relocated in South Pasadena to make electronic equipment and FM transmitters. Again he served as consultant to KHOF-FM which led in 1967 to accept the full-time project of building KHOF-TV.

Married 28 years to his wife, Leila, a reading specialist teaching in the South Pasadena School District, the couple has two children. Daughter Janet is a librarian on the faculty at Cal State Long Beach, while son John attends Cal State Los Angeles and makes French horn valves.

Bernie’s hobbies are water skiing and playing the French horn.

Blessed with Christian parents and raised in a fundamental (Southern) Methodist church, he accepted Christ as Savior at the age of 13 at a church camp. He was brought into Pentecostal fellowship while courting his wife. Bernie says “I have earnestly sought the Lord’s leading in all major decisions of my life, and I firmly believe that He directed me to KHOF-TV at the exact time when I could be most useful for His work.”

Bernie is a lifetime, charter member of the Society of Broadcast Engineers and a Certified Professional Broadcast Engineer.

NOTE: After KHOF-TV Channel 30 was successfully put on the air Bernie Marston as FBN Director of Engineering continued to provide consultation and “hands on” construction assistance in the addition of KVOF-TV Channel 38 San Francisco, WHCT Channel 18 in Hartford, CT and KIFM-FM Bakersfield to Faith Broadcasting Network. After leaving FBN in 1978 he provided his engineering expertise to several other Christian television and FM stations including the first television station on the north peak of Mt. Diablo in northern California. He spent the final years of his professional career as Chief Radio/Television Engineer for the Long Beach Unified School District that operated an FM broadcast station and provided four channels of Instructional Television to the 110 schools in the District. Now (2012) in  retirement at age 89 in Orange County, CA he spends his time playing with computers, restoring old Fords, tending a small avocado grove and enjoying the company of his wife, friends and his extended family.    

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Here are a couple of the activities Bernie took on after he left FBN. Bernie’s interest in his roots led him to write about his grandfather’s and father’s adventures in homesteading a piece of ground just north of Victorville California, called Turtle Valley. He wrote about this in a story titled “The Saga of Turtle Valley.” On the right is a map showing the location of the well his father dug to bring water to his homestead. Zoom in on the balloon and switch to the satellite mode to get a birds-eye view of the concrete pad surrounding the well casing.

Clicking on the picture with the title on the left will download a PDF document of Bernie’s story which is rather interesting.

Earlier, Bernie mentioned construction of TV station, KFCB, atop the North Peak of Mt. Diablo. Bernie writes about his experience in building the station. You can read the PDF document of his story by clicking the picture of the TV set on the left. The map on the right shows the original location of the transmitter site that Bernie writes about. The station has since changed ownership, call sign and relocated to the South Peak of Mt. Diablo. Zoom in on the balloon for a close up look of the original transmitter site. Click this call sign, KFCB, for information on the current station with some history.

Bernie served for a short time as a Merchant Marine in the latter part of World War II. He served on the Standard Oil Tanker W. S. Rheem transporting fuel from Southern California to the Pacific Northwest. Bernie documented his experience back in 2001. As a man with seemingly endless talents, we thought it appropriate to share his experience on this web page as he found himself in some interesting situations while serving on this ship. Click on the picture of the official Merchant Marine Flag on the right to read Bernie’s story.

WBM MerchantMarine.pdf