A Gift For Someone Else

We’re in the final days before Christmas. If we’re not working fiendishly to get as much work done as possible so we can relax over the holiday, we’re donning (a seasonal term) our HAZMAT suits to go to the grocery store and buy everything needed for our upcoming feasts. Then we double check our gift lists and realize we’re a couple of gifts short, or even worse, the neighbor comes over and gives you a nice fruit basket. So, you panic, run over to the tree, rip off a name tag and hand them a present. Hopefully, it wasn’t that Fitbit you bought for your wife.

Our modern problems. But even as negotiations continue with the various family members on how to get together in a socially distant and responsible manner, there’s a world outside of ours filled with need.

For as much as 2020 was a challenge and setback to most people reading this, there was a gut punch to millions of Americans who were really hurt through no fault of their own. Jobs disappeared, unemployment benefits were used up and waiting in a long food line to get whatever they can to feed their family has become way too common. Governments, charitable organizations and people with far more resources than I are trying to help, but we’ve still entered an entirely new territory of need.

I’m pretty sure you’re like me in that you don’t want to just toss money at it, then return to your fortunate life and feel better. You want to make sure that whatever you donate actually reaches those people battling these incredibly hard times.

Through my job as the morning guy at KRKO/Everett, I’ve gotten to know the folks at the Volunteers of America/Western Washington. When I first heard their name, my first questions were, “Who?” and “Can they get the entire name on a t-shirt?” The past couple of holiday seasons, we’ve stood outside of a Fred Meyer up in Everett and gathered items in a fun “Stuff a Bus” promotion benefitting the VOAWW. Well, due to COVID and other reasons, that collection drive didn’t happen this year. So, take the existing need, add the pandemic bonus need, and you’ve got an organization scrambling to serve as many down-on-their-luck people as possible. And it’s a lot.

I encourage you to think about supporting your local food this year, maybe a little more than in years past. As much as I detest those donation solicits on Facebook when someone’s birthday rolls around (I just want to wish you a happy birthday, I don’t want to donate to fight your disease of choice that will put me on an relentless email list and so, instead of wishing you a happy birthday, I pretend I didn’t see your post), I’m going to give you the opportunity to help out the folks at VOAWW. On the radio for the next couple of days, I’m challenging anyone who enjoys the music we play on KRKO to donate $13.80 to the Volunteers. Of course, that’s in reference to the frequency of KRKO, 1380am.

Jessica Moore is the Director of Development at Volunteers and if you’ve got a couple of minutes, listen to my interview with her on Tuesday morning to hear about all the good they do in Snohomish County.

This year, more than ever, our extra help is really needed. Like I said, if you’ve got a local food bank or a favorite charity, take a moment to visit their website and give them even just a small dose of love. If you’d like to donate to the VOAWW, I promise you they’ll put your $13.80 to work and help the most people possible. Click here to donate.

Thanks for reading this and if you’re uncomfortable about me using this platform to ask you to donate to this incredible organization, remember my trick: just pretend you didn’t see this.

Merry Christmas.

Tim Hunter

Tim Versus Amazon

Look, I didn’t want this war. To be beyond honest, I love Amazon. For that one-time fee, I get all kinds of movies to choose from AND free shipping. For the most part, the prices on Amazon are about as good as I can get anywhere.

Now, I will admit that I probably paid a little more than I should have on one Christmas present in particular. But this one was in-stock, God knows what’s going to happen in the weeks ahead, and I was trying to knock down at least some of the people on my list.

This is where I need to give you some background. We live on a private lane. In fact, our mailing address is actually the back of the house, but if Amazon or anyone for that matter were to leave something out there, it would probably be stolen. Or, suffer the wrath of the elements.

That’s exactly what happened the other day. I got a notice from Alexa that a shipment had arrived. I was in the middle of work, so a half hour later or so, I checked the front porch. Nothing. I looked in the back and sure enough, some half-brained, moronic, idiot, son of a delivery person left the package I had ordered out in the rain. By the time I got to it, the box was soaked.

We haven’t had this happen for a while, but it’s happened twice now in the past couple of days. Why it’s irritating is that I’ve posted a sign in the back to NOT deliver packages there. I asked them PLEASE to bring them to the front of our house, which is half a block east of where they’re about to drop off this package, outside of a locked gate.

In fact, when I went out to the back, the box was soaked. The inside contents might have been fine, but I’m not spending $86 on a present with a soaked box. So, I immediately went over to the local Amazon drop off point, and returned this version of the gift. Then, I came home and promptly ordered the same darn thing. It arrived today and this driver knew where the front of our house was. But I was prepared to have this happen over and over until they got it right.

It was a short battle, but I consider myself winning. Now we’ll just see how the rest of the packages I order this season will fare.

I went to let Amazon know on their website that the delivery person messed up. There was no option for that. This could be a long battle. And the great Christmas war continues.

Happy holidays!

Tim Hunter

The Great AdVenture

As you know, I’m a busy guy. So when I have the opportunity to take on one more project, well, you know my answer is going to be, “Yes!”

The latest addition to my crazy weekly schedule has been as a writer for a new animated series, “The Great AdVenture.” It’s a series based on the main characters of a couple of phone games, “Adventure Capitalist” and “Adventure Communist.”

It’s pretty amazing how everything in my life contributed to me being able to play in this arena.

I’ve always wanted to be a screenwriter. When KLSY dropped me off on the front porch of unemployment, I thought, “Well, there’s never been a better time to get writing.” So, each day, I got up at 7 and spent the entire day writing, like it was my job. During that time, I managed to get a couple of screenplays done. Then, later, I teamed up with a partner and we wrote both a screenplay and a couple of scripts for a possible TV series. None went anywhere, but please, make an offer.

So, as I honed that skill, I stayed in touch with a woman that had interned at KLSY and went on to do a lot of show biz things, including attending Jim Henson’s school, she interned on “Saturday Night Live” and then headed to Hollywood to became quite the accomplished writer for movies and TV, especially for her passion, animation. Meet Libby Ward.

At the same time I found myself out of work and started writing movie scripts, I eventually found a job with a local advertising agency. While there, I met a driven person named Kevin Urie. He was an account manager, but had bigger things in mind. He was the president of Seattle’s Social Media Club, when that was all starting out. At that time, it was the largest chapter in the U.S.! Through that, he made lots of biz connections and went through a series of job that included a gig at Microsoft and eventually, landing a position with the above-mentioned Canadian game company, Hyperhippo. Knowing I was a comedy-writing guy, he put me in touch with the folks in the company who were trying to launch this new animated series.

Initially I wrote some commercials for the games. But finally, the big moment arrived when they started assembling the team that would make their dream of an animated series happen.

That’s when I dragged in Libby to the project. She had lots of actor contacts and grabbed some key folks to bring the characters to life, vocally. I brought in Scott Burns, a Seattle-based voice actor who is also a radio brother. For years, we had worked across the dial from each other but never together. When Scott became the audio production director at the ad agency where I worked, we became fast friends.

This truly is a modern-day effort. With producers up in Canada, actors in Hollywood and Seattle, a Hollywood/Seattle writing team and animators in Nebraska, we’re all cyber-connected and acting as if we were in the same studio.

The idea of the series is to make them very reflective of the times. So, even though an episode was written several weeks before, once the animation is done, we’ll insert a couple of lines that refer to things that happened this week. In our first episode, we had a few. But over time, we’ll get this down to a science.

On October 3rd, 2020, we put out our first episode, which is done in a three-part style so they can use each of the parts as free-standing contributions to their social media efforts. And so, the great experiment has begun.

Will it continue? We were signed for an initial agreement of ten scripts. The plan is to produce those and then weigh in if they’re considered successful. If so, this could be a year-round effort, with multiple ten-week seasons. We shall see.

In the meantime, my great adventure with being a writer for an animated series is off. Each trio of episodes are under five minutes long, so it won’t be a major time commitment. Here’s episode one, see what you think.

Thanks for watching and now you know one more thing that I’m up to these days. Yeah, I’m a busy guy.

Tim Hunter

MY WORLD JUST BECAME A LITTLE LESS FUNNY

Actually, we all share in this loss. This past week, my longtime radio brother from a different mother, Skip Tucker, passed away suddenly.

It was one of my usual busy Wednesdays, with Zoom calls a plenty and projects to tackle when I came up for air to quickly check Facebook. There at the top of my feed was a note from Skip’s sister, Melody, that he had passed away. What? When? How? I couldn’t process it. It didn’t make sense. This had to be the worst attempt at a practical joke in history.

Just a few weeks ago, I had received a text from his girlfriend for the last two and a half years who had asked me to make a video for his upcoming 70th birthday. Oh, I was going to roast him. I had some really fun pictures from the past that I was definitely going to share. Then suddenly, I learned that Skip wasn’t going to reach his landmark birthday.

We met at my first-ever professional radio job at KQOT, a daytime radio station in Yakima, back in 1977. Skip was a part-timer, a “weekender” that lived up in Ellensburg. At one point, I was made program director for the radio station, which meant I never really stopped listening. One Saturday, I had the station on while Skip was being Skip and I heard the Debbie Boone song, “You light up my life.” 10 minutes later, I heard it again…and again. After Skip played it like four times in an hour, I called the hotline and said, “Skip, why are you playing that song so many times?” His response: “I really like it.”

That’s Skip on the far right (not politically)

This was back in Skip’s very religious days, that connected him with the equally religious disc jockey Ichabod Caine. Not only did he introduce me to Ichabod, who graciously offered to critique one of my airchecks (a recording I still have to this date), but we also did a road trip over to Seattle to visit Ichabod in the 1970s hey day of KJR. What I remember most about that visit was that we were in a studio when Ichabod knocked over a glass of water and, without missing a beat, yelled out, “Quick! Somebody get some fire!”

Skip and I stayed in touch as we went our separate ways in the radio world and beyond. He eventually found himself in Los Angeles where he spent the rest of his days living his dreams. He was a KFI “Eye in the Sky”, he did some acting, he eventually found his way into being a presenter for the Karrass Company, that taught people how to be better negotiators. I actually attended part of one in Seattle and it was amazing to see the confidence of this new-and-improved Skip Tucker who commanded the attention of the room. He even wrote a book on how to become a better negotiator which I bought from Amazon this past week. If it’s not one of your strengths and would like to improve your skills even for just day-to-day life stuff, here’s where you buy it.

Skip was also an avid diver. Not like in soccer, but as in the water. As you can see, when he wrapped up the negotiating stuff, he focused on the diving world and by the Facebook posts that followed his passing, you can see he made a lot of friends.

While knowing Skip for over 40 years, I also became pals with his sister, Melody, after meeting her at KOMO radio. She used to capture game highlights for the Husky broadcasts on Saturdays. We worked on a syndicated radio program together with Ruth Walsh for a while. In time, Melody became a lawyer.

Country music listeners might remember the radio personality Penni Coyne. That was Skip’s other sister.

I was a pall bearer for their parents, as each left this earth.

I’m not sure how long Skip’s website will remain up, but check it out before it comes down. It gives you a great idea of his comedic style. He called it his “House of Chaos.” Sometimes, I suppose, you could consider his life was a bit chaotic, but Skip wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Every week for I don’t know how many years, Skip would send out a weekly email on “Website Wednesday.” I even had a spot on my website for Skip’s Website of the Week.  Here was the last edition of Skip’s Website Wednesday that I received on August 5th:

Website Wednesday
a subsidiary of Skip’s House of Chaos
(The 234,453rd Most Interesting Man in the World)

“From the Large Intestine of the Internets,
through the Sphincter of Electronic Mail,
peeing like a baby on a changing table
into the brisk digital wind…”

My gym just went bankrupt.

Who’s the quitter now?

Top of the Heap:  The Perseid Meteor Shower and Other Skywatching Events This Month

The Most Beautiful Drives in America, According to Long-Haul Truckers

18 Times Barack Obama Was Unequivocally You  (Thanks, Spidermonkey) 

Who Are ‘America’s Frontline Doctors‘, the Pro-Trump, Pro-Hydroxychorioquine Weirdos Banned From Social Media?

The Most Fascinating Shark Discoveries Over the Last Decade (Thanks, Laura!)

12 Words With Very Different Meanings  in the U.S. and the UK

Exploring the Solar System (Thanks, Jackpack!)

Robot Umpires in Baseball

A Non-Comprehensive List of Birds That Piss Me Off

Finger Tricks to Pull on Little Kids (not counting “pull this”)

The Coffee Kings of the Old West

Next-Level Beach Volleyball

10 (Mostly) Bloodless Horror Movies, for When You Wanna Be Scared, Not Unconscious

If she hadn’t been wearing a bra, it would’ve been game over

Seven seconds that illustrate 2020 perfectly

So many bad decisions

Face mask fails

Every self-help book ever, boiled down to 11 simple rules

Skipnote: Website Wednesday is a by-request only mailing list.  If, for any reason, you don’t want to receive it, simply reply to this email and let me know. No hard feelings.  Now, on the other hand, if you know someone who you think might like getting WW every week, have them drop me a line.

 

Be safe out there! Try not to end up on YouTube.

  Skip    ಠ_ಠ

 Website Wednesday archives

Unabashed plug:
Order a copy of my book,
How to Negotiate When You Hate Negotiating
paperback http://bit.ly/skiptuckerpb

or e-book http://bit.ly/skiptuckerkn

You might want to check out those archives for some really fun websites and articles.

Part of what makes it so hard to accept the fact that Skip no longer walks this earth is that we remained a part of each other’s lives all the way to the end. He was one of my small group of really, really good friends who didn’t keep track of when we talked last. Whenever we saw each other, we just picked up where we left off.

When Skip posted on his Facebook page a few weeks ago that he had a 12-hour cancer surgery, I shot him a text. He may have been much worse than he was letting on, but he wasn’t going to let me know it.

Once again, the “You Light Up My Life” gag reared it’s ugly head.

And through the modern convenience of the phone version of Scrabble, “Words with Friends”, we had connected several times for some pretty one-sided battles. Man, he just cleaned my clock in that game, with final scores like 421-180. Finally, a few weeks ago, I beat him. I didn’t know how, but now I think I do. He had other things on his mind.

We were playing again when all of a sudden Skip quit taking his turn. I’m going to leave that one right where it is.

It won’t happen right away, but in time, I’ll learn to speak of Skip in the past tense. For 43 of my 65 years, he’s just always been there and now, suddenly, without a whole lot of warning, he’s gone.

If you didn’t know Skip Tucker, I just wanted to make sure you met him on his way out.

Oh, and one more Skip story. One of his funniest gags occurred when he joined a Hunter family brunch and did the old “flaming wallet” gag. Yep, he pulled out his wallet, opened it up and a giant flame shot out, without warning. It tended to leave an impression.

If you’d like to get to know him even more, listen to the podcast I did with him several years ago. Too early for me, but in time, I’ll be able to enjoy it again and remember back to that conversation like it was yesterday.

I will always remember his voice, those looks and the big man hugs we’d exchange every time we got near each other.

Dude, you did this life thing really, really right. Thanks for being a friend. Now, enjoy the time off, Skip.

Tim Hunter

It’s Just a Guitar

Not really.

Those outside the music world probably can’t appreciate the significance and importance of a instrument. I mean, c’mon, it’s wood, some fiberglass, strings and you strum on it, right?

My wife’s cousin’s husband, Donnie Dacus, has put his ‘Angel’ up for sale. He posted this vivid description of its importance and how much it is a part of his story in this Facebook post this week:

My Angel – The “Alive Again“ Guitar

“Angel”, my Stratocaster,  was acquired in Hollywood Calif. from Arturo Valdez, “Guitar Maker to the Stars”. He had suggested that this guitar, which he had restored, was a perfect match for my guitar skills. He had worked on all of my guitars and Valdez comes with a Who’s Who of credentials. I have included his info here.

“Angels” first coming out party was the mid 70’s.

Her first gig with me at the Greek Theatre in Hollywood, CA. I was playing guitar with Boz Scaggs on the ‘Silk Degrees’ Tour. She sang true and in the backup band were members of Toto, David Paige and myself, along with, and of course, Boz Scaggs.

After a long US tour playing the largest venues in the country, we found ourselves on the next tour with Kiki Dee and singing beside Elton John at the Roxy in Los Angeles. After a tour through the U.S. we wound up in New York playing with Kiki Dee in a large festival in Central Park to thousands of fans.

After the tour, “Angel” lived with me while I was starring in the the Motion Picture, “ Hair “, directed by Milos Foreman. She was my direct source to an instrument and comfort during that time.

After 10 months of filming we left unexpectedly, flying back to Los Angeles after hearing of Terry Kath’s untimely death by Russian Roulette. I had been introduced as a guitarist to audition for his replacement after the band Chicago had auditioned more than 40 guitarists for the position. We took quite a chance, as we were not allowed contractually to leave New York due to filming rights.

Angel sang again clearly as we began the rehearsal playing the song “Feelin Stronger Everyday“. To my surprise, we–Angel and I–were chosen as band members to begin recording immediately after my filming was completed. She is the guitar you hear on most all of the tracks on the albums, Hotstreets and Chicago 13, VI Chicago Decades Live on “ Little One “ and prominently on the intro to “Alive Again”, which was played at the Super Bowl in 1978.

She played in front of more than 120,000 plus concert goers and appeared on the Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune front page with our picture together. We were featured in People Magazine October 13th, 1978.

Angel has played in front of millions of concert goers and her last prominent gig was on Saturday Night Live on “I’m a Man” during the end of 1979.

I have decided its time for her to fly again and share her story whether on stage or in person. She is bruised, scratched, and has changed in attitude but she has won many victories and fought many a musical battle. She won countless times.

She has traveled the world on more than 3 continents and been played by Leo Fender himself in his personal lab near Anaheim, CA. Leo Fender made several guitars for me as well. Wow!

Angel comes with Multi-Platinum and Multi-Gold Record status.

Please message me regarding sale of this collectable item. Cash Only. Please, only serious collectors

I know it pains Donnie to let this guitar go. If you have an interest or know someone who might, please pass along their information and we’ll connect them.
Tim Hunter

Another Streak Snapped

2020 continues to taint its reputation with each new day. Cirque du Soleil has now filed for bankruptcy and has let go of its 3500 employees. This week, as we braced ourselves for another new month and what terror it might introduce, we said goodbye to a comedy legend, Carl Reiner.

Just today, I got word that the Sears store where I held my very first paying job, is heading for the history books.

There I was, the newly-elected senior class president as I headed into the summer before my final year of high school. Somehow, I was invited to be a member of the Sears Teen Fashion Board. Those who know me well are breaking out into hysterics, so I’ll give you a moment to regroup. Yeah, I’ve never been known as a fashion plate, unless you include bad fashion.

What that meant was that yours truly actually modeled clothes at the mall when Sears was rolling out the new fall fashions. They had my picture up in the store, wearing those Sears clothes. They also offered up the chance for me to put in 10-15 hours or so each week as an employee. I was what they called, a “floater”, meaning wherever they needed extra help, that’s where I would be assigned. The challenging part of that role was showing up to work and then finding out where I was headed. I’d put on my shirt and tie, arrive at the store and some days, find myself out in the garden shop loading bags of steer manure into trunks of cars.

But as if all that history and transition wasn’t enough, this is also the week that, for the first time in years, I won’t be standing along Main Street in Bothell on the 4th of July, doing the play-by-play of the annual Freedom Festival Parade. I’m not exactly sure when that tradition began, but I’ve got to think it’s been most of the the last 18 years. I seem to remember starting it when I was still waking people up at KLSY, and that concluded in 2003.

Celebrating our country’s birthday brings up so many memories, as the celebration has evolved for me over the years. Back in the day, I remember the family piling into the car, kids in our PJ’s, and driving down to find a spot on the beach so we could watch the fireworks there. Back in South Dakota visiting relatives one summer, I remember marveling at how my young cousins were allowed to run around and light off firecrackers.

Of course, in Torrance, they only sold the “Safe & Sane” variety of fireworks which, at that time, was pretty mild compared to today’s version. There was Smokey Joe, who’s picture appeared on the bottom of the box. You’d poke the hole in his mouth and insert his “cigar” which amazingly smoked! There were smoke bombs, the occasional pinwheels and fountains. Lots and lots of fountains. Oh, and Picolo Pete’s, which we discovered as we got older, if you clamped down on the first ‘e’ in Pete, it would whistle for a while then explode.

However, what I remember most about the 4th was going to the fireworks stand and having dad say that phrase he would utter every year, “I don’t know why we just don’t light a $20 bill on fire.”

Years later, I called him up on the phone and asked him to say it again, one more time, for old times’ sake. Today, I’d like to share it with you.

 

While raising kids in Bothell, we lived in a fun neighborhood that developed the tradition of making a run to Boom City, circling the lawn chairs and then explosives that could win a war roar into the sky for a couple of hours. From those days, I recall the time my son wanted to light one of the mortars, which he did….but it fell over and started shooting into the crowd. People scrambled, dashing behind whatever they could find and luckily, no one was hurt. But it’s one of those scenes I can see in my mind like it was yesterday.

While our night-time 4th of July celebrations these days are pretty much relegated to the TV and watching the fireworks displays there, at 11am on Independence Day, my place is along Main Street, as the Kiddie Parade kicked things off, followed by the Freedom Festival Grand Parade. It’s pretty much the parade where if you live in Bothell, you’re either in or at the parade. People put out their lawn chairs to reserve their spots along the parade route up to a week before it happens.

Over the years, I’ve had a flurry of co-hosts, but for the past couple of years, Bothell Kenmore Chamber buddy Mike Rue has joined me for the play-by-play and we’ve had a blast. Since we will be silenced this year, I thought I’d dig out last year’s parade so you can get a taste of what the broadcast is like.

                                                                                         Freedom Festival 2019

Yes, the on-going nightmare that is 2020 has snapped my streak, but I’m planning to start a new one next year. Or the year after that. Whenever we can gather together again. These days, we just don’t know.

Enjoy your 4th and all the freedom that comes with it.

Tim Hunter

Do You Need A Timeout?

Oh, I’m not saying you misbehaved and need to be punished. Then again, there are thousands of people that fit that category right now and probably why you went there.

No, I’m talking about the exhaustion that comes from the daily insanity of our leaders, the unrest, the rioting, the looting, the cabin-fever created by being good and staying home for several months. I’m suggesting that, if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, I’d like to recommend an escape back to the 1960s.

I know, you’re thinking, “Wait a minute! The 1960’s? With all that went down in that decade? Are you kidding me?” OK, true, that was 10 years of serious unrest from civil rights marches to anti-war protests, assassinations, a doomed conflict in Viet Nam and so much more. But there was something about the decade that, if you were around you were lucky to experience it.

Two words: The Beatles.

 

I’ve written about them before, but while searching through Hulu the other day for something new, I came across Ron Howard’s “The Beatles: Eight Days A Week.”  I remember when that came out back in 2016 and how I read that it was a must-see. I felt it was long overdue, so, my wife and I started to watch it and became mesmerized. These days, so many of our memories are cleaned up, sanitized snapshots of the things we’d like to remember fondly. But, as you get longer, those snapshots start to fade. When it comes to the Fab Four, that was simply a phenomenon I will never forget.

Just like future generations will be curious about what it was like to live through a pandemic (after all, they only happen every hundreds years or so), it’s hard to convey just how much impact The Beatles had on music and our culture. They didn’t just influence music, they town ownership of the music industry and continued to evolve it as long as they were together. In watching Ron Howard’s film, I was transported back to the days when everyone on the earth knew the names John, Paul, George and Ringo (in that order) and that a Sunday night Ed Sullivan appearance meant you HAD to be in front of the TV to see them live, because all of your friends would be talking about it the next day.

The amazing thing about Ron Howard’s film is that it includes never-before-seen footage of them in concert, as if you were there. Before I go any further, here’s the trailer for the film.

To see them all so young, to watch them grow up in front of your eyes, from those fresh-faced lads from Liverpool, to the beard hippy-esque rooftop performers, it was simply amazing. For a  couple of hours, I was reminded of a very influential stretch of my childhood, as I looked back on the 60’s from my personal decade of the 60’s. Like I said, it’s hard to convey some of the things that I’ve lived through in my lifetime. That stretch of time, from their arrival in 1964 to their breakup in 1970, all occurred during my ages of 9 through 15.

As we grow older, its not unusual to fantasize about what it would be like to have grown up at a different time. For me, that would be a big, fat “No, thank you.” Each generation has their pro’s and con’s (and whatever this generation calls itself, you’ve getting a glut of cons), but I wouldn’t trade anything for being alive when music was redefined forever by The Beatles.

Watching it happen all over again was a wonderful timeout.

OK, now back to reality.

Tim Hunter

You Know What I Can’t Wait For?

Whatever it is, this isn’t it.

Oh, I’ll be fine. I’ve got my attitude locked into survival mode. I’m viewing this bump in my life as just a tiny chunk of the bigger picture. With so much negative energy filling our world, you can see how its wearing on people. Just remember, it will pass.

It’ll be interesting to see how we look back on the year 2020, say, 10 years from now. Go with that example and think about what you remember regarding 2010. We were recovering from the worst economic downturn we had experienced in our lives. (not knowing there was a doozy in the near future)  It was the year of the iPhone 4 and the brand-new iPad arrived. Justin Bieber ruled the music world just two years after being discovered on YouTube. 2010 was prime time for the Tea Party. Doesn’t that seem like forever ago? And it was only 10 years.

That’s what I’m excited to see. How we look back at this completely insane year and just pick out a handful of things we’ll add any significance to.

It’s my hope that the George Floyd incident propels our way of life into a less-divided society. When the anger turns into action that actually improves our world–that’s what I’m talking about. Right now, peaceful protests are being used as a hall pass for violence. With all this destruction, nothing will change and opposite sides will just dig in.

As a comedy writer, this has been an extremely challenging time.  Oh, whoa is me. We’ve had ’em before. The Space Shuttle disaster, 9-11 and those other major stories that just took over the news and became all you heard about. We’ve gone from how many people have died from a virus to the number of fatalities and loss from nights of vandalism. Yet, every morning the alarm clock goes off at 5am (yeah, I’m sleeping in these days) and I once again scour the Internet for things that inspire jokes. Lately, it just ain’t easy.

Oh, I’ve managed to sneak in a couple of them, like:

  •  I’m talking to you, looters. It may be a small victory, but I hope whatever you took during your looting turns out to be the wrong size.
  • You know, if Jack Bauer were to walk in the door and this all turned out to be a season of “24”, then this would all make sense.

  • Congrats to the astronauts who left Earth last weekend. Good timing!

  • This is the most rioting in our country that’s ever occurred at one time without involving an NBA Championship.

  • I’m now realizing why the beginning of the pandemic was so hard on me. For weeks, I thought they were saying, “Wash your face and don’t touch your hands.”

I keep taking swings because it’s worth the risk of ticking off someone who probably doesn’t have a sense of humor, as I hope to reach people who like to laugh. My country cousin over on Classic Country, KXA, Stitch Mitchell, did a listener poll on his station’s Facebook page the other day. He asked the simple question, “When we get to Phase 2, will you be comfortable going back to restaurants?” and after a few comments, politics broke out and he had to take the poll down. That’s sad.

I was chatting with my almost 92-year-old mother the other night about all the rioting and such going on, and she was in disbelief on how people could be that way. “How do you raise kids like that?” I wish I had an answer, Ma.

But a man being killed on video by police didn’t start this. Nor did a man jogging down the street and being shot by an angry father and son. Or a teenager wearing a hoody being killed by a vigilante. One after another, a living human being lost their life for only one reason–they were black. The sad truth is that these stories are not new, not rare and not going away.

Add in the fact that African Americans are dying of the coronavirus at three times the rate of white people, and you have a race that is under assault. In the year 2020.

All you can do for now is to do right in your own world. Love the people around you. Enjoy each day for the gift it is. Pray or, if you don’t pray, focus all the positive energy you can generate towards justice, peace and better days ahead.

And most importantly, vote.

Then in the year 2030, when we look back a decade, we’ll just shake our heads in disbelief that our lives could ever have been this way.

I can’t wait.

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