You go on vacation and things always happen.
You come back and you’re unaware until someone posts a note on Facebook or sends you a cryptic email.
During the month of February, we lost two local radio giants that were a big part of Seattle’s broadcasting history: Wally Nelskog and Danny Holiday. I had met both over the years and had indirect connections with them through my late broadcasting buddy, Larry Nelson.
In fact, it was Larry who introduced me to Danny when he stopped by to say hi over at the old KOMO radio building. That should tell you how long ago it was–back in the 1980s, when Danny’s hey-day was fresh in everyone’s mind and he was “living the dream”, playing oldies at night on KBSG. Wolfman Jack would have been proud.
As far as Wally Nelskog goes, we never officially met. I saw him just last year at gathering of ancient radio people at the Lake City Elks Club. Once each spring, this gathering occurs and I just got wind of it last year. As I looked around the room at Patti Parr, Don Riggs, J.P. Patches and others, someone said, “Hey, over there—that’s Wally Nelskog.” I probably should have gone up and introduced myself, but didn’t.
Wally almost had a big impact on my radio career. It was in my early years of working with Larry Nelson at KOMO. Larry’s contract was almost up and Wally operated a station called “KIXI Light” (these days, KJR-FM). For month after month, Larry was courted by Wally, who wanted to lure him over to the FM-side. To me it was a no-brainer, but Larry wasn’t sure and ultimately got a long-term contract out of KOMO. How different my career could have been, had Larry decided to jump. Would I have gone along? Would we have worked together a lot longer?
Both of these men lived the radio dream–Danny, in the Rock & Roll era; Wally, being on the air in the early days of radio and eventually becoming a pillar in the Seattle radio community. It’s easy to refer to either one as a ‘giant’ in the industry and those currently in radio have both to thank for paving the way.