The NW Just Got A Little Less Funny

By this stage in life, you’ve no doubt met hundreds of people during your years on earth. Some, one-time events, others are in it for the long haul and they become a part of your life. For me, Scott Burns is one of those rare life-long friends who will always feel like a brother, no matter how far apart we may live.

Including Las Vegas.

After spending the last 41 years in the Seattle area, gracing the airwaves around here on such stations as KJR, KUBE, Young Country and KBSG, Scott and his wife April have packed up and headed to the sunny southwest on a new adventure.

I don’t want to repeat too much of what you’ll hear in this podcast, but for the last couple of decades, the times I’ve laughed the hardest were when I was with Scott Burns. He was the audio production guru at Destination Marketing, where I hung out for just shy of 10 years, both of us recovering Seattle radio personalities. In other words, we weren’t introverts.

Besides the above podcast, here are a couple of audio collaborations I worked on with Mr. Burns:

At one point, I was hoping Scott and I could finally partner together on a radio station, and so we pitched KRKO back in the day with this demo that included the late Debbie Deutsch.

Scott was always willing to help me out with some of my crazy projects, including this open to one of my annual Christmas CD’s.

But perhaps our biggest collaboration was when he willingly put on the green paint and sweet-talked his wife April into help bring my song, “Bimbo #5” to life. It was my first-ever music video that I shot on a Flip camera. Here’s the 10th anniversary special I put together.

What a proud family moment!

All this to say, I’m going to miss you Scott Burns. And I was just handed a special thank you note signed by all of the H.R. Directors of the radio stations where you worked. They sincerely appreciated the job security over the years.

In this stay-connected-no-matter-how-far-away-you-are stage of our existence, I look forward to the next time we connect and laugh our rear ends off.

In the meantime, the Pacific Northwest just got a little less funny.

Tim Hunter

This Week, I’m Stepping Back

Next year, it will mark 50 years since I roamed the hallways of Torrance High School, down in southern California. So much happened during those four years there–I learned so much about me, started grasping how the world worked, fell in love for the first time and met friends that I still stay in touch with all these years later.

Most I haven’t seen in almost half a century. Again, Facebook allows us to connect, see what we now look like, and what all has happened in our lives since those days. There have been the occasional class reunions, but I honestly can’t remember who I saw and who I didn’t.

Today, one of my FB friends from those days, Paul Wolcott, shared the story of his life and the meaning of today’s date. I thought I would share it with you:

Forty years ago this morning I woke up in the hospital, couldn’t move, IV’s everywhere, pain everywhere, some kind of orthopedic apparatus sling around my hips. I remembered what happened. I didn’t realize it was actually worse than I thought it was when it happened. I wanted to know how Gary was doing. He didn’t look so good when we were hit earlier in the morning. 0140 hours in the morning to be exact. Nobody would tell me anything more than he was at another hospital and being cared for and I was doing fine.

June 1982, 1800-0200 night shift motors, Hermosa Beach, California. Me and my partner/best friend, Gary Dean Moss. Working the best assignment in law enforcement, police motorcycle duty, extra pay, take home bike, motor boots, leather jacket. It was all good.

Gary and I had attended the LAPD Motor training school six months prior. A difficult school taught by veteran motor officers. The training was two weeks of intensive drills, skills, cone patterns, 40 MPH decel, combination braking, friction point, stress and dirt. We loved it.

The Saturday night shift started out routine enough, prowling the city for CVC violations, DUI’s, suspicious characters. Writing tickets, taking T/C reports, boundary disputes, backups the usual routine stuff. Weekend summer night in Hermosa Beach, plenty of people rolling into the city to have a good time.

Towards the end of our shift we set up on Ocean Dr at Aviation Blvd to cherry pick speeders and possibly a DUI. Gary and I sat there on our bikes and just talked about our day and what we were doing when we got off shift and what we were doing on our days off. We talked about our girlfriends, Gary had a new one. He felt bad because they had had a fight earlier in the day before work. He was going to make it up to her and apologize for being a jerk. I was seeing Carol Glover, I was going to her house after work. We’d been seeing each other for about seven months, I met her on her birthday, introduced by mutual friends.

As we sat on our bikes, we poked fun at each other, laughed about stupid things, the usual chatter between friends.

We heard the whine of a couple of motorcycles headed towards us from PCH, two rice rockets moving fast, east on Aviation. Instinctively we fired up our bikes and gave chase.

Approximately 60 MPH as we crested the slight rise in the road at Prospect, solid green. Light traffic was moving west, the two speeding bikes were just ahead as we were about to light them up.

A white Ford Fiesta was going west on Aviation, suddenly, without signaling the white car turned left crossing our path just before we reached Harper Ln. the border with Redondo Beach. (He was going to the Jack in the Box)

No amount of braking or evasive moves was going to do us any good. (I only laid down 18’ of locked wheel skid). We were doing 60 MPH. Simultaneously we slammed into the car. Gary hit the space between the front bumper and the right front tire. I hit the passenger door. Momentum kept us in motion. I landed approximately 90’ from the point of impact, Gary a little further slamming headfirst into the south-east curb line of Aviation and Harper. I was in the middle of the street. I was conscious. I felt pain. My arms and legs didn’t work. But I was in pain, a good sign. I could see Gary lying there, not moving. I tried calling out to him, nothing. I tried to check to see if my gun was secured, I couldn’t move my arm. I tried to get to my radio to call for help. I couldn’t move my arm, my hand. What are those sticks poking out of the top of my glove? Completely helpless.

A citizen who was behind us saw the whole thing and stopped to help. He got on the radio on my bike and said this “Officer Down, Aviation and Prospect”. That’s it. Redondo Beach officer Mike Higashi responded, “Was that officer down or what?”.

Gary still wasn’t moving.

Debris and wreckage strewn all around us.

I could hear sirens. The citizen that called for help came to check on me. Told me to lay still. Go check on my partner.

The first officer to get to me was Hermosa Beach police officer Phil Keenan and his trainee. I asked him how he was doing, I told him I was fine, go check on Gary.

More officers were arriving. Redondo Beach officer Paul Burch arrived on scene. (Before joining the force he was an RN in the ER at South Bay hospital). He evaluated Gary and made the decision not to wait for paramedics. He and Phil Keenan bundled Gary up put him in the back of Burch’s black and white and rolled Code 3 to South Bay ER. I could hear the radio, Burch demanded a gurney to meet him at the ER entrance. Gary was in full cardiac arrest.

More units arrived. Officer’s I had gone to the police academy with, familiar faces. Comforting faces. Stressed faces.

I’m still waiting for paramedics. I learned later there had been a mix up in dispatch and the paramedics didn’t get the call right away. One officer yelled into the radio “GET THE GOD DAMNED PARAMEDICS HERE NOW!”

There were four people trapped in the car. My bike intruded 3 feet into the passenger door. My body crushed the roof line in. Thank goodness for my vest.

The paramedics arrived more familiar faces. The ambulance arrived. More familiar faces.

Redondo Beach officer Mike Kaye arrived at the scene, we went through the academy together, I asked him to go to Carol’s house in Manhattan Beach and let her know I was going to be later than expected.

They took me to Little Company of Mary hospital in Torrance. The pain was getting worse, but I was still conscious and aware of what was happening. Chaos in the ER. Nurses, doctors, staff, police officers, vitals. More pain, everywhere. No pain meds till after X-Ray’s. They cut off my boots, my leather jacket, my breeches, shirt. Cold. Shock.

X-Ray’s, more pain. Mike brought Carol to the ER. I told her it was no big deal I’d be out in the morning. The nurses gave her the task of putting ice on my pelvis. I didn’t know why. Learned later, internal bleeding.

Finally, the gift of morphine. Pain was gone. Can I leave now?

Six hours of surgery.

Both arms broken, both wrists fractured and dislocated, compound fractures in my left hand (the sticks), fractured pelvis, broken back, both knees fractured and as a bonus, fractured right patella that was removed during surgery.

More morphine please.

Gary is in intensive care at South Bay hospital they told me, being cared for.

On June 24th, officer’s Jim Chizmar and Spike Kelly came to the hospital.

Gary died this morning…………

Gary’s memorial service drew hundreds of police officers from all over the state. Police helicopters flew past my hospital window in the missing man formation. Body Glove donated their boat to spread Gary’s ashes at sea off of Torrance beach.

A lot of time was spent in physical therapy or “pain and torture”. More surgeries. I regained use of my limbs, my left hand was functional. I got to learn how to walk again. I could finally go home after three months, two at LCM and a month at Daniel Freeman hospital for PT and OT and more surgeries.

The number of visitors to the hospital slowed, but Carol came every day

I spent three months in the hospital. The nursing staff was incredible and caring. They had to do everything. They fed me, changed my bedding, bathed me, gave me my meds, everything.

Carol and I got married on Gary’s birthday, March 19th.

Hermosa Beach Police officer Chuck Griffitts, Gary’s academy classmate, son was born at LCM, he named him Gary. He became a police officer.

I was forced to take a disability retirement in June 1983 when my 4850 time ran out. More surgeries, more PT.

The deuce that hit us had a .13% BAC. He was found guilty by a jury of one count of misdemeanor DUI and given probation.

In July 1985 I returned to full duty. I went back on motorcycle duty in 1995 and took a service retirement in 2008

We learned much later, the two motorcycle riders we were chasing had committed a robbery in another city.

Carol and I divorced but have stayed friends. I will, for the rest of my life be grateful to her for getting me through the most difficult, significant, life changing event I’ve ever experienced. Nothing before or since has been this bad.

I think about my best friend Gary Dean Moss every day.

I’m sure if every one of us were to take the time to write down a compilation of our life’s most traumatic moments since we left the safety of high school, the friends we’ve distantly stayed in touch with would be amazed at what we’ve been through. Some are willing to share, others prefer their privacy. But by this stage of life, all of us from the class of ’73 have a unique story to tell. I’m thankful Paul was willing to share, because I had no idea of all those challenges he had been through. Wow.

It’s why, this week, I’m deferring to my fellow Torrance High Tartar, class of ’73. Thank you, Paul.

Tim Hunter

Go To A Graduation

I came to a major realization over the weekend. One of the most uplifting, positive and inspirational things you can do is go to a graduation ceremony. And the higher up the educational chain, the better.

Of course, these days, everyone graduates from everything. I see people post pictures of graduations from pre-school to kindergarten. Second to third grade, etc.  In my lifetime, I personally experienced three graduations– 8th grade, going into high school; high school going into college; and then college, heading off into the real world.

And I as mentioned a couple of times on my radio program, while I don’t have many regrets in this life, one of them is not walking in the ceremony when I graduated from the University of Washington back in 1977. At the time, it felt unnecessary and a bother.

As far as other ceremonies I’ve experienced over the years, there were the high school and college graduations of my kids, step-kids and in-laws. This past weekend, I attended the graduation of my daughter-in-law as she walked and got her degree from the UW’s Foster School of Business. My son and his future wife, graduated together from that school a couple of years ago. Part of the festivities is a pre-ceremony reception where classmates excitedly got to see each other one more time before launching off to parts unknown. You’d see them hug and then, introduce their family to the student with something like, “Mom and Dad, this is the Steve you’ve heard me talk so much about!”

There were different ethnicities and cultures, blue collar, white collar, all the collars, smiling and posing for selfies and organizing group shots and with a genuine excitement about life and the future that you just haven’t seen in our world over the past couple of pandemic-laden years. This wasn’t my day, this was all about the graduates and so I just soaked it all in from my front-row seat.

While watching the events of the day, I couldn’t resist thinking back to those three graduations of mine:

The 8th Grade Event

I had gone to a small Lutheran school for grades 1-6. So, when it suddenly shut down at the end of my 6th year, I found myself thrust into public school during some of the cruelest years for new kids. 7th & 8th grade, I attended Sam Levy Elementary in Torrance, California. At long last, I got to go to the same school as all my friends on our street. But at the same time, I was a new kid, which meant getting picked on a lot. I’ve long psycho-analyzed myself to that being what flushed out my serious comedy side. The bullies would pick on you, but if you made them laugh, they’d pick on you slightly less and eventually say, “You know, you’re all right.” In time, we became friends.

High School Graduation

I had a high school relationship that was full of ups and downs. She was the girl across the street, an adorable cutie, one year ahead of me. There was something inside of me that said I should probably get away from this situation, and so I applied and was accepted to attend the University of Washington along with my buddy, Greg “Tank” Lucas.

As challenging as those 7th & 8th grade years were, high school was a bit of a fresh slate. There were four elementaries feeding the high school, so you basically didn’t know 75% of the student population. I gotta say, those were great years for me. Got to play basketball, made life-long friends, did the rah-rah thing and was Senior Class President (my election speech was a stand-up routine) and A.S.B. Vice-President (no opponent, didn’t have to make a speech).

The Grad Night experience for all of us at Torrance High School and many other So Cal high schools as well, was to walk and get your diploma, hop into a bus and go to Disneyland for the night. Yep, they kept the park open all night for students to stay out until 5am, then take the bus back to school. I don’t remember the details, but I do recall feeling on top of the world.

College Graduation

I got to college ready to graduate. My master plan was to take 18 credits a quarter, instead of the usual 15, and that way I’d only have to go three years plus one quarter. If only breaking up with a girlfriend, partying and having fun hadn’t caused me to actually fail a math class my sophomore year. I still did graduate a quarter early, which also contributed to my decision of not walking in the graduation ceremony. I was really done with the idea of school by this time, and I was anxious to get out there and actually do what I wanted to do–and play radio. I went through the ads of the Washington State Association of Broadcasters, drove over for an interview, got hired and moved to Yakima. Come to think of it, I was probably there while people back in Seattle were donning their caps and gowns.

Now, back to present time and my realization that this would probably be my last graduation until the grandkids revive the tradition. All my kids and Victoria’s kids have done what they set out to do and so we’ll be giving up that experience for a least a decade or so.

But what an experience it can be, to be completely surrounded with hope and promise and dreams and goals, swirling around so much, you can feel it. Here’s a little video I put together from Sam’s walk last week.

 

 

Give yourself a serious boost of positive energy–go to a graduation.

Tim Hunter

Well, I’ve Reluctantly Joined The Club

You can’t say we didn’t try.

My wife, Victoria, and I had spent the better part of the past two years and 3 months doing what the CDC recommended, following every word of St. Fauci, wearing masks when others had decided they were through, never wandering into a grocery store with a bare face and yet this past week, we got COVID.

We found out on Monday, Memorial Day, that we had been exposed to someone with the virus on Sunday. Then, we learned we had also been exposed to two more people at a wedding the previous day on Saturday. (aka, the bride & groom)

And with that, our luck ran out. I kept telling myself for several days that it had to be a cold. I mean, for God’s sake, there are still colds and flu’s out there. Not EVERYTHING has to be COVID!

But on Friday morning, after testing every day since Tuesday, I finally got the double bars. Victoria earned her stripes on Sunday.

The timing couldn’t have been worse. Friday, I was scheduled to be the reader, music man and goofball for an auction in Everett benefitting the Campfire program of Snohomish County. Then, Sunday, I was on tap to once again be the auctioneer for the Norwegian Ladies Chorus of Seattle Fish & Meatball dinner. Victoria was equally crucial to that event, but had to harness her delegation powers

Shortly after my positive test, I spent the morning scrambling to find replacements for me, so that the shows could go on. Kudos to buddy Ken Carson who took on the Campfire thing solo, and then showed up to wow the crowd at Sunday’s Norwegian gathering. Ken, they loved you. Looking forward to working with you at the Bothell Boosters Auction in less than two weeks. I should be clean by then.

Meanwhile, back in sick bay, I figured I would pass along what knowledge I’ve acquired during my unplanned travels down this road:

I’ve been sicker: The symptoms seem to come in waves. A plugged nose, followed by a runny nose, a slight burn in the lungs, tiredness. But when you get down to it, it feels more like a mild cold that I’m pretty sure is thanks to having my two Moderna vaccines and a booster. We were planning to get that second booster but wanted to wait until our schedule slowed down a bit, in case there were any side effects.

We’ve also had several friends also catch the crud over the last week say exactly what I’ve said–“I’ve been sicker.”

If you can get Paxlovid, get it! That’s the Pfizer product that helps speed up recovery and I’m hoping it does. There are several qualifying factors that allow you to get it–being over 65, having certain health conditions, etc.–but if you qualify, it’s a game-changer. What I can tell you about it–the biggest warning is that it doesn’t play well with a lot of other medicines. So, if you’re taking something regularly, you may have to stop for the 5-days you’re Paxloviding. (ooh, look, I made it a verb!) I had heard that when you take it, you start feeling better on the second day. That may have been true, but I wasn’t feeling that bad to begin with. I’m now on day 3 and to me, the headline is that the story I heard about how you get a metal taste in your mouth–absolutely true.

Prepare to be amazed how word spreads–Seriously, we had told less than 5 people that I had tested positive on Friday morning and by 9am, I had gotten messages of support from two people who had absolutely no connection to those 5 friends. This is why I have my secret identify plan ready for when I finally do win the lottery.

You’ll be forced to rest–Geeze, I got in all the episodes of “Stranger Things”, caught up on “Barry” and discovered how great “The Lincoln Lawyer” is on Netflix. So, there is an upside.

It’s the world in which we live. Another friend who caught it this week made the frequently made comment, “Well, if you haven’t gotten it yet, it’s just a matter of time.” As part of a team that was doing SO good about avoiding it, I’d have to agree. But even though it seems like it just won’t go away, we’ve at least worn it down so it’s now a lighter form of the original and the vaccinations seems to be doing their jobs.

If you have any questions or want thoughts from someone who sits in the front row, don’t hesitate to ask. I’d use my radio address, tim.hunter@krko.com because it’s the least busy of them all.

Glad to help in any way I can, especially now that I’m a member of the club.

A very reluctant member. Meeting adjourned.

Tim Hunter

You’ll Never Know How Truly Grateful I Am

As I grow older, I’m turning into a mush pot of emotions when certain events roll around.

Take, for example, Memorial Day. At the time of this writing, it was yesterday and due to our busy schedule, I didn’t have time for something I really enjoy doing every Memorial Day–visiting the military section of nearby Evergreen Washelli Cemetery.

Now, it’s not because I want to get to know the neighbors, as my future is in the fifth row of a mausoleum across the street. But for each of the major patriotic holidays, I feel the least I could do is go over in person and say thanks to all men and women who gave their lives for this country.

For years, Memorial Day weekend to me was what it is to so many people–the official kickoff of summer, when you’d pack up the car and go on a road trip. Maybe a camping adventure to see how much rain your tent could absorb or going across the mountains to a cabin on a lake somewhere. As Americans, we’ve been trained that Memorial Day weekend is that special time when cars go on sale, or that it’s a great weekend to buy a new appliance. After watching all the commercials, you almost feel guilty if you don’t have some kind of barbecued meal. I mean, to not have some kind of a barbecue is almost un-‘Merican. (yeah, sometimes when you’re waving the red, white & blue, you drop the ‘a’ in America)

But I would say the past 5 years or so, with that amazing patriotic display less than 5 minutes from our house, I find myself drawn. To take pictures, to read the headstones, to reflect.

That’s why today, the day after the holiday, I zipped over while the flags were still up. If you want to feel the holiday, it’s simply the way to do it. And this year, I randomly wandered into a special row and started reading the headstones.

Notice the theme. This row included multiple service members, all of whom died in 1969. That was the year I graduated from 8th grade and was bracing myself to head off into high school. Some were World War II or Korea war vets. But most were 20-somethings that were drafted, shipped off to southeast Asia, and sent home in a flag-draped pine box.
Where that hits home with me is that in 1973, I graduated from high school. That same month I picked up my diploma, the U.S. military draft officially ended.

That was close.

Even though they stopped drafting people and the Vietnam war wound down, they still drew numbers for people born in 1955.


My birthday put me in at #233. I’m not exactly sure if that meant I would have been sucked in, or missed it, but no matter.

How different my life would have been.

The graves before me were those of people who died in the service of our country. You may not have approved of the conflict or the politics of the time, but the way I look at it–they served so I didn’t have to.

To the active and retired military who may stumble across these ramblings, I just want you to know I get it. I sincerely appreciate everything you have done to keep the rest of us out of harm’s way.

To those who think you don’t need to worry about things like that anymore, I offer you one word: Ukraine.

The Washelli cemetery is just one of hundreds of place where our soldiers have gone to rest. Whenever I drive by, I’m always reminded of their sacrifice. But when Memorial Day and Veterans Day rolls around each year, I just can’t help but stop by for a visit to reflect, one more time.

Age increases my appreciation. The phrase, “Thank you for your service” takes such little effort to say when one of our military is standing in front of you. But it’s a powerful way to show you get it and that you sincerely appreciate what they do.

In the meantime, thanks dad, Uncle Bob, Uncle Chuck, Uncle Larry and father-in-law Ernie, Cousin Rick, and to all the veterans we have lost over the years–thank you!

You’ll never know how truly grateful I am.

Tim Hunter

What Else Is There To Say?

I don’ t want to live forever, just long enough to see random mass killings by a mentally deranged person never happen again.

They say our country is experiencing a mental health crisis. That’s how we try to explain why an 18-year-old with automatic weapons can walk into a Texas elementary and mow down 20 kids. Or how we dismiss another teen going to a grocery store in Buffalo to “kill black people.”

I can’t do this again. I’ve gotten up on my soap box before, preached the gospel of reasonable gun control and the idea of preventing mentally unstable people from going out and stocking up on the tools they need to commit mass murder. Preventing this from happening ever again just makes sense. Every single time. Yet, the N.R.A. continues to use the politicians in their pockets to prevent anything from changing. Damn, they’re good.

So, instead, I’m going to share a few of the more poignant and powerful Facebook posts I read after this latest mass execution at a place that was supposed to be safe. Starting with a photo of just some of the victims.

So true, George.

NBA Coach Steve Kerr said everything for me instead of talking about game 4. 

Until Tuesday, Irma Garcia & Eva Mireles were 4th grade co-teachera at Robb Elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, looking forward to a well-deserved summer vacation. They were two days away.

And if you didn’t know, Uvalde, Texas, is the home of actor Matthew McConaughey.

Hey, congress, why don’t we start with trying to figure out how someone with severe mental problems could go into a gun store six days after his 18th birthday, buy two AR-15 style automatic rifles and ammo, and then two days later, go to an elementary school and shoot kids?

I’m fairly certain that’s not one of the rights our forefathers were trying to protect.

Seriously, what else is there to say?

Tim Hunter

PS I guess there are a couple of other things left to say.

Zero Degrees of Separation

You know how it goes. You meet someone you’ve never met before and while chatting, you realize you have a mutual friend or aquaintance.

Let me tell you a story….

So, on Tuesday, while I was Norwegianing (I swear it’s a real word, Spellcheck) my brains out at the annual Syttende Mai celebration down in Ballard, I noticed a guy chatting with my wife, and it seemed like he was referring to me. I was in the middle of a conversion with someone else, so I continued chatting until we wrapped up. Within seconds, this fellow came over and introduced himself.

“Hi, my name is Alex and you used to work with my mom!”

Well, if this was a movie, this could have gone all kinds of ways. But to answer the first question you had–and I had thought of it, too–no, he wasn’t my son.

It turns out that Alex’s mom was Heather Muphy, a woman I worked with years ago when I was at Destination Marketing, when we were making TV commercials. Heather was a production director or something like that, just great people and over the years, we stayed in touch the way most people do–watching each other’s Facebook posts.

But that’s just where my connection to Alex began.

Besides working with his mom, Alex said he had known my brother-in-law Kris for years. Then, I found out that he also knew Bruce Johnson, the Rowland Studio photographer, who was the official photo guy for Syttende Mai. Alex had gotten to know Bruce and my late radio buddy, Larry Nelson, back in their Chandler’s Crabhouse days.

It keeps going.

I was then introduced to his wife, Barbara. Not only had she worked at KING-5 for a while, but these days, she was at a company called Tri-Films. More connections. I had interned years ago at KING on the radio side, (although, I did chauffeur around the owner, Dorothy Bullitt for a week once while her regular driver was on vacation) but for a time, I was also a contributing writer to some of the projects Mark Dickison and the team did at Tri-Films.

They informed me that Mark had passed away years ago from pancreatic cancer. One of those cases where, here one day, diagnosed the next and gone within months. So sad. Mark once gave me the opportunity to write some jokes for the 75th birthday party that Bill Gates was putting on for Warren Buffett. One of the coolest things I’ve ever done, writing one-liners for the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Diane Sawyer and others, back in 2005. I always wanted to get a copy of that gig, but never did.

Oh, yeah, back to Alex. Apparently, he followed his mom’s footsteps into the entertainment industry and besides being a stuntman, he has a stuntman agency here in Seattle that he operates with Barbara, called Seattle Stunt Company. Check out his IMDB, and you’ll see he did stunts on a lot of the movies you’ve seen.

And may I add, all this, and a really nice guy.

So, how did Alex discover this connection between his mom and yours truly? Apparently, he’s a member of the Leif Erikson Lodge in Ballard–just like me–and while showing his mom photos of a recent lodge event, she saw a picture of me and said, “Hey, that’s Tim Hunter!”

Such a small friggin’ world!

Tim Hunter

No Guarantees

Life is tricky stuff. You don’t want to obsess about what can go wrong, but you also don’t want to take it for granted, be oblivious to what’s going on around you and have life just blur by.

It’s precious stuff, folks.

Several things have triggered this week’s round of self-therapy. One is the recent flurry of bad health news surrounding some of the famous broadcast folks in our area.

You know how you think, “Oh, that was a couple of years ago, maybe five at the most.” Then, I look to see when radio icon Bob Rivers retired from broadcasting and it was 2014. Seriously? 8 years ago? My wife and I were lucky enough to grab an in-studio spot to witness the last broadcast up close, as Bob and his wife Lisa sold their estate out in North Bend and headed to the northeast, where they came from. They settled down on a pretty cool place in Vermont and Bob, among other things, took up the hobby of making maple syrup. Damn fine, maple syrup, I might add, as I bought a couple of jugs of this year’s harvest following some Facebook posts about the process. You can order some right here.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, Bob dropped this bomb on his blog. He’s in a fight for his life, so that means he’s going to be taking some time off from his blog and podcast, to put up the good fight. In his words, “It’s serious. And there are three forks this journey can take. One may be brief, nuff said. The middle fork, and most likely, as I’m an excellent candidate for surgery, brings me back to a good quality of life for at least a few years. The third fork in this path has led me to two patients from the same medical team as me, alive and kicking in their 80’s.”

It’s just not fair.

Another Seattle radio guy who came from a famous role on a 70s TV series, Danny Bonaduce, has also taken leave from his morning show at KZOK. After his “Partridge Family” days, Danny went to into radio and had settled down in Seattle for the past 11 years. However, a couple of Fridays back, he announced he was going to be taking a medical leave for an undisclosed illness. His sister described it as a “mystery illness.”

And it was just last October that Channel 13 Meteorologist M.J. McDermott handed off the reigns of her weather duties to a friend of mine, Brian MacMillan. I chatted with M.J. about her future plans and she was so excited to be able to retire and pursue some of her other dreams. You can hear my interview with her here.

But a mere six months after hanging up her thermometer, M.J. got her bad medical news. She was diagnosed with Classic Hodgkin Lymphoma, Stage 1, and has started undergoing treatments. Not in her retirement game plan.

Now, all of the above folks and yours truly are part of fast-growing 60+ club and I’ve been encouraging people to pass along their prayers and positive thoughts as their beliefs dictate. When you get into this age category, it’s amazing how many friends and family you start hearing about and the unfortunate health woes that stalk them.

It goes back to my original thought–life is tricky. Hearing about all three of these brothers and sisters in broadcasting experiencing these health problems is just one more reminder of our frailty; but we just don’t want to think about that all the time. I mean, why spend what time you do have left worrying about how it will someday be gone?

I’ve known about their health news for a while. What I didn’t know about until this morning was the diagnosis this young student I don’t even know received this past week that just grabbed my heart. We were all in her position at one time–excited to head out into the working world, starting a life, raising a family….all those regular life challenges that are tough enough. But then you get slapped with a thing like this.

Life shouldn’t be a battle, but for far too many of us, it becomes one, when we least expect it. And it’s even more cruel when it happens to someone in their 20s, just starting out.

I’d say the bulk of us all that drive to get that next promotion, upgrade to a nicer car or home, go on the vacation that we’ve always dreamed of taking. These days, I find that what I’m trying to do in my own world is take it all one day on a time, treat every day as the precious gift it is, and be grateful for what I don’t have.

If you need examples of those things, go back to the top of the page.

Keep fighting, Maddie. Godspeed to everyone having to alter their life plan to deal with bad health news.

And if that doesn’t include you, there’s the first thing you should be grateful for every time you wake up.

Tim Hunter

This Just In….

You’ve lost me.

Oh, sure, I probably should have put something in the title that let people know this was intended for our news providers to read–especially radio and TV–but they wouldn’t bother anyway. They know better.

For starters, you’re reading something right now that was written by a news junkie. A guy consumed with what’s going on in the city, the nation and the world. I need to know everything that’s happening, especially for my hobby of writing jokes. For the longest time, I had my DVR to catch a 5 o’clock local news, and then a 5:30pm National News broadcast. My choice for quite a while was the #1 most watched newscast, ABC News with David Muir.

But that has now been deprogrammed from my VCR.

If you care for my opinion and maybe even be open to hearing my reasons for being done with that daily routine, here we go:

  1. It’s old news. For starters, the evening news used to be a nice collection of everything that happened in the day, for those of us who were too busy with life or work or family to try to catch one of the newscasts on the radio or TV. We’re no longer dependent on that. If you care, you receive a constant stream of information 24 hours a day on your phone, tablet or computer. By the time 5pm rolls around, the local news may contain a new story or two, but it’s usually a rehash of what we heard the day before.
  2. It’s bad news. I gotta say, locally, FOX 13 does a nice job of telling me things I didn’t know. Oh, they include the bad stuff, but the “bad stuff/new stuff” ratio is much better there. The rest of the locals all showcase the latest shootings or the continuing COVID saga. Add to that having a spouse that has hit the wall on negative news coverage and, if I am going to try and watch a newscast, I do it later in the evening after she’s gone to bed. And of course, by then, its old news.
  3. It’s repetitive news. I know its a tricky balance between telling people actual news, and repeating something they may have missed, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen the same b-roll from the day before as I’m being told this is ‘breaking news’.
  4. Crying Wolf and not Blitzer. As much as I enjoy ABC’s coverage, the hype has worn thing. Watch the opening of “World News Tonight” and you’ll, “Breaking as we just come on the air”, “Breaking news” or “This just happened….” Rarely true. And again, unless its a seriously new breaking story, west coast viewers are getting a newscast 3 hours old.
  5. Now there’s News on Demand. For breaking news about major stories, I keep an eye on the Drudge Report and CNN. If I’m sitting at my computer, I can just say to my Amazon Echo, “Alexa, play ABC headline news” and if the missiles have actually been launched, they’ll tell me. Anytime I want.

So, what’s the answer? I truly don’t know and wonder if the “Evening News” is just an outdated model that will eventually go the way of the local daily newspaper?

Now, I know I’m about the farthest you can get from a ‘typical’ viewer. I get up at 4:45am every morning to write for Radio-Online, a radio show prep service for disc jockeys. Yes, I’m writing up stories about news items that won’t be used on the air for another 24 hours, but that’s why I write up a salad of stories and news items that, when you hear them, you’d say, “Dang, I didn’t know that!” Plus, that makes the radio listener think more highly of the voice passing along these stories, like, “Boy, they sure know everything that’s going on!”

So, when I’ve fed my last Radio-Online tidbit of information, it’s around 9am. When things happen during the day, I’ll add them to the feed, so that tomorrow morning, there’s as current a collection of information as possible.

Perhaps the TV evening news is hanging on thanks to a dwindling population. If you watch who the advertisers are during the newscast, you can see they skew older and disease-ridden. Really, how many medical disclaimers can you take in a 30-minute period?

Legends have occupied that space in American homes over the years: Walter Cronkite, Barbara Walters, Huntley/Brinkley, Peter Jennings, oh, and Frank Reynolds. The technology was different back then. A nightly newscast was the only place you could get a roundup of what happened during the day. These days, the evening news best serves the graveyard shift worker who slept until 4 and wakes up to watch while eating a bowl of cereal.

I used to watch for nostalgia’s sake, but I’ve reached the point where I’m willing to let it go.

Plus, it allows me to get caught up on “Barry.”

It’s all about getting the most out of your available time.

Tim Hunter

Before The Parade Passes Me By

So, for years, I’ve been the voice of a couple of parades–the Bothell Freedom Festival Parade and the 17th of May Norwegian Constitution Day Parade in Ballard.

That includes at least 15 years in Bothell and another 10 in Ballard. So, I’ve got a combined 25 years’ worth of farting around and making smart-Alec remarks about what goes on before me as the parade passes me by.

In Bothell, my co-hosts over the years have included Joyce Goedeke, Joy Johnston, Judge Michelle Gehlsen, Dr. Eric Murray, and Bothell Civic Leader Mike Rue. While behind the mike in Ballard, I’ve hung out with Dori Monson, M.J. McDermott, Karen Pauley and Bjorn Nalum. Yeah, you can tell by the rotating names, I’m hard to get along with.

However, several weeks ago, I got the email that Bothell no longer needed my services and after a decade of doing the play-by-play for the city cable channel, I was officially retired. That’s fine. Time moves on and because of COVID, it’s been three years since the last time I had done a parade. I get it.

Now, normally, the place where I broadcast in Ballard over the loudspeakers to the crowd is where the judges make their decisions on who wins which awards, and it is THE place to be at the Syttende Mai Parade. But this year, things took a turn.

I was informed that my co-host of the past couple of years for the 17th of May parade was not going to be able to make it this year. Then, I was told the judges would no longer be based at my broadcast location, but rather an earlier stop along the parade route. So, it would be just me, on my own, from a new location in Ballard known as Bergen Place Park–I was still honored to be able to do it, but needless to say, my enthusiasm was dampened.

Then, I got an idea. A real Norwegian that I have a great rapport with, Ozzie Kvithammer, could be my new co-host. Slip him a couple of Aquavits and God knows what could come out of his mouth. He agreed, so brace yourself.

If you are planning to head down to Ballard for the big parade on the 17th of May, by all means, get within earshot of our broadcast to the crowd at 20th & Market and I promise, we’ll be at least entertaining. If nothing else, you’ll want to say you were there when we actually said THAT over the loudspeakers. The streets start packing in there around 4pm, the parade steps off at 6pm.

I’m down to just one parade, but I’m looking very forward to making this one really count.

Tim Hunter