How Del Mar got its TV station

When the cable television craze hit the San Diego area in the early 1980s, local communities were anxious to build their own local television stations. The city of Del Mar was no exception, although a number of hurdles stood in the way.

One of the main men behind building the station was local resident and architect Herb Turner. He had a hand in planning, construction and running the station.

The first phase of the project was selecting a company to get the franchise for Del Mar.

“There were two companies competing for the franchise,” Turner said. “One was Time Warner and the other was Bill Daniels, who lived in Denver but had a house in Del Mar. He was the owner of Daniels Cablevision. I was for Daniels.”

However, Turner was torn. He had a friend lobbying him who represented Time Warner.

In the end, Daniels Cablevision got the contract because Daniels was semi-local and also had John Blake behind him.

Phase two was actually constructing the building. Turner offered to build the station for no fee, just reimbursement for the costs.

“Unfortunately, the first set of plans were no good,” Turner said. “The plans were based on what had been done in Denver and, of course, we don’t have a frost line here in San Diego as they do in Denver. So we just tailored the plans to what we have here and there was no problem.”

Before the construction could begin, there was another major hurdle: money.

“Since no one really knew how much it would cost, we really didn’t have an actual budget to work with,” Turner said. Del Mar was the first city in the area to build its own station. “There was a budget for running the station after it was built, but there wasn’t a budget for the actual construction,” he said.

There was also the possible conflict of interest if Turner had been in charge of his own reimbursement. “What we finally did was put the construction monies under fund control … All I did was submit my bills to them and they reimbursed me for my expenses.”

It took about six months to complete the station, located at 240 10th St.

Editor’s note: This article, written by Bob Lange, is reprinted from the “Del Mar Picture Book,” published by Joe Jelley. Contact him at

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