One of those was Jim Roberts. When I was a kid, with my mom, brother, and the neighbors, I picked beans and berries on the Roberts' farm. I have very vivid memories of being between the tall bean rows, eating a warm sack lunch when the break came, getting the beans weighed for how much I'd be making toward school clothes.
Jim and his wife Sally
At the reunion, I reconnected with several friends on Facebook and Jim was one. When I found out what he's been doing, I asked him to write a guest blog here because I thought others might find how public radio works and who does these shows to be of interest.
As a side note, it is also interesting what we can do, in our senior years, when the world might think we should be playing Bingo or sitting home watching TV. The following is from Jim:
Will start by saying I've known you since we were kids in the same grade and riding the same school bus. You were really quiet and studious and I was sort of the opposite! Fifty years later I see you at the first hi school reunion I'd ever attended and then connected through the magic of face book.
Don't know if this is pertinent, but I have had a life long love of radio as a means of learning things and enjoying music. I remember being a little kid listening to my dad being interviewed on a Portland radio station that had something to do with farming. Blessed to not have a TV until maybe a junior in hi school so consequently listened to radio and read. Same stuff I do to this day with the recent increase with radio involvement.
We haven't had a TV since 1990 so know virtually nothing about of the current menu on the tube. Stumbled across KMUN shortly after moving to Wahkiakum county from Anchorage. Had just retired from 19 years as a staff RN at Providence Alaska Medical Center.
My wife Sally and I arrived to the Columbia-Pacific in February, 2010. First thing that caught our ears was The Ship Report at 8:49 each weekday morning unless it's in 'dry dock', as the host and station manager Joanne Rideout describes. NPR news and local interest programs mornings and evenings interspersed with local news covering Oregon and Washington issues. And then the music starts. Folk of one sort or another weekdays 10-noon followed by Fresh Air and then, depending on the day, will be two or three hours of music.
I was listening Joey's Blues in the Afternoon on a Monday afternoon in September of 2012 when he announced that KMUN was looking to train new programmers and to call the station if interested. He hadn't hung up yet and I was on the phone!
Shortly an application arrived in the mail and ultimate acceptance into the class of 5 that met five consecutive Wednesdays from 4-5:30. Elizabeth Menetrey is the program director and taught us well. At the end of the five weeks each person had to produce a five minute show with a beginning, two sets with snippets of three tunes in each with a station break between and then an ending to the 'show'.
A committee then decides if you are good to go on air. I was paired with Todd Lippold on a Saturday noon-2:00 show called Cross Road. I remember the date, 11/10/2012 as it coincides with the Marine Corps birthday.
Since then have hosted a variety of shows including Lost Highway, Blues in the Afternoon, both on Mondays with regular hosts John Stevenson and Joe Patenaude, Cross Roads, Stuck in the Sixties and the Saturday night party from 8-10.
This all leads to the recent major winter storm here with huge wind gusts and lots of rain. I was enjoying the 50 mile drive from Cathlamet to Astoria to do the Saturday night show which I call The 420 Club/Trippin' with Jimmy when I host it.
I was about half way across the Megler bridge and listening to KMUN programmer Ellen playing her music on the Shady Grove program when there was white noise for less than a minute before the signal was back. Arrived at the Tillicum house studio with my box of CD's for my program and found that another programmer, Suzy McCleary, had already talked to Ellen. She asked me to call our engineer Terry Wilson and find out what happened.
Turned out that Coast Radio was the only signal going out in the local area. Both TV and radio stations had lost power and were just gone. The true beauty of our community radio is that it's all volunteer programmers and community supported. This is why we have the pledge drives and have a propane fired generator which allows us to broadcast even when all else has failed. People do call with updates on what is happening where they live.
Terry had just left the air room after announcing that power had been restored to a particular area and a person called and said not so. That's why we do this and this is part of stated objective of serving our community; Ask any of the other programmers and get the same answer. It's one of the most fun things a person can do is to be on the radio. Knowing that the entire planet most likely isn't listening to you and your music but also knowing they could is really cool.
Being able to play music recorded by friends of mine in addition to music Sally and I have collected over our 25 years is also really cool. But the very coolest thing of all is to be a part of this truly amazing family and endeavor we call Coast Radio.
And for me besides hearing an old friend on the radio, here is the cool part-- you can listen to this music and station from anywhere in the US. When I went on the trip down here to Tucson, all I had to do was click on the link and there it was coming through my computer. To hear music a friend has chosen, the kind you might not hear elsewhere, then it's on a station that is not tied to corporate masters, that's worth protecting, don't you think?