440: Satisfaction - In depth
Actually, my resume doesn't really capture my career very well. I was a boomer par excellance. Many places I worked two or three times. My shortest employment was wandering into KLIL, Ukiah one morning and finding the owner Woody White pacing in the lobby. He was off the air, his morning man and a saleslady had run off to Reno to get married and had neglected to tell him of their impending absence.

I was out barnstorming, just driving around to various stations looking for work. I had my 1st phone with me and I told Woody I could run any board anywhere. So I went into the control room and put him on the air. About 2PM the afternoon man wandered in and I was relieved.

Woody was very angry, his telephone number for the afternoon man had changed and they guy had not updated it. He had been left with no one to call. Woody said if I would like a job he was prepared to fire the morning man, and he thought I sounded splendid on the air.

I told Woody I was glad to have been able to help him out, but I didn't work in FM stations -- it was 1970 and they just had no audiance -- only AM radio. He paid me cash for my morning's effort, and told me if I ever needed a job to give him a call.

Well, it happened that I did. Years later I was in a spot and I called. Woody hired me on the phone and gave me a place in the staff even though he had no openings. I worked for a year and left for greener pastures.

I came back a third time and worked for him again, this time for two years. One thing I always tried to do was to do a good job and leave a boss ready to hire me again.

All my stations were two-bit small town stations except for KOIT in San Francisco. Even KJAY, Sacramento was a two-bit station.

I have a lot of stories to tell:

When working at KJAY, as a DJ, our boss, Jack Powell, was so cheap he had us in a utility trailer with no AC. The transmitter couldn't take the heat & went off the air. He came out and cut a hole in the roof over it, and this lowered the temperature enough to keep us on. We had a big jar at the end of the turntables into which we would put our pennies and nickles. The months went by and we all said not a word. I was the lucky guy, the morning man -- the winter came and about 8AM it began to rain; the transmitter blew up and I put the jar in the trunk of my car. Powell came a running; he had forgotten about the hole he cut. He asked me, 'why didn't you warn me?' I said I had just never thought of it. All the DJs said the same. We were off our chairs laughing at him. He was off air 3 days and it cost him MONEY!"

My 2nd shortest employment was at KURY, Brookings OR. I was at KAHI Auburn CA and my boss fired me. A very bad day. I was the last to go, he had cleaned out the entire staff at KAHI, 1/2 of them on the first day he took ownership, and the 2nd half two weeks later. Only I remained, I was the Chief Engineer/afternoon DJ. Well a month later Gene got me out the door.

I was making phone calls to land another gig, and I ran across this guy Norm Oberst at KURY. He hired me on the phone, but with a proviso that if I couldn't sound good on the air, he would have to replace me. After my first shift, he and I would have a chat and he would make a judgement on how I sounded. Well I did my 1st shift and we met.

He said I sounded just great ! He would be happy to have me stay. I told Norm, that so far as I was concerned I had driven up here with no guarantees and no comittments. I felt it went both ways. His station was the poorest excuse for a station I'd ever seen, and while I was happy to help him out during his emergency, he should keep looking for another DJ.

True to my word, I had an old friend Daryl Calfee with whom I had worked in KRAF Reedsport OR who was unemployed. I gave Daryl a call and he was eager to work the Brookings station. I talked with Norm about it, and he was eager to give him a try.

Daryl arrived and I broke him in on the board, which by the way, was not an easy board. I don't want to go into it here, but it was a nightmare. Anyway it took Daryl a couple of weeks to get onto it, and I left. Norm and Daryl were happy campers for 8 or 9 years after that.

Norm took my criticisms to heart and upgraded his station, putting in cart machines and a Q amplifier to get records ready for speedy tight playing on the air. The station sounded 100% better with the upgrades, and I told him so. It really helped him to sell his advertising in that town... or at least that is my belief.


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