It Was Twenty Years Ago Today, Part CXXVI

It was June 24, 1991.  I’d been working at KDWB/K63 for a little over six months.  It was my radio fix, of sorts; I got in maybe 24 hours a week, in and among my various nightclub gigs.  It wasn’t much of a living – but, I thought, it at least kept my toe in the racket.


I was in the studio on a Monday morning, picking up some hours filling in for the guy who normally ran the show after “Harley Worthit”, the morning guy, got off the air.

It was exactly the most boring job I’d had in my radio career.  I wasn’t a “disc jockey”; I was a “board operator” running satellite programming; my job was to sit in the booth, make sure the satellite didn’t go down (it was always fun when it did; I actually got to play real music from the studio.  It happened maybe twice) and listen for the cues from the network to drop in local commeercials – and then return to the network.  Hour in.  Hour out.


It was pure distilled tedium.

It was not what I got into radio to do.

After four years of looking for another radio job…

…wait – four years?  Was that possible?

No  – it’d been more than four years of looking for a job in news or talk radio.  A few nibbles, a couple of tugs on the line – but nothing.   Other than sitting in the dank little control room at K63 and listening for commercial cues and turning pot knobs to keep the needles out of the red.

If it weren’t for the people that I got to hobnob with, and the thin thread to the goal that I held onto by just being in the building, and the people  – well, it was hardly worth it, was it?

Around 11, one of them – Joe Hansen – walked into the studio.  He was going to work the afternoon shift starting at noon – but he liked coming in early to hang out and shoot the breeze.

“Hey, man”, he said, as the smell of cigarettes permeated the room.  “You hear they’re looking for an “executive producer at KSTP?””   Having worked at KSTP, I knew the job was really sort of a poor man’s “program director” gig, although Hubbard Broadcasting liked to call them “executive producers” to keep them from feeling too powerful.

But no, I answered.  I had not.


I’d been out of talk radio for four years.  In the eight years I had been in the business, I’d not come close to being management.

I was married, and had a stepson and a baby on the way in about six weeks.

Radio was not packing the gear as a way to feed a family.

But the idea of landing a job in the racket that would not only pay well enough to feed a family, but get me back into talk radio?

I went home and got out my typewriter and started cobbling together a resume and a cover letter that could make me look like management material.

And twenty years ago tomorrow, I addressed an 8.5×11 manila envelope to Ginny Morris, the general manager at KSTP, and dropped it in the mailbox.

8 thoughts on “It Was Twenty Years Ago Today, Part CXXVI

  1. Radio is a harsh mistress. She plays favorites, mocks her suitors, and her PMS lasts 28 days a month. I do enjoy these memoirs.

  2. Kay Dee Double You Beeee, Sixty Three!!!
    Barf. I hated that station. Pap for pre-pubescent girls and dorks with zero musical taste.

  3. Brad: In parallel. On the AM side (Cochran was on the FM side).

    Kerm: Different era. It was an oldies statio in 1991, and had been for a long long time.

  4. I was working a crap job in 1989 and they had KDWB on a lot. It wasn’t oldies. It was a constant rotation of the same 10 songs, and it drove me nutz. The worst effing radio I’ve ever suffered through. They once played “I Love Rock and Roll” by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts 3 times in a row. Seriously. And don’t get me started on the Paula Abdul.

  5. Mitch, hope you monitor you comments at night as I think you would like this.

    Remember Katrina? The panic? The screaming? The people on their roofs waiting for the gov’t to rescue them? The blaming? The nasty attacks blaming President Bush?

    Compare with Minot. 12,000 people (out of 42,000) have been evacuated. Water everywhere. Houses, schools, businesses, churches. And what kind of comments do we see on KX News blog?

    Rachel Lampkins
    Minot is doing so amazing with this– though things are tragic and full of despair, there’s that little flicker of hope when you see a community pull together this way. Tragedy brings out the best in people, especially Minot Residents. I am proud.
    8 minutes ago · Like · Comment
    Mary Lubrich Benoit, Judy S Brooks and Debra Jones like this..
    .Nick Vannett

    just imagine how crazy its going to be in minot with all the the people that will be coming here contractors and the likes,like it isnt already bustling with all the oil people and everyone else.
    7 minutes ago · Like · Comment
    Kevin Haselton and Debra Jones like this..

  6. I like the second one. To paraphrase:

    “Well, thousands of us have our homes and businesses underwater. But it’s not all bad. Once the water goes down, the city will be bustling with folks coming in to do repairs.”

    There were other posts thanking the oil industry companies, including Haliburton, for their generous help this week.

  7. Pingback: Shot in the Dark » Blog Archive » It Was Twenty Years Ago Today, Part CXXVII

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