Radio , Television, Black Widow Spiders — Yes, this career can be yours!!

My high school buddy Hank Unk recently posed this in the comments section of an earlier blog post. I figured I would give it more prominence by posting it here!

I just discovered this blog while I was googling for some Northwest radio info. I worked at KTEL Black widow spider from August 1971 to July 1972. Long on-air shifts were definitely KTEL's trademark. And, yes, DJ Central (the transmitter building) was still infested with Black Widow spiders

My shift started at 7:15am. From 7:15am until 9:00 I handled morning farm report features, fishing and hunting reports, and a live news feed piped in from the station's Book Nook studio. At 9:00am to Noon it was the "Coffee Break Show", which also included "Pet Patrol" at 10:30, and "Radio Trading Post", at 11:30, always sponsored by The Groseclose Funeral Home. I had to read very somber live copy for their spots.

Book Nook exterior 1920sFrom Noon to 1:00pm there was another live news feed from the Book Nook studio, Paul Harvey, and some other features. I ate my lunch during the 15 minutes Paul Harvey was on. At 1:05, directly after the ABC World News break, I kicked off the Blue Mountain Roundup Show, which, as it sounds, is Country & Western music, as it was still called back then. At 3:15 my 8-hour shift was over when Dave Cochran would start his shift. At 6pm he kicked off "Nightflight 1490", the local Rock program, until 10pm sign off. When Cochran left for six weeks, to acquire his 1st Class FCC license, I worked from 7:15am until 10pm sign-off – 15 straight hours on the air. To say I was mentally drained, is an understatement. But, after sign-off I often had to spend another 30 to 45 minutes to record commercial spots. In July 1972 I graduated from radio to TV to become the News Director/Anchorman at KNDU-TV in the Tri-Cities, using the name "Hank Hollander".

I knew Burl because we both attended Wa-Hi. He was one year ahead of me. I listened to him and Dale Unruh every night as they spun the top hits of the day. One thing that impressed me was the interview they had with The Beatles. It sounded like a live interview via telephone. It wasn't until I worked at KTEL that I stumbled across the promo record on which The Beatles responded to scripted questions for DJs to ask, in this case Dale and Burl. You can call me naive, but that's the magic of radio. I originally started in radio in 1968, and eventually left broadcasting in 1978. Since then I've had a very successful business career with Chrysler, Nissanand Hyster Company. I've been retired for three years and am busier than ever with consulting work; as a member of the board of directors for an international standards institute; and my hobby of recording music where I am the entire band (play all the instruments). Even after all these years, I still have a soft spot for radio,and sometimes wonder if there might a part-time opportunity for a 64-year-old ex DJ. One of my fellow Phoenix area residents (Alice Cooper – yes, that one) does a syndicated radio show but, then, his name has quite a bit more attraction power than Hank who?

4 Responses to “Radio , Television, Black Widow Spiders — Yes, this career can be yours!!”

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