It’s That Week Again

Over the years, traditions come and go. Some stick, others you do for a couple of years and then they just don’t seem as important anymore.

A relatively new one for me is “Midsummer.” Oh, I’ve long known that summer officially arrives that third week in June and that people feel the need to celebrate it. In the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle, it usually means a Summer Solstice parade, complete with naked bicycle riders. Yeah, it’s kind of our statement to Portland that we can be weird, too.

Since becoming involved with the Norwegian community when I met my wife, it’s big deal in the Scandinavian world to celebrate MidSummer. (oh, there are a million ways to spell that. I’m just going with the easy one) There are those who dance around a pole and celebrate. But I’m told that’s more Swedish than Norwegian.

In fact, we’ll be heading north to Lake McMurray and Norway Park on Saturday, where the residents will be celebrating down in the waterfront park. However, the only pole I’ll have anything to do with will be for some quick fishing.

Oh, and a quick side note–avoid the movie, “Midsommar.” Very, very disturbing. And they dance around a pole.

So here comes summer and we’re ready to celebrate–but wait—what about dad?

Oh, sure, mom gets her own weekend in May (we celebrate her first) and things shut down. You wouldn’t dare plan anything for Mom’s Day weekend unless it involved mom. Heck, back when Little League used to play (and I’m sure it will return again some day), games on Mother’s Day Sunday were always canceled. The day had to be all about mom.
But speaking for absolutely no fathers out there other than myself, I don’t mind sharing the weekend. I love summer as much as the next person and I’m anxious for its arrival. To me, this coming weekend isn’t about me being a dad–which I am, and an extremely proud one–but it’s about my dad, who left us six years ago.

I really need to write down all the dad stories circling around in my head when I think of that man. They’re like little treasures stuffed into a scrapbook of events that help me see those moments as if they were yesterday.


As I recently said at the memorial for my father-in-law, Ernie Templin, I can hear the sound of my dad’s voice when I think of certain phrases, like “What in the Sam HIll?”, or the 4th of July classic whenever we bought fireworks, “I don’t know why we don’t just light a $20 bill on fire.” Yep, there he is.

Dad was dad. A kid from Scotland who came to the U.S. when he was 3 years old and then was raised in West Virginia. Like everyone else, there were great moments and setbacks during his life. He survived World War II, and shortly after his return, fate would bring him to California. That’s where he landed a job with United Airlines for 37 years and met my mom, who had herself left South Dakota to seek a new life.

Flipping through that mental scrapbook of dad, I can see him in his United Airlines overalls he’d wear at work. Whenever he’d work on the cars at home, he had some United overalls for those occasions. When were young, he’d bring home some of those fake pilot badges they used to hand out to kids when they flew.  He put ketchup on his eggs. There was his collection of suits he’d always wear to church on Sunday mornings. He helped me with my Pinewood Derby when I was in Cub Scouts, was a coach, then manager of my Little League teams. One of his favorite stories to tell about those days was–I was at bat, bases loaded and I managed to find a pitch to hit over the center field fence. Yes, I had hit a grand slam home run, the only home run of my Little League career and….dad had missed it. He was trying to control some of the rowdier kids in the team dugout and by the time he looked up, I was circling the bases.

I still have that ball.

I spend a good 10-12 hours a day at my keyboard every day doing a variety of things to earn a living. Just off to my right, the little plastic bookmark they made up for his funeral is taped to the wall. it features a picture of dad, smiling away and reminding me of just how lucky I was.

It’s funny. When I judge myself on what kind of a father I was, I tend to give myself a solid “B”. It was an important role to me and I tried to be there for my kids as much as I could. I woke up at 2am to work radio until noon, come home, take a nap and then spent most of their non-school hours until bedtime together. I coached or assisted with their soccer, baseball, softball and basketball teams until their high school years. I probably shaved a few years off my life with my serious lack of sleep, but I just didn’t want to miss a thing.

I was lucky enough to be able to spend a lot of time with them. Yet, for some reason, I am haunted by a couple of times I left them down, which of course, lowered my grade to a B.

What was my takeaway from all those years of fatherhood? My biggest advice to both moms and dads has always been–no matter how exhausted you are, cherish these years, because it seriously does not take long for them to become a distant memory.

So, celebrate your Midsummer. But as my son and my step-son both celebrate their first Father’s Day as dads, I have to have more of an emphasis on the dads. I also have to thank my father for showing me the secret to being a good dad: just be there. You’ll do the right thing most of the time, you’ll make mistakes, but just being present and in their lives will make all the difference in the world on how those kids turn out.

Plus, you’ll be giving them a mental scrapbook of their own packed with nuggets for them to enjoy the rest of their lives.

Thanks, Dad!

Tim Hunter

Turning The Corner

I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to feel it.

Funny, the day after my latest virtual event–an auction for the Norwegian Ladies Chorus of Seattle–I’m looking at what’s going on in the world around me and it feels like we are starting to be able to breathe again.

Yeah, that was my third and hopefully last virtual auction. It should have been so much easier, but the technology is just not there yet. Oh, I put together a great Powerpoint presentation with embedded video that should have been, “click this, then click that.” But in testing the presentation in the hours before the auction, I noticed that the videos we were planning to show had distortion and were crackling when viewed by other computers. It pretty much would be unlistenable when you’re hoping people will listen and bid and stuff like that.

During my hours of pre-event panicking, I discovered that if I played the files outside of Powerpoint, everything played perfectly. So, that meant, during the auction when I’m trying to focus on the bidding and encourage people to do more, it was a festival of clunky with me having to go from me on camera, to a Powerpoint slide, then to a video, back to me, etc. In the grand scheme of things, it was like most Zoom events that we experience on a daily basis, but just below my standards. It could have been so much better, but the bottom line was–it actually happened.

We are supposedly a few weeks away from dropping all the restrictions, as long as the numbers keep going the way they’ve been going. I have a feeling that masks are going to be around for a while longer and may have just earned their way into our day-to-day living. Not having the flu or a cold for a year and a half by wearing a mask seems like a small price to pay. As Glinda the Good Witch pointed out, “You’ve had the power all along.” All we needed to do was just practice good hygiene and wash our hands. Go figure.

This weekend, Everett to the north is hosting a fun festival called Sorticulture, with bands and speakers and booths and…yes, all the makings of a real event. The Seattle Sounders have announced that they’ll soon go back to full stadiums soon. However, if you’re still a bit uncomfortable going to a stadium full of people, I’d recommend limiting yourself to Seattle Mariner games.

I couldn’t resist.

We still wear our masks when we go to the store, but more and more lately, when we get around fellow vaccinees (if that is a word), we just have fun.

Yes, the pandemic sucked. We lost a lot more people than we should have, due to our Keystone Cops approach and a divided country. It’s going to be interesting to see how history judges our reaction and how we handled it all. Then again, I wonder if it was the old classic “history repeats self” because if you look back at the Flu Pandemic of 1918, there are a lot of similar stories. Basically, a plague that terrorized the world, and when people got tired of having to deal with it, a second wave was born.

For those of you keeping score at home, they estimate that 100-million people around the world died from the Spanish flu a century ago. Right now, a conservative death toll of COVID-19 victims is just over 3-million–in the world!

When you think of how science rallied and came up with a vaccine in months, I have a feeling that a few Nobel Prizes have already been spoken for.

I walk outside to the mailbox and neighbors are out talking to neighbors without masks. People are traveling again. Plans are being made. President Reagan coined the phrase, “It’s morning in America” and that’s exactly how I feel.

COVID robbed us of a lot. Favorite restaurants closed. Companies disappeared. We couldn’t get together with loved ones and relatives for over a year. Families became divided and masks, political.

Oh, precautions still need to be taken. I’m not feeling completely out of the woods, yet. But sitting at the Skal Beer Hall in Ballard last Friday night, watching people walk by, living life again–it just felt so good. I hope I can hang on to this level of appreciation as long as possible.

When a parking spot opened up across the street, it was like it was meant to be

We’ve still got a ways to go, but we are definitely turning the corner.

And it feels good.

Tim Hunter

Never Too Late To Remember

I spent part of this past Memorial Day over at the Evergreen Washelli cemetery near our home, where several of my wife’s relatives share a final resting place. It’s also where we will set up camp one day.

Some people aren’t big on cemeteries. My side of the family has always had an attraction to them, and probably spends more time putting flowers on the markers of family members than most people. Heck, my sister Debbie and I even dragged my wife Victoria along some years ago, when we went Celebrity Tombstone hunting. If you ever want to give it a try, head to the Hollywood Forever cemetery in Southern California. It’s a goldmine of famous folks.

                    

Meanwhile, back at Memorial Day. After flowering up the graves of my wife’s relatives, we took a quick drive across Highway 99 to the other side of Evergreen Washelli, which includes a military section of those we’ve lost serving their country. Every year, volunteers put 5,000 flags out next to the headstones of those fallen warriors and it’s hard to get emotional in thinking about how sad it was these young lives were ended way too soon.

Being lucky enough to live to the ripe old age of 65 (66 in September, if you want to start your shopping), I stood there staring at a section of soldiers who had died in the late 1960s. Obviously, they were all casualties of the Viet Nam war and I was thinking, “By the grace of God, that could have been me.” I was young enough to be available for a military draft just one year, shortly before they ended the practice of enlisting people, whether they liked it or not.

That year I was targeted, my draft number was down in the 200’s, which meant I probably wouldn’t have been picked.


Now, not serving #233

I could have been in the under-150s and while the Viet Nam war was winding down, what if???

There are a lot of young men and women out there who never realized their childhood dreams; never heard the cry of their newborn child or watched a part of them growing up and heading out into the world. Standing there, you couldn’t help but feel sadness for all those lives lost, while at the same time, being incredibly grateful for all of them laying down their lives so that we could enjoy the place we call home and our way of life.

Maybe you were out basking in a rare sunny Northwest weekend, out on a boat, or getting together with friends and family you haven’t hung out with for a long time–and, without masks. Totally understandable.

But there’s a reason we have a Memorial Day. It’s a gentle reminder for all of us to realize what we’ve got, how lucky we truly are, and acknowledging those who helped make it possible. If you didn’t have a chance to reflect on Monday, do it today. Or even, just take a quick mental escape to express your appreciation for all you’ve got.

Because, seriously, it’s never too late.

Tim Hunter

HP IS DEAD TO ME

Of course, I’m referring to Hewlett Packard. A couple of guys down in Palo Alto, California, who started a company in a garage and landed a contract with Disney to help in putting together the animation classic, “Fantasia.”

You probably know them best by the HP printer that lives in your home.

I had become pretty much an HP loyalist. I can’t even remember the last time I purchased a non-HP printer. Oh, wait, yes I can. It was last week, when I fired my current HP printer because of their Instant Ink program. Keep reading, because if I can help you avoid this pyramid scheme, you’ll thank me later.

So, over a year ago, I subscribed to their “Instant Ink” program. The way it works, if you need to print a certain amount of pages a month, they’ll remotely keep track of how many you print. If you go over, it’s a nominal fee. The benefit is that you don’t have to keep running to the store to buy new ink cartridges. For a while, with my usual print load, it worked fine.

Then the shirt-storm of 2020 rolled around and I had two other people in the house using the printer and the amount of printing took a serious leap. So, I bumped up the program from something like $6 a month to $12.  So, on the high side, that would be $144 for a year’s worth of print cartridges. One black ink cartridge clocks in at $50 if you buy it in the store, so it made sense to keep it going.

But then, one day, when I really needed to be able to print something, my black ink ran out. I looked in my office cupboard and there was every color in the printer rainbow except black. HP had not sent me one, even though they were monitoring my use. I contacted them via chat, I believe, and they said I would have one IN A WEEK!

That did me no good, so I went out and bought a $50 replacement for the black. (which I didn’t have time to do, but I made time)

A while later, that black ink cartridge ran out and I had yet to receive a replacement for the first black cartridge that ran out. OK, this isn’t working, so I went online and canceled my participation in the HP Instant Ink program.

I received an email that confirmed my withdrawal from the program, but with a nice little surprise. I’m sure it was in the fine print somewhere when I first signed up. But because I’m leaving the Instant Ink program, all the HP cartridges I had standing by in assorted colors WOULD NOT WORK WITH MY HP PRINTER because I had withdrawn from the program. If I remember correctly, they wanted me to send them back.

Well, maybe I was reacting emotionally and maybe this wasn’t such a bad deal after all. So I restarted my subscription to Instant Ink, which lasted several weeks until the latest black ink cartridge I had purchased at the store ran out of ink.

This time, I tried to reach someone at HP. Someone, anyone. I called a number and made contact with someone I could barely understand who informed me after I was on the phone with him for five minutes and explained my story that there was nothing he could do to help. I was told I had to call another number. I was done.

Wanting to take a sledge hammer to the printer, I opted instead to head over to an Office Depot and shop around for a new non-HP printer. Something I learned there—they have printers on display, but that only lets you know what they look like so you can order one. Due to so many people working from home these days, there’s a printer shortage going on.

But now there’s a glut of hand sanitizer. Funny how life works that way.

In any case, I decided to buy one final black ink cartridge from HP. That will be the last of my money they will get. It was the big one, so that should last long enough until my new, shiny Brother printer arrives this week. 

I’ll continue to use the HP printer until the black ink runs out, and then it has a therapeutic date with a sledge hammer.

FYI, in researching which printer to buy, of course, I went to Consumer Reports. On their list of recommended All-in-One Printers, the top four are Brother. Keep going down the list, and it’s back and forth between Brother and Canon. The first HP printer doesn’t show up until slot #14.

I’m thinking that Consumer Reports must have been an HP Instant Ink subscriber.

Now I have to go back to Consumer Reports and go over their list of recommended sledge hammers.

HP, you’re dead to me.

Tim Hunter

PS–The day after writing this blog, my Instant Ink subscription expired. They charged me a final FU $17 and then, disabled the printer from printing. As mentioned above, all of the Instant Ink cartridges were disabled. Now, remember, I had purchased (over $50 worth of Black Ink) a non-Instant Ink cartridge….but now my printer won’t even print with that. The mob boss at HP has shut me down. You may not be able to tell, but this pisses me off even more.

HP is now irrelevant.

PSPS–So, I just got off with chat support where I was told that in order to use my printer again, I will have to buy non-Instant Ink color cartridges for the $50 black & white one to work.

And I was told, “Yes, you do.”

Fortunately, I was able to find some non-HP color cartridges so they have seen the last of my money.

Long live Brother.

I Survived

Last year, I helped the Norwegian American Chamber of Commerce put together a virtual Julebord, a Norwegian Christmas dinner that was broadcast on their YouTube channel. Normally, a posh gathering at the Seattle Golf Club, but being deep in the throws of COVID, I assembled this virtual replica of their event and it turned out really nice.

Nice enough, that when Seattle’s 17th of May Committee saw itself facing the same dilemma for this year’s “Syttende Mai” celebration, they contacted me to replicate the magic for them.

After all, in 2020, this COVID thing started slow and hit hard quickly, catching a lot of people off guard. Last year’s Syttende Mai events were just flat canceled. Although, there was a group of us who put together an unofficial car parade, just to keep the city’s streak a live. After all, Seattle has been celebrating Norwegian Constitution Day since 1889. Here’s a feature I put together out of that unofficial parade.

But that’s only the parade part of the celebration. The day traditionally begins with a fancy luncheon at the National Nordic Museum and that’s what I was contracted to recreate virtually for the 17th of May, 2021. Here’s this year’s program, for your viewing pleasure.

Hundreds of people from around the world tuned in, from relatives in Norway, to family and friends throughout the United States–Florida, Minnesota, Anchorage among the viewers. While it was first broadcast live at 11:30am on Monday, you’re now able to watch the full broadcast, or just the program or the After Party on their YouTube channel. There have been over 1,000 combined views of the event so far. For the record, Seattle’s 17th of May celebration is the largest outside of Norway.

I also put together this collection of music & memories, which played before and after the main program. You may see some familiar faces in here.

I feel like the December production was my Master’s course to be able to take on something as big as the virtual Syttende Mai. It gave me all the healthy paranoia to out-think what could possibly go wrong, because there’s always that one thing. Actually, there were several along the way. I have basically lived this project for the past couple of months and when 11:30 am rolled around this past Monday, May 17th, and the darn thing actually began broadcasting like it was supposed to, a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders. I’m extremely proud of how it turned out, grateful to the 17th of May Committee for trusting me to make it all look good, and thankful for all the accolades that came in during and after the broadcast.

The bottom line–I survived!

Hipp, Hipp, Hurra for Syttende Mai.

Tim Hunter

What vaccinated people do on the 17th of May

It’s A Small World After All

   

Anyone who has chatted with me knows I love this group. Some associates I’ve met over the years have become life-long friends. I have not been shy about sharing that this group of 300+ Northshore business owners is my favorite of all the assorted organizations to which I belong. No politics or cliques, just down-to-earth people, all trying to help each other out in this crazy world we’ve found ourselves in.

It was because of my membership that I found myself invited to a sneak peek at the new The Lodge at St. Edward Park last Thursday night. What a treat! We got to see the result of a four year struggle to turn an abandoned seminary into a posh hotel. A serious accomplishment and a blessing for the region, in particular, the city of Kenmore.

While we explored the facilities last Thursday night and enjoyed a drink in the downstairs bar where the seminar students used to get their haircuts, the consultant for KRKO Radio (my current radio employer) was checking in for the night with his wife. Yes, they were among the first to be able to spend the night in this new treasure and we would have had a drink together, if only one of us knew the other was there.

My wife and I were downstairs on Thursday night, while Terry Patrick and his wife were checking in upstairs. How did we find out about this near collision?

While I was there, I recorded an interview with the general manager and broadcast it on my KRKO morning show the following morning. Terry never heard it, as he was enjoying a night away. Then his phone rang.

It was due to a phone call from his sister in Michigan, asking if the place they were staying was the same one she just heard about on the radio. His sister (just like you) can stream the show online and when he said, “Oh, I don’t think so,” she replied, “Well, it’s a former seminary in Kenmore, etc.”

So Terry called me to ask if I had done anything about The Lodge at St. Edward Park and the coincidence was solved.

From Kenmore, to Michigan, and back to Kenmore again–a group of people who didn’t even know the other was there, were all sharing the same experience.

Wait–how did Terry and his wife end up grabbing a room the night before the hotel’s grand opening? Apparently, he lives across the street from the developer. A portrait of the guy and his wife appear in the hotel lobby. Yeah, that’s who those people are

What are the friggin’ odds?

Even if you don’t spend the night, The Lodge at St. Edward Park is a treat to experience, with QR codes around the facility to explain the historical significance of all the nooks and crannies there. Put it on your list.

Maybe, just maybe, I’ll be in the bar downstairs when you check in.

Tim Hunter

Another Reminder Of the Lucky Life I’ve Lived

I’m sure everyone could do this to a degree. Look back at your life, in sections–the growing up days, my high school days, my college days and so on. The sections keep coming and as you grow older, you compartmentalize certain stretches of your life such that when you open them up again after a while, you get a rush of dusty memories.

That happened this morning when I saw the news about the passing of KOMO News Anchor Bill Brubaker. He was part of the cool kids down the hall in TV when I first arrived at KOMO Radio in the early 1980s to be Larry Nelson’s producer.

Look at those guys. Brubaker, Ray Ramsey the weather guy and sports guru Bruce King. They were the stars of 1980 TV news.

And to think, I found my way into the KOMO Broadcasting family thanks to being a goofball.

While working at KMWX radio in Yakima one day, KOMO news anchor Bob Gillespie heard me do a bit on the air with the Job Lady. Oh, yeah, someone from Washington State Employment Security would be allowed to call up the station and record a 1-minute dry-as-toast read of a few job openings. One of the most boring things ever broadcast–on a daily basis!

That day when Bob was listening, I apparently introduced the Job Lady using the Tonight Show theme as if I was introducing Johnny Carson. It cracked him up. So when he returned to Seattle and heard that Larry Nelson was on the lookout for a producer, he gave him my name. Larry called with that deep booming voice, I agreed to come over for an interview even though I was weeks away from getting married, I accepted the job, got married, went on a honeymoon, came home, moved to Seattle and started working at KOMO, AM-1000. All in a period of about four weeks.

In the KOMO building, radio and TV were at opposite ends of the building, so you didn’t really see each other very much, except with the occasional all-company meetings or the annual company picnics at Vasa Park in Redmond.

As an employee of the radio side, I felt obligated to watch KOMO TV Evening News, back when people did that at the end of their work days. Those were the days of Ruth Walsh, Bob Throndsen, Harry Sloan and other names unfamiliar to today’s TV audiences. Some did double duty, like KOMO Radio’s Brian Johnson, who did a slow transition from radio to TV news. And, of course, the crazy Ray Ramsey, who added so much to KOMO Radio mornings after doing the 11 o’clock news on TV the night before. They had a special hookup at his house so all Ray had to do was crawl out of bed and in front of a microphone and magic would happen.

I’ve got to share at least one of those breaks. Here’s a fun little time capsule to enjoy. Remember, this was on ultra-conservative-Ray-Conniff-has-too-much-of-an-edge KOMO radio.

I’ll be forever grateful that I got to know Ray. We had a mutual appreciation of each other’s comedy skills.

KOMO Radio was a long-time player in Seattle radio history, going back to the days when all the big entertainers were on radio. Here’s a picture of me along with Rip Taylor, standing in front of that famous mural of all the great radio stars of the past. My office was directly behind this wall.

I was only at KOMO radio four and half years before heading across the lake to KLSY. But during those years, I got to know a lot of people that I stayed in touch with over the years. Gina Tuttle, Mike Hamilton, Bill Swartz, Keith Shipman and others, we all still stay in touch, even if it’s just a quick Facebook howdy.

In my years after leaving KOMO, some of those TV friends remained a presence in my life. For quite a few years at KLSY, our Apple Cup tradition was to have Steve Pool and Kathi Goertzen on the air to play our “Battle of the Sexes”, with Steve representing Huskies and Kathi, of course, the die-hard Coug. Those were a lot of fun.

I even got to take part in a Radio-versus-TV local production of the game show, “Family Feud”, with some of brothers and sisters in radio and some of my old KOMO-TV friends. Here’s one of the episodes, if you’d like to walk down memory lane.

Swartz later provided some impersonations for various bits we did over the years at KLSY, as our gardening expert Frisco (in Seattle, there’s a gardening TV personality whose name was Cisco Morris). I can’t resist sneaking in one of those breaks, where Bill imitated both Frisco and Mariners broadcast Ron Fairly.

Hear it here.

I really do have so many other stories to tell about those days. Special tales about some very extraordinary people I had the good fortune to meet during my crazy career. I think what amazes me the most about the KOMO stories is how much were condensed into my 4.5 years in the building. Then again, the connection never really went away.

Just a few of the stories that come to mind when I reflect on the KOMO section of my life.

Good times. Thank you.

Tim Hunter

 

The Tradition Continues

This past Saturday was Washington State’s “Opening Day” of fishing season.

Since meeting my wife back in 2007, this became a high holy weekend. Heading up to their family cabin on Opening Day Eve, getting up early on Saturday and then zipping down to Lake McMurray with my father-in-law, Ernie Templin, to catch our limit. We lost Ernie a couple of months ago and so this marked the first time I went down to that lake by myself. However, I’m pretty sure he was with me.

Some years, we borrowed a neighbor’s boat and would troll up and down that serene lake, hoping to catch a couple of rainbow trout, which we usually did. In later years, we lost access to the boat and with Ernie, it just seemed smarter to not go out on the water and fish from the dock.

Part of the annual tradition included a couple of hours of fishing and then coming back in where a “Fishermen’s Breakfast” awaited us in a giant gazebo. The menu included an egg casserole, some pancakes, hot coffee and a roaring fire and, to be honest, I think Ernie looked more forward to the breakfast than the fishing.

Ernie, back in his fishing days.

I came from a fishing family. (yes, the irony of being named Hunter has not been lost) Note, I said fishing family, not catching family.

While I didn’t spend my entire childhood getting skunked, “Hunter luck” seemed to haunt us quite a bit. But all it takes is to have that first positive experience of catching a fish when you’re a kid and it tends to stick with you.

My fishing addiction began back when I was around five-years-old and we went back to South Dakota to visit relatives. My Uncle James, my dad and yours truly made the drive over to the Missouri River and we went out on James’ boat. How fun! But this is where I fell in love with fishing. They gave me some kind of kiddie rod & reel and we were fishing for Northern Pike or Walleye, which ever one would bite. I remember I got a strike and was really struggling, but my Uncle James told my dad, “Let him bring it in!” Eventually, I did and it ended up being the biggest fish caught that day.

Then I had a chance to go up to Big Bear Lake to my Uncle Chuck and Aunt Colleen’s cabin with my cousin Charlie, where I would get to fish again!  I remember being out on the boat, where I got really hungry, so I ate some salmon eggs to see what they tasted like. My uncle thought it was hilarious. We didn’t catch anything that I remember, but that could have been because of having three Hunters in one boat.

Other times on those family vacations to South Dakota, we’d wake up on a Sunday, go to church, come home and pack a picnic and then head to one of their nearby lakes to fish for the afternoon. We have some great home movies of one of those outings, with my Grandma standing there, drinking a beer. Aw, the simple life.

Grandpa Brandner showing us how!

Every family vacation usually included some fishing. When I became a dad, I tried to introduce fishing to my two kids. When my son hit high school, I even went on a couple of salmon fishing trips with him. What a blast!

So, between my family fishing history and the tradition my father-in-law enjoyed, I just had to be out there this past Saturday morning. Did it rain the whole time? Yes. Did I catch anything? No. Did I even get any nibbles? Two.

But as I sat there on the dock all by myself, I saw fish being caught by all the folks out on the lake. Phrases like “Oh, wow!”, “Look at the size of that one!” and “That’s a keeper!” filled the air. While there wasn’t much activity at my end, it was still great to see so many families out on the water, trying to keep their own fishing tradition going.

After around two hours of being cold and wet, I started to wonder, “Maybe this is good enough. I at least came out. If it’s time for me to give up and head back to the cabin for a hot shower and coffee, give me a sign!”

Just then an osprey flew by literally right in front of me, carrying a fish.

Even the birds out fished me. Must have been a flare up of that Hunter luck.

But no matter. The tradition continued. Another Opening Day in the books.

Trying to get the grandkids hooked

Can’t wait for next year.

Tim Hunter

Prime Time Scam

I hate scamsters.

On a quick side bar, I’m hoping that one day, they’ll invent a device that allows you to send a shock to a caller at the other end when one comes in from a telemarketer.

OK, back to my main rant.

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Amazon. Just look at my ordering history and you can see that I should be getting a Christmas card every year from Jeff Bezos.

So, while recently reviewing my credit card charges, I noticed this particular charge:

 

Prime video, huh? Well, that must be an Amazon charge I don’t remember. But there’s something you need to know about me: I rarely buy videos from Amazon. As a subscriber to Starz, HBO Max, Disney Plus, Hulu and Prime, plus all the assorted channels from my Comcast subscription, why in the heck would I want to buy one more thing? I mean, if I ain’t got it on all my sources, I just don’t need to watch it.

So, I investigated.

This charge indicated I bought something from Amazon Prime and watched it on the previous Monday. I never watched anything on Monday. So I searched the phone number given online, and look what I found:

So a bunch of scum bags in India have quite a system. I alerted my credit card company and they immediately put a stop to any payments to this company (there were two) but then, of course, had to shut down my #1 credit card to which almost all of my bills are attached. As I continued to look online, it could have been worse.

So warn your family and friends. Encourage them to review their credit card bills very carefully, because a fake Amazon just might be shaving a little off the top every month.

I should have instantly known that they weren’t really Amazon. I mean, come on–they’re already getting most of my money.

Let’s be careful out there!

Tim Hunter

 

Preserving Some Seattle Radio History

This past week, radio folks who spent part of their careers with Seattle’s “The Mountain” had a reunion on Zoom and shared it with the world. It was pretty cool and makes me think we should be doing one of those with the KLSY staff while most of us are still around.

The program director that hired me at KLSY, Chris Mays, posted a nice history of The Mountain on Facebook and all that she accomplished there. That reminded me that its her story that  connected two amazing Seattle radio stations. So, I thought I would share her post and then chase it with a few more nuggets about my radio experience.

103.7 The Mountain celebrated our 30th birthday Saturday. It was a very special station, which I created. One of the questions listeners asked was about the history. This is a bit long, but it tells the tale!  A lot of people have asked me how I came to create The Mountain. The true story reads like a fairytale! I’ll try to save the details for my book; even so, it’s bit of a long journey. Once upon a time, there was a teenager growing up in the 60’s in Columbus, Ohio. It was the Vietnam and Richard Nixon era. Her parents were liberal and her brothers were draft age. She was very into music. From Carol King’s Tapestry to Grand Funk. FM radio was developing into a freeform rock. She read Rolling Stone and dreamed of moving to the West Coast to work in radio, preferably the legendary KSAN, San Francisco. She graduated from high school in 1970, the spring of Kent State, 2 hours away. Off I went to college to pursue a degree in communications. My stated career goal on graduation was to be a Program Director of a Progressive Rock Station in a major market, (preferably on the West Coast). After graduation I looked at a map of the West Coast and picked Eugene, Oregon. It was between Seattle and San Francisco, and had a college. I moved there, with everything I owned in the back of a pickup truck. I went to graduate school at the University of Oregon until I got a radio job. First was a cool little station, KFMY, then the bigger rock station KZEL. It was a freeform progressive rock station with 50,000 albums. Everyone played what they wanted. I was on the air at night as Chris Kovarik. It was rock and roll heaven! There was this guy who was a Yale graduate, spending his summer fighting forest fires in Bend. He would sit in the forests up in those lookouts, and listen to KZEL. One day he applied for a job. His name was Peyton Mays! He got hired. Ultimately, I became the Program Director and he was the Music Director. We fell in love. We both wanted to move to a larger market. I finally got my interview at KSAN, San Francisco and interviewed at KZAM in Seattle for a position as Promotion Director. I got the job and moved to Seattle. KZAM was in a struggle to retain the format and by the time I joined the staff, they had a consultant and the format was pretty tight. Within a month of my arrival, the guy who hired me (Paul Sullivan) was fired, then the General Manager. I applied for the Program Director job and got it! I worked with Marion Seymour, Kerry Lowen, Matt Reidy, and a ton of other talented people. Meanwhile, Peyton had moved to Seattle and was programming KEZX, a ‘beautiful music’ station. We had worked with his boss in Eugene. David Littrell went from KEZX to ultimately be the guy who booked the zoo, Marymoor Park and Chateau Ste. Michelle shows. This was 1981, a decade before the Mountain. So, in 1983, the owners of KZAM decided to change the format to KLSY, ‘classy’, a soft pop station targeted to women. They invited me to stay. On July 10, 1983, KZAM signed off with The Beatles ‘Golden Slumbers’. KLSY signed on with Eddie Rabbit’s Driving My Life Away. The audience was furious. I went home and cried. Next up, Peyton Mays changes the format at KEZX to a cool softer rock format with David Littrell. I hired Bruce Murdock, Tim Hunter and Delilah Rene, among others, and the station was very successful. It was the first time I had ever had a budget that included marketing, personalities and BIG promotions. I learned a lot about real radio basics from George Johns and Dana Horner. Prior to that, it had all been about the music for me. The final chapter. I left KLSY in February 1990 and was working for Broadcast Programming when KEZX changed their format back to ‘easy listening/beautiful music’. Now there were TWO of these formats. Entercom brought a man in from Chicago to do something with KBRD. G Michael Donovan interviewed me and asked what I would do with 103.7. They were thinking hip hop. I told him if that was their choice, I wasn’t their girl. Then I wrote a proposal and made a cassette tape of what MY station would sound like. Ultimately, they agreed! We had a dinner where we decided on the name “The Mountain” (The Needle didn’t have positive images). It started out more mellow than I wanted, but eventually I won the trust of Entercom and they let me morph it to what it became. There was an indisputable hole in the market for a high profile, liberal leaning rock station with incredible personalities. Or so I thought! And there you have it. From hippie teenager with a dream to ‘successful Program Director of a Major Market Progressive Rock Station’. And what a long, strange, wonderful trip it’s been!

P.S. I should note that between us, Peyton Mays and I programmed progressive rock in Seattle for 25 years. David Littrell still programs some of the best shows in the market.

Chris Mays

Thanks, Chris. This is where I thank you for hiring me and giving me that break I needed to go where I went, where ever that was. 

How did I end up knocking on KLSY’s door back in the days when they were “Classy-FM”?

Due to downsizing at KOMO radio where I had been Larry Nelson’s producer for 4-1/2 years, they let me know on the same day my wife and I found out we were pregnant with our second child that I was losing my job. In fact, I remember not telling her until after the weekend that I was now unemployed, so as not to harsh the buzz about the pregnancy.

After a few months of collecting unemployment and wondering what the heck was going to happen next, I managed to get an interview with Chris Mays and eventually the G.M., “Mr. Classy”, Dana Horner. I impressed them enough take me for a test hire, helping out production guy Jeff Bach with copywriting and production during the work week, and pulling a weekend airshift.  At this point, I had been off the air since I had left Yakima in late 1979. 
Over time, Chris like what I brought to the party on weekends, enough that she wanted to stick me into afternoon drive. I remember going to a station holiday event, where I met the woman I was going to be paired up with to report on traffic and banter with, Alice Porter. She was being brought over from KEZX–yes, the radio station being run by Chris’ husband at the time, Peyton Mays. I had a lot of fun doing afternoons with Alice and it sounded like it. The station wanted that fun to move to the mornings with Bruce Murdock, aka “Murdock in the Morning” but initially I just didn’t want to partner up with him on the air. I liked where I was. So, they hired a co-host from Chicago named John Thomas and it was a morning show nightmare. The two didn’t get along, had completely different styles and it was such a caustic environment, I remember Bruce, Alice, Dave Sloan and me doing a mock exorcism of his presence after they fired him. By this time, station management really wanted to move me to mornings. So much that I was told everything from, “Well, you know, we won’t really be able to raise your salary much if you stay in afternoons” to “Eventually, you’ll lose Alice and we’ll move her to mornings.” What else could I do but agree to start waking up early again and the team of Murdock & Hunter was born. In time, that became Murdock, Hunter & Alice. That continued until December 17th, 2003, when G.M. Marc Kaye came backstage at the Village Theater in Issaquah to tell us our services were no longer needed. We had just finished doing a live Christmas show. Ho friggin’ ho. That left me just shy of a 20-year run in one place. In radio, that’s like 147 regular job years.


We can all look back on our lives and say, “If only THIS hadn’t happened” or “If THAT hadn’t happened” but the bottom line is that everything occurs as a part of your story. Sure, I wish some of those more unpleasant events didn’t happen, but that’s not our call. The radio bug still is very much alive in me, but rather than depending on it for a livelihood, its now more of a hobby. It’s a part of what I do and my little KRKO morning show is the perfect outlet to satisfy my radio Jones. Chris mentioned of writing a book some day about her radio experiences. Having written 1,031 of these blogs since 2008, my story has seeped out a little at a time, much like a leak at a nuclear power plant. Ms. Mays’ retelling of The Mountain Story was just the inspiration I needed for me to put a bit of my story down while I still remember it.

You know, I’ve seen a lot of radio hearts broken over the years.  I have to say that its thanks to people like Chris and Dana that I got to spend 35 years (and counting) of my life doing something I really love to do. 

And that’s pretty lucky.

Tim Hunter