Exporting a Few Memory Files

At the beginning of next month, I’ll be in the window where I need to sign up for Medicare. I was just cutting classes at Torrance High School to go down to the beach and now I’m doing “Senior Stuff.” OK, well I guess that was Senior Stuff back then, too.  I’d just like to give AARP the credit for being the first to point out that I was getting old, because they hit you with junk mail about joining AARP starting at age 50. It’s part of your turning-50 birthday package.

But even though I’m crossing into that 65+ threshold, I’ve still got a lot going on. I’m multi-tasking more these days than I was in my 30s and 40s. My brain goes 100 mph because I like it that way and I fully expect, at some point, I’ll have to shut it off and just relax. But until then, I’m going to get my money’s worth out of it.

However, I know there are physical limitations. That gray matter upstairs can only store so much, so occasionally, I like to export a few memory files to this blog so I can let them go and free up the space for the new stuff that’s coming in daily. So, here I go again. Some deep dives of stories and tidbits that are currently buried in my brain, but are now being moved to the Internet for storage.

CLOSE ENCOUNTER OF A DODGER KIND

Back in the 1960s, I grew up in a baseball family. The Los Angeles Dodgers were our team and most nights, we didn’t sit in front of the TV, but rather listened to the radio as Vin Scully and Jerry Doggett called the play-by-play. On occasion, we’d get to venture out to Dodger Stadium, usually in the cheap seats, to witness a game live and in-person. I don’t remember how he got ’em, but one time my dad got his hands on some front-row seats along right field. As we’re sitting there, the guy next to us yelled out at Lou Johnson, the Dodger outfielder. The next thing you know, Lou came over and talked to the guy. He might have been 3 feet away, dangerously close by today’s social distancing standards. I sat there in awe, and listened to the conversation while staring at ‘Sweet Lou’. Being that close, it was then I noticed that part of his right ear was missing. Apparently, he had lost it in an auto accident years before. I understand that, these days, he’s still working with the Dodgers in community relations.

I’M LETTING THIS ONE GO, LAUREL

God bless you, Laurel Scherer, wherever you are. Back in the third grade or so, I attended Emmanuel Lutheran Church’s private grade school. The church we attended had a school, with probably no more than 25 students total, divided into two classrooms–grades 1-4 and 5-8.  The memories from those early years are gradually fading away, so I thought I better preserve as many of those stories as possible. I’ll start with Ricky Niemeyer, who I became friends with and then, one day, he just stopped coming to school. His mom arranged for him to come back for one more birthday celebration with his friends before losing his life to leukemia. Hard to believe with today’s medical treatments, but back then, leukemia was a death sentence.

At recess, we played on an asphalt parking lot because that was all they had. There were lots of dodge ball and kick ball games, using one of those red rubber balls. I should also mention Terry Smith, who went down in history as the first person ever to tell me a dirty joke. There was another kid named Paul. One time, I went over to his house to play and they served us hamburgers and this thing called mayonnaise. It was awesome!

But Laurel Scherer comes to mind for a couple of reasons. She wore braces which, back then, were a major commitment. I remember being good friends with her, although I probably damaged it that time I gave her a push to help avoiding being called “out” in hide ‘n seek and she went face-first into a flag pole, chipping her tooth. Wherever you are, Laurel, I’m sorry.

And one more Laurel story. I saw this happen and it just left an impression. I was standing in our play area, watching Laurel climb up the slide in her dress. Yes, back then, girls had to wear dresses to school. Well, she got to the top, sat down on the slide and began heading down. Only problem was, her dress caught on something at the top. All in one motion, she slide down the slide, leaving her dress at the top and the second her feet hit the ground, she made a beeline to the girls’ room.

OK, Laurel, that was it. Last time around for that story, at least, as told by me.

MRS. REES

Around the 4th grade, the classes at Emmanuel Lutheran Grade School were big enough that it warranted adding a classroom. It was then that an attractive, red-headed woman named Mrs. Reese took over the class I was in. I had never really known a redhead until then, outside of the little red-headed girl in the Charlie Brown cartoons. I wouldn’t say I had a schoolboy-crush on her, but I can still see her vividly. A couple of times, her husband came to visit the classroom and I thought, “What a lucky guy!” Then suddenly, she was gone. I don’t know where went, but I do know she was no longer at the school. I eventually heard that she had gone through a divorce and, as awful as they are these days, back in the 1960s it was considered something you just didn’t do, especially if you were a woman. I just remember wondering, ‘How could someone so nice get a divorce?’ As I experienced later in life, it happens.

Wow, I look at the class picture of that year and I can pluck out first names of a lot of those kids: Carolyn, Thomas, Kerry, Dillon, Tim, Laurel, and Andrew.  To the rest of my classmates, I’m sorry those memories have already gone to the dark side.

OK, enough for this round of memory purging. I’m letting these go and if I ever want to think about those people again, I’ll just come back here. Or, I’ll ask you, since they’ve now filled up some of your space.

Tim Hunter

When Radio Held Us Captive

As we all stay hunkered down in our homes for the better good and to turn around the current pandemic, I was recently reminded of the power of radio and the times of my life when it held me hostage–by choice.

Great radio can trap you in a car and make you gladly late for things. Back in my KLSY days, that was the standard of a great bit or break–when people would call and say they couldn’t leave their car until they heard what happened.

Nothing today in my neck of the woods comes even close to that. But I can recall those special people in my life, starting with Gary Owens on KMPC. Yes, Gary, the announcer on “Laugh In” had an amazing voice and a sharp wit to match. Growing up, while others were listening to Boss Radio on KHJ, my mom would have KMPC on in the car when we heading home from school. By the time I reached my teen years and was occasionally driving home from high school, I remember sitting in the car in the driveway, waiting to hear how “The Story Lady” or “How the West Was Won” would end. I could easily tolerate another Bert Kaempfert or Henry Mancini tune if it meant catching some Gary Owens comedy. Here’s a great example.

Flash forward many years to my KOMO radio days, when I first became aware of Paul Harvey. Paul was a midwestern, conservative broadcaster who did a 15-minute news & comment segment every weekday. It was serious “destination radio”–whatever you had going on, a phone call, a meeting, whatever–it had to be done in time for Paul Harvey. And there was no way you would leave until he got in his kicker story at the end and you’d hear that famous, “Paul Harvey……..good day!” Here’s a newscast from 1963.

Around that same time, Gary Lockwood was ruling the morning airwaves over at KJR and had created this bit called, “Police Blotter” which usually turned into a 10-minute laughfest and there was no way you could listen to it and not crack up. While I was working in the morning while they did that bit, they finally realized what a nugget they had and started repeating it later in the day. Again, there is no way you could leave until the bit was over. Here’s an example.

You were held captive.

Gary Lockwood passed away a little over a week ago down in Florida, in his sleep, at the age of 74. Way too young, but as my former broadcast partner Bruce Murdock once pointed out, “We all only get so many wake-ups. Morning guys use theirs up twice as fast, because of those naps we grab in the afternoon.”

Within the same week of hearing the news about Gary, we found out that former KUBE morning guru, Charlie Brown, is in hospice and not long for this world. Charlie also had some legendary bits, so I’m told. However, being on the air as the same time as him and being a competitor, I never heard them.

And in the same 10-day period–in fact, on May 1st, 2020–Hubbard Radio executed a nationwide bloodbath of layoffs. Here at the Seattle outlet (formerly known as Sandusky Broadcasting, where I worked), 17 people lost their jobs on a single day. Lots of them were friends of mine who were in the same building when I was let go 17 years ago.

Yeah, that’s the dark side of the business. One day you’re #1 in the ratings and then the company decides they need a new program director or while you’re doing good, afternoons aren’t clicking so let’s fire them, etc. You know that going in, it’s the nature of the business. I had two ‘surprise going away parties’ in my 30+ years. Frankly, once the shock of that first firing or layoff subsides, you realize it’s just a kick in the butt for you to do better and prove the bastards wrong.

It is the power of radio, that one-on-one connection through a mass medium, that brought me back to mornings on KRKO. And if I ever break out into one of my bits and make you late for something, then I’ve done my job–to keep you captive using radio and maybe, if just for a while, help you forget about being held captive in your home.

Tim Hunter

 

Trying To Retain It All

This is a serious test for all of us. Face it–with Stay-At-Home, a killer disease lurking out there, everyone working from home, more Zoom meetings than anyone should have to endure in a lifetime (and that was just this week), misinformation, disinformation and plain old accurate information and having to sort through all that–we are just friggin’ stressed.

I do my best not to focus on the pandemic and let stress rule my life, although my work load has been heavier for the past four weeks than it had been for the past five years. I’ve got some incredible things going on and one day I can share those stories, but for now, I’m concentrating on winning what we’re going through together and making notes of all these unique and historical events along the way.

I’m an information hound, getting up at 4am every morning to begin searching through the Internet for interesting things people would want to talk about on the radio. That’s my job as a writer with Radio Online. So I know what’s going on, believe me.  Then, I shift in to “Day Tim” mode, and concentrate on work and not really pay attention to the breaking news or emerging stories from the day. I give David Muir around 20-minutes at the end of the day to tell me what I missed, borrow a little bit of local news from KOMO TV4, and then detach from current events for around 10 hours.

I’ve found it a healthy balance. Some feel they can’t quit listening to news or talk radio because they might miss something and they want to know everything immediately. Let it go. I’ve seen posts on Facebook that if we got rid of all the news for a couple of months, things would probably get a lot better. Well, yes, for those who don’t catch the bug. The truth, as always, is somewhere in between.

Grab a moment and just marvel at how different the world around us has become in just a couple of months:

Our air has never been cleaner. During my daily exercise walk to the mailbox, it’s downright impressive.

Traffic–which was up to two hours from Everett to Seattle just a couple of months ago–is gone. None. With everyone working from home, you no longer have to plan on what time you were thinking about that trip. Want to zip over to Kirkland at 4 o’clock?  These days, no problem.

Think of all the money you’re saving by not driving or taking the bus to work? Car insurance companies have started offering rebates to keep their clients happy.

Here in Seattle, we’re paying $400 or more for our car license tabs every year, just so we can build a mass transit system we put off for decades and frankly, one I’ll probably never ride. Now, do we really need it?

Companies have been forced to realize that they can still make money and conduct business with people working from home. And with a cautious return to the old ways, there may be a shift in the workplace universe where people just stay at home and companies save millions on renting space, office supplies, desks, etc.

But it’s tough out there. Financially, emotionally and just about every ‘ly’ in our vocabulary. If you’re strong, this is where you can put your talents to work and help those in need of support. Some are struggling now, but one study I read said that by mid-June, a lot of people are going to begin snapping.

All the while, we continue to add pandemic stories to our memory banks. There was the guy we saw at QFC this week, wearing a Darth Vader masks with the voice to match. There are the jokes, that try to defer the scared into a nervous laugh. The one that jumps out for me is:

Q: Can you use coffee filters as toilet paper?

A: Yes, but it may affect the flavor of the coffee.

However, one of the moments that is pressed in my brain as a result of this week came last Saturday morning. My father-in-law had another fall and was rushed to a hospital, where they gave him a total checkup. Thank God all was well and he dodged another falling bullet. But when I picked him up at the hospital (as the official ambassador of healthy people for my family) he told me that while he was there, they didn’t give him any breakfast or lunch. Innocent enough, as they weren’t sure if he was going to need some kind of procedure, so they would need to keep his stomach empty. But where his mind went, as he’s just about to turn 91, is that this was going to be it. He was never going home again. He was scared.

So, all of a sudden, there it was–what someone was honestly thinking, that he would never see his family again and never had a chance to say goodbye.

Those words, his voice, still occupy my brain and are a constant reminder for me to always check in with people. Ask everyone and anyone you chat with how they’re doing. That’s how we’re going to get through this together.

And remember as many of these stories and experiences as that gray matter of yours will allow.

Stay safe.

Tim Hunter

Yeah, I’ve Just Got To Say Something

For those of you who haven’t been paying attention to the news lately, there’s an outbreak of something called, COVID-19. I don’t know what happened to the first 18, but apparently this is one bad-ass virus.

So, everywhere you look, society is shifting, our world is evolving. Now, with 360-million Americans running around there that leaves rooms for all kinds of beliefs to develop as to what’s really going on out there.

There’s the theory that this all started with someone eating a bat sandwich in a wet market. I love the speculation that since 5G was first tried in Wuhan (where this virus supposedly originated), that the spread of the virus is somehow linked to 5G.  China has claimed that it’s something the U.S. put out there. There are the Bill Gates’ accusers, who say HE started this, just so we’d all need an inoculation to save us, only to use that as a path to have people inject tiny little tracking devises into our systems. Oh, and then there was the theory out of Cambridge that the coronavirus actually started last September and maybe not even in China.

Let us pause here to review what we actually know:

  1. COVID-19 spreads like wildfire.  Ask the 60-choir members who got together up in Mount Vernon last month, maintaining social distance and using lots of hand-sanitizer. 45 members ended up with the virus, two died.
  2. You may not show symptoms up to five days after contracting it. So, you feel fine, you get together with friends, your aunt and some neighbors and one swoop, you’ve infected a half-dozen people.
  3. The virus gets airborne. It lives on surfaces for up to several weeks. You’ve got your phone out, a floating droplet latches on, you put the phone up against your face and welcome to the club.
  4. Social distancing works. If you aren’t where sick people have been, you can’t get sick.
  5. Wearing a mask is a good idea. That wasn’t the recommendation when this started, but probably should have been.  If you have to go out, wear a mask. It would be a shame to have made it this far, only to come down with it now.
  6. Our first fatality from the virus was on February 29th. Since then, over 42,000 have died. That’s in just 51 days.

And now you’ve got people saying, “You’re suppressing our rights!” and demanding that they be allowed to go back out there.

Being a big of the U.S. Constitution, I’m all about an individuals rights. However, something that’s missing in that wonderful document is…well, maybe it’s time for a new amendment: the right to be stupid.

So, let me get this straight. Even with stay-at-home orders, social distancing, hand sanitizer, endless hand-washing and masks, 42,000 people have died and you want to get back out there and act like everything’s normal?  This may surprise you, but I completely support you.

Before I go further, let me review my political stance–right in the friggin’ middle. I like to make my own decisions, not have one party or the other give me blanket answers for every issue. I was raised Republican, live in an extremely blue state, but enjoy talking politics when it can be civil. Although, truthfully, that’s tough to come by these days.

So, as a by-stander watching history happen right before us, I see a group of people holding up their Trump Posters and saying the government is suppressing them. I would say the government was trying to save them from themselves, but I’ve grown weary. So, get back out there. Suck in the air, mingle with people, share a beer with someone you don’t know. Because the world has seen this show before.

In 1918, the “Spanish Flu” arrived and people were asked to stay indoors. One 104-year-old survivor was on our news recently and she remembers her parents telling her the story of how they took her up into the mountains to protect her from the flu. The biggest lesson from that pandemic was that there was an outbreak, that started to subside. But with the end of World War I, people were done being locked up inside and living in fear and it was during that second wave that the flu claimed the majority of its victims. The first outbreak killed 5-million people. The second wave claimed upwards of 50-million.

So, yeah, get back out there. I mean, if the Democrats and the Republicans were teams and I were coaching the Democrats, I’d be saying, “Yeah, get them back out there with the virus. Sadly, those people will lose a lot of the people they love, if not their own lives. But they won’t be around to vote in November.”

If you don’t believe me or the experts, ask the mayor of New Orleans who didn’t want to cancel Mardi Gras because of the impact it would have had on the local merchants. Ask the governor of Georgia, who at a press conference a couple of weeks ago, actually said, “Why didn’t they tell us that you could be contagious and not have symptoms?”  Apparently, common sense travels slowly.

There’s the old joke about the guy on the roof of his house after a big flood.

A rowboat passes by and says, “Hop on in!” and the guy says, “No, God will save me.”

Next, a power boat pulls up and says, “C’mon, get in!” and the guy replied, “Nope, God will save me.”

Then, a helicopter flies overhead, drops a rope and says, “Grab on”! and the guy yells out, “No! God will save me.”

Well, the waters continue to rise, the guy drowns and wakes up in heaven. The first thing he says to God is, “Hey, how come you didn’t save me?” and God replied,

“Well, I tried. I sent two boats and a helicopter.”

Use your brain. If only for a while, pretend we’re all on the same side. On the other side of this, those of us still here will have a lot of stories to share.

Yeah, I just had to say something.

Tim Hunter

Heapin’ on the Help

Each week we gather here to read the latest thoughts that have oozed out of the gray matter in my skull. We will continue that tradition, not only talking in the third person, but also, this week, with a purpose.

These days are challenging for everyone, on so many levels. Suddenly finding yourself in a home work routine, trying not to leave the house anymore than you have to and when you do actually venture outside, you’re masked and gloved up and practically bathing in hand sanitizer when you return. As you can tell, I’m speaking to the people that are taking this all seriously, and plan to be here when we arrive at the other side of this pandemic.

Every day, I witness how easy it would be to spiral down along with the deluge of the day’s bad news–the latest totals, the newest death count, the next big event that’s been canceled.  I’ve adopted a ‘heads ‘n tails’ approach to following the virus, with a morning check-in of news while I work on my contributions to Radio-Online, and then I get lost in my busy days, wrap it up at some point, watch the 5 o’clock KOMO news and the national ABC newscast that follows, and my curiosity is satisfied. That’s what is going on out there, I know what’s going on right here at home.

Throughout my career, positive attitude has always worked for me and it continues now. I do my morning radio show, keeping it positive–with a combination of silliness, useful information and a musical escape for the masses wanting to get away from the COVID-mania going on.  I even put a video together this weekend to help explain how to listen to KRKO.  I swear, if you’re a day over 40, you’ll love the upbeat music.

So now that you know all the ways there are to listen, I sure hope you’ll give us a try. Put it on in the background while you work at home. I promise, you’ll find it habit forming.

Now, about today’s theme, helping. Well, I’ve already assisted you in how to listen to a great radio station. Days before our state’s Stay at Home order went into effect, I was able to shoot some very fun virtual wine tastings with the women of Goose Ridge Vineyards. I’m very proud of how they came out, and encourage you to visit their YouTube channel to enjoy all 8 of them. By the way, they’re now also making some awesome hand-sanitizer if you’d like to stock up.

At Alexa’s Café in Bothell, Leigh Henderson is doing something very cool. Monday through Friday from 11:30am-1:30pm, she’s putting out jars of soup. As in FREE for the taking. It’s her homemade tomato basil and all she asks is that when all this is over, you pop into the restaurant and say hi sometime.

Up in Arlington, Ryan Berg, the owner of The Shop of Arlington Tire Pros is doing a lot of good up in his community. He already works on several civic projects, he’s buying lunch for his crew every day from one of the local restaurants, he brings in a shower unit each week for the area homeless and since he’s been ruled an essential business, he gets to stay open and work on the local police and fire vehicles, if they need it. How do you top all that?  He’s announced that The Shop of Arlington Tire Pros will provide FREE service to any first-responder who needs work done on their car.  And going even further, he’s including all grocery store workers as part of that crowd. If you know someone in the North Sound, be sure and make them aware of this special offer.

And keep your eyes on the Facebook page of Lyle Ronglien. A very talented musician who has performed all over the Northwest and when he’s not performing, he drives a bus for the Northshore School District.  Well, you do the math–a performer with no place to perform and with the schools shut down, he’s got a whole lot of spare time on his hands. What he has been doing is what a lot of musicians are doing–creating virtual happy hours at a local restaurant. Recently, we watched him perform from The Cottage in Bothell for a couple of hours, which helps promote their ‘to go’ menu, we get to enjoy live music and then he has a tip jar for people to toss a couple of bucks in online. You can also find out where and when he’s going to be performing next at www.lyleronglien.com 

Oh, and one other suggestion. You can do this thing–put together a Zoom meeting with friends or family you haven’t seen in a long time. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve virtually gathered with former co-workers I’ve missed, some great friends I don’t want to lose touch with and enjoyed a couple of family gatherings for a birthday and Easter. It appears to be the way of the future and how we’ll be getting together, so you might as well start having fun with it.

All this to say, there is good going on out there in the chaos. I’d like to sneak in a quick thank you to my sister Terri, who sent us some homemade masks she put together. A quite fashionable look, I must say.

By the way, if you know of some good going on out there that you’d like to share, please drop me a note or respond to this blog. It’s up to us to support each other and focus on the positive, since we’re surrounded by the negative.

Be safe and I’ll dig up some more good by next week.

Tim Hunter

 

Watching For The Signs

We’re all living like a sequestered jury, except with full access to the media.

It’s as if we’re part of that first colony on Mars, where we spend every day living inside. If we dare to venture outside, we need to gear up, but instead of spacesuits, we put on our home-made masks, gloves and hold our breath every time we get near a living entity.

Yes, welcome to the Stay-At-Home lifestyle of the coronavirus pandemic. This wasn’t on anyone’s radar at the beginning of 2020, but someone pointed out the fact that this year’s New Year’s At the Space Needle had to be canceled and that should have been an omen.

What we do know is that we are living through history. This is the first time around for this killer virus and there’s just a whole lot that we don’t know.

We’ve learned that it’s easily transmittable. It hangs in the air. It lives on surfaces that we touch, then rub our eyes and it’s off to the races heading for our lungs. I’ve heard there are at least 8 strains of the virus and that you can have it but not show symptoms for up to five days. The Governor of Georgia just learned this the other day and asked why no one had told him. If only he had started watching the news back in January. I have to add one other things–to the states who have decided not to implement the “Stay at Home” philosophy, your swimming pools must also have peeing sections.  A month from now, you’re going to be so overrun and not be able to figure out how it happened. So sad.

How long will this continue is anyone’s guess. The governments are torn between saying what the worst case syndrome could be and the perfect scenario viewpoint. As with so many things, the truth is usually in-between, but it’s my personal unprofessional prediction that we’re not going to feel comfortable about going outside and being around people again until late July at the earliest. I mean, why would we dare to go back out there and defy it, only to launch another breakout and months of self-quarantining?

I’ve got a game plan and I thought I would share. Ignore parts you don’t like and adopt the ones that work for you, but at least, it’s doing something rather than waiting to be rescued:

  • What can I do right now, while locked up, to put myself in a better position for the after-life? (and by that, I mean after the virus retreats)
    • Cut things from my monthly spending I really don’t need, especially being locked up at home.
    • Explore side job possibilities now, while I don’t need them, just in case.
    • Look for opportunities to grow, to learn new things, to make myself even more marketable.
    • Not stress about might happen or could happen. That does not help.

I’m a big believer in the philosophy that things happen for a reason. For me, it has always worked out. I’ve lost two jobs at very key points in my lifetime and each time, though far from easy, I ended up better off than I was before.

Its very fair to say I’m a driven person. I figure that, somewhere down the line, when I shut down, BOY, am I gonna shut down. In the meantime, I’m on a mission to achieve, to do, to produce, to generate comedy, to express creativity in as many ways, shapes and forms that I can.

So, with that in mind, you can understand that I’m watching for signs that I’m not losing my edge, or dulling my drive. Yesterday, I realized one of those signs. Oh, you’re probably going to excess drinking and no, I’ve been able to maintain that nicely. What I noticed yesterday was that I went through an entire day without putting on a pair of socks.

You heard me right. I showered–in the morning–and went through my usual workday routine that starts every Monday through Friday at 4am. By 4 in the afternoon, I realized that I had no excuse to wander outside and so, I didn’t put shoes on. Like, right now–I put socks on around 11:30am with the anticipation that at some point today, I’m going to wander outside. Maybe to check the mail, or even to just inhale some of that fresh, northwest, “there’s no traffic to pollute the skies” air.

But, yesterday was a Sunday. I actually got out a pair of socks to put but they never made it to my feet. I even walked out to the mailbox and put something in the outgoing slot, but I did that barefoot. Maybe I’m overreacting but to me, that felt like I was slipping. Like I was just this side of going through an entire day of never showering and wearing pajamas all day. That won’t happen.

Why? Because I’m watching for the signs. The No-Socks Sunday was my wake-up call. I won’t be defeated. I will come out of this thing stronger than ever, even if takes a couple of years.

Well, maybe I won’t make it a couple of years. I’m probably good through July. But I’ll be wearing socks.

Tim Hunter

No Foolin’ Around on National Gullible Day

April Fools’ Day is one of my favorite holidays. Well, it’s not a holiday, but it’s a high-holy day for pranksters which usually includes readily-available forgiveness for silly little stunts.  From the innocent greeting of that first person you see on April 1st, asking if they heard that Amazon is delivering massage therapists, to the more elaborate radio stunts I’ve taken part in over the years. One year, we had a cell phone ringing in the background but not acknowledging it. People listening would keep checking their phones and then realize it was a prank.  Years ago when I was at KOMO radio, boy, did we tick off upper management when we did a mock Seattle April Fools Day Parade on the air. I believe it was the CEO who was so incensed that he commented, “What if someone in Lynnwood came all the way down to Seattle and there was no parade?” Last year, with the consensus of management,  we celebrated the 40th anniversary of the mythical Jetty Island Concert on KRKO

However, this year–on the air and around the home–prank fibbing just didn’t feel right. Each day, since this virus began its attack, we have faced a steady stream of “is it true or not?” and frankly, it just wears you out. We are all in survival mode, doing whatever is in our power to protect our families, and somehow make it to the other side, while trying to sort out what’s true and what isn’t.

But I was not about to give up my annual April Fools’ tradition of producing a fake TV news cast. I mean, come on, you go in knowing its all made up. It’s a celebration of fake news, all in an effort to make you laugh. Think of it as a video form of “The Onion.”

I tell you, this year was not easy. People had other things on their minds. They were at home, with kids, just trying to survive. A couple of my volunteer actors had to bail. One never responded to my request. I have to say, of all the years I’ve done this, I’ve never had anyone just not even respond to the request, but I understand. This is my passion, my project and my guess is, some of these people have grown up over the years.  I’m still just a kid when it comes to this stuff, especially on April Fools’ Day.

If nothing else, consider this a welcome distraction to the serious tone of our current world and enjoy a 10-minute escape from reality.

Here’s this year’s edition of the NGD Network’s coverage of National Gullible Day.

Have a happy one.

Tim Hunter

THE REASON THOSE SONGS MEAN SO MUCH

I would have to say for the bulk of my adult life, I did not like looking backward. History was something to use to your advantage, to learn from and what was done was done.

It was for that reason that I avoided listening to “oldies.”  As I grew older, I saw many people in my generation hitting a stopping point in their music growth and, doing what everyone’s parents did, latch on to the songs from their past.

There were different degrees of hitting that lockdown switch. Some hit it on their way out of high school; others, made it as far as college before deciding this was as good as it got.

I have an inner-urging that requires me to know what’s going on, or at least, I did. Over the past decade, I’ve found the newer songs to be rather mundane, sound-alike and non-imaginative.  Then again, that could be what happens when you get older. I remember my parents not understanding what the deal was with groups like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.

So during the bulk of my adult years, I followed modern music. Playing a lot of the softer, contemporary songs during my radio days, while secretly listening to other stations play the B-52s or Huey Lewis and the News when I wasn’t at KLSY playing Celine Dion. Music serves a purpose. It’s a comfort zone. The right blend is like a familiar room with exactly the colors and fabrics you would choose if it was up to you.

If you have bet me money years ago that, one day, I would end up at a radio station that played all the hit songs from my high school and college years, I would have laughed in your face. I was doing more than my fair share of trying to keep up with what was new, watching trends, knowing who was in and who was out. Writing for the show prep service, Radio Online helped, in that I couldn’t stay stuck in my generation. I needed to know what was going on now!

Well, here I am, working at a radio station that brags they’re playing “Everett’s Greatest Hits.” That is actually a collection of the best testing, best-researched songs of the late 60s, the entire 70s and a little bit of the 80s. Yep, exactly the kind of station I thought I would never listen to or even be involved with.

But, I’ve gotta tell you, there was something special about that music I had playing on my radio in high school. “25 or 6 to 4”, “Knights in White Satin”, all those songs from 1969-73 were the soundtrack of some really big years for me. I remember the Moody Blues “Isn’t life strange?” playing on the radio when I tried to break up with a girlfriend. We ended up staying together, much to my detriment. Years later, she broke my heart, breaking up with me over the phone from 1300 miles away. Yeah, that’s the old “Sign from God” story you’ll hear from me when I get tipsy enough. Two months later, she married the minister that convinced her to break up with me. But in completely honest hindsight, it was truly the best for both of us.

The songs KRKO plays take me somewhere happy, somewhere forgotten on a regular basis. Geeze, I mean Gerry Rafferty’s “Baker Street” was a monster hit when I was at KQOT. So many stories there. The Rolling Stones “Honky Tonk Woman” was one of the 45’s I have somewhere in my basement.

The oldies, as people call them, are the songs that bring comfort. That you put away for years and then, when things in our modern world come apart, we love to hear and have them stir up memories.

You don’t need to listen to me, but with all local sports gone, KRKO is now playing 99% great songs, one right after the other. Our consultant tells me that after 9-11, Oldies Stations soared in the ratings. We have the challenge of a fairly week FM signal in Everett and a muddy AM station. But man, do we shine online. I’m just being honest.  Here are three ways you can take KRKO for a test drive and enjoy Everett’s Greatest Hits:

  1. If you have an Alexa, just say, “Alexa, play KRKO, Everett’s Greatest Hits”
  2. On your computer or tablet? Just put www.krko.com in your browser and click on LISTEN LIVE
  3.  You can do that on your phone as well, or download the app which lets you hear the station with a click of a button. To do that, just visit the Apple Store or the Google Play store. It’s free

If you need an assist, please let me know. Of all the stations out there right now, we really do keep it upbeat, positive and do a heck of a lot to help people get through our current insanity.

It’ll do your brain good. And who knows what memories we’ll knock loose tomorrow.

Take care,

Tim Hunter

Social Distancing Myself

Yep, I’m doing it. For just the length of this blog, I’m going to separate myself from the seriousness of the whole coronavirus pandemic and pass along all the lines I’ve heard and seen over the past couple of weeks.

Oh, this covid-19 is serious stuff and I’m viewing this all as a student of these historic times. Our world has changed forever and all this, with us not knowing how this concludes or even if it concludes.

All that being said, for a couple of minutes, relax and laugh as much as you can with this compilation of nuggets. Some are mine, lots are borrowed from the pages of Facebook:

  • It’s now official. Due to the coronavirus, the beginning of spring is being delayed until September.
  • I mean, you look at the timing of this coronavirus outbreak. I think it’s pretty obvious to me—God likes football
  • My job is to help you avoid the harsh realities of the world and provide a little escape from it all. We’re like Calgon for the ears.
  • People are panicking and already trading sex for food. It’s crazy. Anyway, I got two tacos.
  • Have we tried unplugging 2020, waiting 10 seconds and then plugging it back in.
  • If you bought 30 rolls of toilet paper, you owe three to the church. Tithing is still in effect.
  • I need 25 friends to dress up like zombies and join me in walking around the neighborhood. Can’t let this quarantine go to waste.
  • Are tortillas flushable? Asking for a friend.
  • I honestly hadn’t planned on giving up this much for Lent
  • “Family Feud” has shut down production because of coronavirus. However, there still is no cure for Steve Harvey
  • The NFL has approved a 17-game season. If the season delays go on long enough, so might Major League Baseball.
  • So, the governor closed all the bars. Someone’s having a hard time giving up alcohol for Lent.
  • Thinking about it, the safest time in our recent history was when we moved the clocks ahead an hour. For 60 minutes, nothing happened.
  • A Seattle Starbucks worker was diagnosed with coronavirus. The store became suspicious of him when he spelled a customer’s name right.
  • I feel like I’m in season 5 of my life and the writers are just coming up with ridiculous stuff to keep it interesting.
  • I have a 24-pack of toilet paper I’d like to trade for a 3-bedroom house.
  • President Trump says he hasn’t been tested yet for the coronavirus and, if you think about it, if you were the virus, would you?
  • There’s now talk of extending the April 15th income tax deadline because of the coronavirus. In a related story, at H-and-R Block, H has been asked to stand six feet away from R.
  • In New York City, a conference on the coronavirus has been canceled because of the coronavirus. The announcement was made by the Department of Redundancy Department.
  • Wow, the NHL, the MLS and the NBA have all suspended their seasons. At this rate, pretty soon the only things left are going to Betty White, Keith Richards and the Hallmark Channel.
  • By the way, this hour’s rundown of the coronavirus cancellations is being canceled, due to the coronavirus.
  • ESPN is going to reverse the spelling of their name to NPSE (No Public Sporting Events)
  • The WHO has declared the coronavirus a global pandemic. But all those dogs that were quarantined can now be released, since it’s been proven they can’t carry the disease. Yes, WHO let the dogs out.
  • The hottest drink these days? The Quarantini-its just like a Martini, but you drink it at home all by yourself.
  • Back in my day, if you TP’d a house, you were getting back at someone. Today, you’re doing them a favor.
  • Day four of no sports. Found a woman sitting on my couch. Apparently, she’s my wife. She seems nice.
  • Day five of no sports. Just found out my wife’s favorite color is yellow. Who likes yellow?
  • Coronavirus tip-wear a Dallas Cowboys jersey. You won’t catch anything.
  • Your grandparents were called to war. You’re being called to sit on your couch. You can do this.
  • If everything gets canceled and you’re forced to stay at home and nothing happens-that was the idea!
  • What if they close the grocery stores and we have to hunt for food. I don’t even know where Doritos live.
  • Dr. Oz says that couples should have sex while quarantined. I can hear husbands everywhere saying, “Sorry, honey, but doctor’s orders!”
  • My thought: Soccer, baseball, the NBA, the Kentucky Derby, the Boston Marathon, all canceled or postponed until at least September when football begins. To me, that says that God loves football.
  • The federal government is talking about giving us all $1,000 in stimulus money to spark the economy. Well, it’s not like we’re going to go out and spend it all on toilet paper.
  • Casinos are asking for bailouts from the federal government. Shouldn’t they at least be required to roll 7’s?
  • Bethany Frankel says she is creating coronavirus kits. Oh, goodie. We’re saved!
  • Sorry to say that there is already a long list of scammers at work over this coronavirus. For the full list, please send $100 in unmarked bills to…
  • OK, so you went out and cleaned out the stores of toilet paper, bottled water and enough food to last several months. Now, the good news–I can finally quit bugging you about putting together an earthquake kit.

And a couple of my Top Five Lists:

TOP FIVE THINGS YOU PROBABLY SHOULD NOT DO BECAUSE OF THE CORONAVIRUS

  1. Go to a Face-Touching party
  2. Practice your deep-breathing exercises in a crowd
  3. Keep putting off getting tested because you haven’t studied
  4. While eating out, shake the hand of a different stranger between bites
  5. Accept a challenge to a Cough-Off

TOP FIVE SIGNS YOU’RE GOING A LITTLE STIR-CRAZY AT HOME

  1. Yes, it’s wrong, but you’ve used relatives’ names to create March Illness Brackets
  2. You can’t wait for the next robocall
  3. Named the dust bunny under the fridge, “Herman”
  4. Organized the macaroni by size
  5. You’ve developed a home version of curling, with a robo-vacuum and a Swiffer broom

All this to say, whatever happens, don’t lose your sense of humor. It’s the only thing that will keep us going. Stay home, stay vigilant and let’s all look forward to the day in the near future when we can reduce our social distancing by at least half.

And if you know of someone having a tough time right now that could use a little pickup, please pass this along.

Tim Hunter

Coronavirus: No big deal, right?

The short answer: wrong. Dead wrong.

We’ve had pandemic-type breakouts quite a few times over the last century. Things like Ebola and SARS became household names and while we knew they were bad and killing people, it was “mostly over there somewhere.”

Amazingly, I’ve had some social media friends asking to have someone explain to them why everyone is freaking out about the coronavirus. I’ve had relatives express that it’s all media hype. It’s for you people that I’m writing this.

Thanks to professionals who spend a lot of time to research such things, I’ll turn it over to them. In fact, here’s a breakdown on how it’s NOT just like the flu.

Just a few weeks ago, there was a time when the federal government didn’t want to know that it had come to the U.S.. There were actual cases here, but local medical people weren’t allowed to test. But they did it anyway. Here’s that story.

I understand the tendency to dismiss it all as media hype when it doesn’t immediately affect your world.  When tornadoes hit Nashville last week, it was horrible. But, it didn’t reach me, so I just moved on with my life. It didn’t make it any less terrible for the folks who live there. I also didn’t think the media was making it look worse than it really was.

Consider this coronavirus thing a world-wide tornado. It’s not maybe coming your way, it will.

People are doing all they can to trick themselves into believing, “It’s just like the flu.”  Well, yes, except there is no vaccine. What can a flu do when there is no vaccine? 102 years ago, the Spanish Flu sickened 500-million worldwide, killing upwards of 50-million. Sure, it was only 675,000 Americans, so it really wasn’t that bad.

That was flu humor.

Look, I’m no medical expert, but here’s what I know:

  • A guy that I work with, his home-bound wife tested positive for the virus. The only places she had been in the past week was the emergency room of a hospital. Now she’s in the hospital and he’s self-quarantined for 14 days.
  • A woman that works on the same floor as my wife actually showed up on the news last night, talking about her experience with catching the disease. She told the TV camera that she went to a party and then went home and had a high fever that same night. If so, she would be the only case where that happened. It usually takes 5 days or more to develop symptoms. But all that time you’re wandering around, continuing with your usual routine before showing any symptoms, you’re contagious.
  • I have a friend whose mom was in the Life Care Center in Kirkland. They lost her to the coronavirus last week.
  • They estimate that the virus was in our area for up to six weeks before it was detected. That gave it plenty of time to spread.

The choice is yours. Treat this all as media hype and you’ll soon experience all the adventures we’re having right now. Respect this virus, do all the basics we should have been doing all along, and we’ll get through this.

And a quick reminder of those basics:

  1. Wash your hands. Not ‘run water over them’, but soap and warm water for 20 seconds, then dry them on a clean towel.
  2. Don’t touch your face. This has been the hardest for me. That’s how anything you’ve touched reaches your face.
  3. Keep a distance of 6-feet or more from people.
  4. Use wipes to clean your cell phone once a day. Remember, those hands you pick your cell phone up with have touched everything. And then, you’re putting the phone right up next to your face.
  5. No hugs, handshakes or even fist-bumps for the time being. You’ll live.
  6. Cover your cough. Not with your hand so you can wipe the germs elsewhere. Into your elbow. It can be done.
  7. If you’re stick, stay home. I know that’s a ‘duh’, but ever since employers made sick time equal vacation time, no one wants to waste a day of vacation being sick at home, so they bring it to work. It’s always been wrong, but needs to not be tolerated. Bosses, send ’em home.

Keep up on the latest, read all you can but for the sake of being informed, not to worry. Common sense can really help you out a lot right now. Listen to that inner voice.

Stay safe.

Tim Hunter