Electing a President

When you’ve been around as long as I’ve been, every now and then you feel this tremendous urge to count things. For example, the number of presidents that have been in office during my lifetime. Younger readers can do that off the top of their heard, but I have to go to Wikipedia and see the list. The answer? 12.

Yes, a dozen presidents have been in the Oval Office during my tenure on earth. Seven Republicans, Five Democrats. We’ve had a General, a Peanut Farmer, a former Michigan football player, a host of a western TV series in the1950s and another, the host of a Reality TV series during the early part of this century.

As an 11-year-old boy in Southern California, I once rode my bike over to the local Sears, where future president Ronald Reagan was making a speech on the back of a flatbed truck, as he ran for governor of California. That’s about as close as I’ve ever come to a real live President of the United States.

I’ve been to the Reagan, Nixon and Clinton libraries. If you ever have a chance to visit a presidential library, do it, regardless of how much you liked them or their party. It’s a great reminder of their importance in the history of this country and a strong reminder that we’re all Americans.

I voted for my first president in 1972. Raised in a Republican household, my senior year of high school, I was actually a Young Republican For Nixon and campaigned door-to-door. I even got my Democrat neighbor, Gary, to vote for him. He never let me hear the end of it.

Over the years, I’ve voted for presidential candidates from both parties.  Believe it or not, in one election, I was disgusted with both of the main parties and voted for the whack-job Ross Perot. Over time, we learned what a mistake that might have been and realized that we could have learned the lessons we’re learning now decades ago.

What have I learned? I know that when it comes to our current situation, both parties get full credit for it.  You gave us those two candidates in the last election and it was a no-win situation. Friends that I’ve discussed politics with (and it can be done without calling each other idiots) know what I think. Here are the possible scenarios I see for the next election:

  • Scenario 1–A strong, sensible moderate Democrat steps forward and offers new, real ideas and takes us in a positive direction
  • Scenario 2–The far left side of the Democratic Party takes over, much like the Tea Party did in the Republican party a few years back, and while the Democratic die-hards love it, the middle part of America would rather ride it out with Trump.
  • Scenario 3–An Independent candidate runs, fragmenting the main party, which hands a victory over to the other party. For the Republicans, Mitt Romney offers a non-crazy Republican alternative. For the Democrats, Howard “Starbucks” Schultz, entices voters with sensible solutions with progressive thinking outside the party.

I know there are countless other combinations of “what if’s” but those are my top three most likely. Feel free to come back and remind me of those when Oprah and Michelle Obama win in 2020.

Politically, I try to stay in the middle. Doing that allows me to look at both sides, see who I agree with most and go from there. Today, we are so divided as a nation because somewhere along the line, people moved politics to the top of the list of what’s most important in their lives. It wasn’t always that way. People lived and laughed and played and worked and you didn’t necessarily know how they felt on politics. Much like religion. I don’t need to know what you believe. You have yours, I have mine.

Politics has become the new religion. It’s a “winner takes all, if you don’t believe like me, then you’re wrong” mentality. Put a D or an R near the name and I’ll tell you what I think about it, whether I know anything about it or not.

The evolution of my politics has been an interesting personal journey. When I began voting, I looked at each of the presidential candidates with questions like these in mind:

  1. What is their stance on the economy?
  2. Where do they stand on the war?
  3. What are their positions on the important social issues?
  4. Are we better off than we were four years ago?

However, as 2020 approaches, I’ve had to modify my qualifying statements:

  1. Are they mentally unstable?
  2. No, seriously, are they insane?
  3. Do you know what the hell you’re doing?
  4. Can you make us all feel that way?

Whether it’s a contesting Republican or a grounded, well-spoken Democrat, I hope and pray that 2020 will give us a choice the majority of us can live with and that maybe, just maybe, this country gets just a little less crazy.

Tim Hunter

One of the Last of the Locals

Back in September, I returned to the Seattle-area radio airwaves on 1380AM, KRKO. Their consultant, Terry Patrick, crafted a blend of songs that have been largely missing from the radio around Seattle and have been gone long enough, that they’re a lot of fun to hear again.

They began playing that music and fine-tuning the songs in July and it wasn’t until mid-August before we embarked on our Norway trip that I confirmed, upon my return, I’d take on morning show duties for them.

To be clear, this was an add-on. The only thing I dropped from my hectic routine was my weekly podcast, which I had been doing to satisfy my radio Jones. Otherwise, I continued my life-as-normal routine as a writer for Radio-Online, operating Tim Hunter Creative Services, being the Chief Creative Officer for Create Impulse, doing auctions and events, being a member and on the board of the Bothell Kenmore Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Northshore School District‘s General Advisory Committee, plus taking care of my comedy clients–a ventriloquist, a comic strip and a political cartoonist.

Basically, I said I could offer so much time and they excitedly accepted. It took some fine-tuning to my schedule and getting a rhythm going, but I think we’re there. It’s funny, but some people I talked with about my opportunity after 14 years of radio silence thought this decision was based on the money. Hardly. In fact, that is in the description of my salary. “Tim Hunter shall be paid hardly anything.” Says so right on the contract.

I have to say the thing that drew me most to KRKO was the fact they were and remain being a local station. Oh, you’re probably saying to yourself, “But Tim, there are lots of local radio stations.” Not true. I’ll rattle off a few: WARM, Movin’, KOMO, STAR, KIRO, KJR. All are owned by godless, bottom-line out-of-town corporations and some of those stations have even gone through a couple of ownership changes from the time I left radio until my return.
KRKO is owned and operated by the Skotdahl family. I’ve known Andy, the “Big Guy”, for decades and he is one committed hardcore set on preserving his local station. You’ll hear what some might call “small town radio” things, like carry the AquaSox and Silvertips games, high school football and basketball and such. Some of the clients you’ll hear advertising on the air you may not recognize, because they’re primarily in and around Snohomish County. But besides being among Washington State’s first radio stations, KRKO (and it’s sister station, KXA) are the last of a dying breed. Local.

Their broadcast signals don’t travel far. AM will stalk you out of the county, but the FM’s are low power versions that are pretty much heard only in Everett.

But it’s their online streaming capabilities that really got me excited. There are multiple ways to listen to KRKO, no matter where in the world you live. On the website, KRKO.com, just click the LISTEN LIVE button, click the play button and there we are!  Got an Alexa or Google home?  Just say the trigger phrase and “Play KRKO” or even “Play Everett’s Greatest Hits” and start enjoying the music. You can even go to our Facebook page and on the left is a STREAM LIVE button. If you don’t see it, click on the SEE MORE to the left and you’ll find it.  Oh, if you have Bluetooth in your car, just stream the station on your phone and you can enjoy the music in your car while driving. It beats the heck out of a scratchy FM signal in hilly Seattle.

Well, if it’s in Wikipedia, it must be true.

The result has been incredible. This morning, my sister in Arkansas wrote a quick note to say, “She’s loving that Christopher Cross.”   Cousins Judy & Bill down in Santa Barbara are listening, as well as relatives and friends in West Virginia, South Dakota, Florida, Nevada….oh, and yes, you, too, Dagny, in Norway.

2019 feels like a year of change. Maybe that will include how you listen to the radio and who you tune in. I honestly think you’ll find the mix of music we play on KRKO fairly addictive and pretty soon, you’ll have a new favorite radio station. We just might actually change the way you listen to radio.

And I actually think their morning guy is kinda funny. Well, at least kinda.

Consider this your invitation.

Tim Hunter

 

A Season of Traditions

Christmas is a wonderful time of year.

It’s a celebration with memories and traditions that take me back to my childhood. We would go out, pick out a tree, then bring it into the house and decorate it. It was when the manger scene went up on the hearth, when mom baked her collection of Christmas cookies, when presents slowly piled up underneath, and our family would go to enough church services to hit a yearly quota.

The official kickoff for this special season was when the Sears Christmas catalog arrived in the mail. That allowed us to see for ourselves what you were going to ask Santa for that year. To help the old guy out, we sometimes cut out the pictures of the toys we wanted and pasted them in our annual suck-up letter to the Claus, hoping that he wasn’t too careful checking that naughty-and-nice list of his.

The more holiday seasons you live through, it seems the more traditions you include in that “It ain’t Christmas unless I” collection. We probably have a lot of them in common–need to watch, “Christmas Vacation”, “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “A Christmas Carol.” (at least one version) Then there’s putting up decorations, sending out Christmas cards, and of course, the shopping.

But besides all those normal routines, I’ve developed a collection of rather unique traditions of my own. There was the Santa Claus arrival where I was the official Town Crier for 18 years at Country Village in Bothell, but that appears to have run its course. In 2000, I began a tradition of assembling a collection of Christmas songs, comedy bits and audio memorabilia and making a CD that I called, “Ho Ho Brother.”  This year’s 18th edition is among the best. You can listen to it here just by clicking on this link.

Then, another tradition was added into my holiday season routine six years ago. My radio brother-from-another-mother Scott Burns introduced me to a young singer named Alana Baxter. I wrote a parody song about Christmas, she lent her voice to the project and we even shot a video to go along with it.  We started strong and have just kept getting better at it. Yeah, I’m being too modest.

We’re managed to pull this special effort five of the last six Christmas seasons and this year’s endeavor was among the toughest. With all my jobs and side-hustles, plus my recently-added radio gig, the time to make this happen just wasn’t there. But I swapped sleep for writing lyrics, got ’em to her and we went into express mode.

Friday, December 21st, Alana came by and she recorded the song. I mixed down a rough version and then we drove up to Bothell’s Country Village to shoot the video. I really wanted to showcase the Village one more time before the scheduled wrecking balls turn it into a memory next spring.

This year, we’ve twisted the lyrics to Stevie Wonder’s “Someday at Christmas.”  Stevie’s version was about world peace and ending war and much more noble efforts. Our version is just about all those things that go wrong at Christmas and drive us crazy. But then again, are they just things or could they actually be traditions? I’ll leave that one up to you.

Another amazing thing about this year’s video. It was shot entirely on my iPhone Xs. It’s my first-ever iPhone and they have completely won me over.

Finished in time for the holiday and destined to be part of my 2019 Ho Ho Brother CD, here’s “Someday at Christmas” by Alana Baxter. Enjoy.

And Merry Christmas!

Tim Hunter

 

Fine. Then I’ll Resort to Bribery

Back in September, I returned to the Northwest radio airwaves on KRKO in Everett. It’s got a decent AM signal at 1380, with an FM signal that is a low-power edition and pretty much available only around Everett.

That’s why I’ve been encouraging friends and relatives to try out the station via streaming. It’s not hard to do, but it does require some extra steps and perhaps some you’ve never bothered to try before.

Now, I’ve got friends and family across the country and even a couple out of the country that have been listening to the station, and occasionally catching me in the morning. To me, it’s almost like having a private station that let’s me goof around in the early hours and fills up the rest of the day with “Everett’s Greatest Hits”–a tasty blend of the bigger hits of the late 60s, a lot of 70s and a few 80s thrown in.  I seriously love the blend of music, which is what enticed me to go back to radio and why I’ve been inviting you to give it a try. It could change the way you listen to radio.

The evolution is already underway. People are getting their music streaming via Apple Music, Google, Spotify and such, and maybe the idea of listening to a radio station via streaming seems odd, but here’s the deal. We live in a very hilly area. Drive down to Edmonds and you’ll lose just about every station here. Listen via streaming and you’ll get a clean flowing stream of great-sounding music. I’m hearing instruments for the first time on songs I enjoyed back on the 1960s on AM radio.

  1. To listen to KRKO online with your computer or tablet, just put in krko.com, click on the LISTEN LIVE button and you’re in business.
  2. On your phone, same thing. Open your browser, put in KRKO.com, click LISTEN LIVE and then PLAY and here comes the music.
  3. Have your phone connected to the Bluetooth in your car? Do step #2 before you start driving, change your stereo’s input to audio and you’ll enjoy the music through your car speakers.
  4. Have a Smart Device, like an Amazon Echo (Alexa) or Google Home?  Just say your magic phrase and then, “Play KRKO” and you’re on board.

Why am I going to all this effort to get you to listen to KRKO. It’s because of what’s happening next week.

Imagine being able to stick this into somebody’s stocking: a pair of tickets to see the Rolling Stones during their No Filter stop at Century Link Field next May 22nd! Thanks to the gallant efforts of our promotions goddess, Kayla, we have five pairs to give away next week. A pair a day. Just listen and when you hear the cue to call, be the 3rd caller at (425) 304-1380 and you win. It’s that simple.

What’s the cue to call sound like? It’ll be different each day. But I’m posting what it sounds like every morning at 6am on the KRKO Facebook page. If you like our page, it’ll show up in your stream every morning.

I’ve already talked with several out-of-staters who are going try because, look–at the price of those concert tickets, it would be cheaper to buy the airfare and watch ’em here with free tickets, so why not?

Make sure you’re listening every day next week between 6am & 9am for the cue to call because we’re giving away a pair of tickets every day, on Everett’s Greatest Hits, KRKO. Good luck!

And if this is what it took to get you to try the radio station, it just reinforces the fact that bribery works.

Tim Hunter

Here’s to a Successful Failure

I was chatting with a Millennial the other day, the much-maligned generation that some say feel entitled or simply expect everything to just go their way. And when it doesn’t, it’s “not fair.”

Now, while you’ll see that sentiment a lot online, I actually know of several very hard-working M’s that demonstrate a lot of the driven qualities I possessed at that age. However, in my conversation the other day, I was encouraging a certain person to pursue their dream. Not adjusting your dream to increase your odds of doing something, but taking a few chances, risking enough that you could fail. And they would have nothing of it.

When I suggested that they pursue one of the career paths they were interested in, this 20-something said, “Oh, that probably won’t happen. I want to concentrate on the sure things that I know will happen.” Translation–I’ll settle for certainty, even if it means minimum wage from now until I retire.

Unacceptable.

My head almost exploded with thoughts Not just what came to mind regarding my philosophy on the topic, but also the experiences I’ve had over the years.  From the 50,000-foot level, you could think, “Boy, that Tim is one lucky guy! He is actually living his dream, doing what he wants to do, the way he wants to do it.”

I would agree, but with a caveat.

I made it to this level of my life thanks to one thing: failures. Things that didn’t happen, that didn’t turn out the way I wanted, or things that were going well that just blew up.

I remembered being asked to be the featured speaker at Canyon Park Junior High School a long time ago. I wanted to say something to these kids that would actually matter. So, I did an entire speech about failure and not being afraid to try for what you believe in. My own kids probably heard my Ken Griffey, Jr. analogy a million times while they were growing up. “You know that amazing catch he just made? Oh, he could have thought that there was no way he’d ever catch that ball as it almost made it over the fence, but he tried and he succeeded.  How many times before that did he try to catch a home run ball and miss it? Every single time. But eventually, trying succeeded.”

In my speech to the grads, I brought up some of the greatest failures in history, as well as their generation. Abraham Lincoln, Walt Disney and others were major failures…until they succeeded. Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston and so many others starred in horrible TV series, some that were canceled after only one episode. But they got back out there and kept going.

I can’t even begin to tell you about the many, many projects that I was involved with over the years, that I thought for sure would be my big success story. There was an audio tape tour of Edmonds that I recorded; an Inspector Gadget computer game, where I was a cheaper alternative to Don Adams who didn’t charge $1-million; project after project that I did with the hope this would be the big payoff, which never happened.

Truth be told, you can do anything you want in this world. You can achieve whatever it is you desire. What most of the Millennials (and really, everyone, for that matter) don’t realize is that the biggest obstacle in the way of you being hugely successful is one person: you.

I do a great variety of things, not for monetary gain, but because I believe they are positive contributions to this swirling rock.  And I know that, for every one of me, there’s another person strictly focused on the monetary gain that determines if they come out the winner.

Once you decide which side of that fence you’re going to reside on, the rest is easy. If you try something beyond your comfort zone and fail, you will grow and, you’ll have at least tried. I can’t believe I’m bringing this up again (for like the third time in the past couple of days) but I hear that what people think about most on their deathbed is not what they did, but what they didn’t do.

So, take a swing. Believe in yourself. If you fail, congratulations. You’ve just gained a valuable education without racking up any college debt as a result. Your biggest growth will occur once you’ve gotten past the fear of failure.

Get out there and fail at something, would ya?

Tim Hunter

100 MPH

 

Yep, I knew it was going to be challenging and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

First off, seriously, if you have not checked out my newest radio station yet, you have to do that. Now, I’m going to assume the bulk of you reading this right now are outside of the Everett area.  If so, there are so many ways for you to listen to KRKO.

Let’s start with Alexa. If you have one of those Amazon devices, you’ll be amazed how easy it is to listen. Just say, “Alexa, play KRKO” and you’ll start getting the music.

To listen on any device–computer, tablet, or phone–just go to KRKO.com and click LISTEN LIVE. It’s that easy.

Just a reminder, I’m on from 6-9am, Monday through Friday and not a lot. Top of the hour ID and three times an hour for a couple of minutes each break. But that allows us to get in more of the songs.  So many of these songs were abandoned by the Seattle stations and we’re actually playing them and a lot. I was just chatting with the consultant, Terry Patrick (the voice you hear identifying each of the songs) and I had to tell him I’m still hearing songs for the first time. That is, ones I haven’t heard anywhere else for eons.

Hey, we’re small-town radio. We feature the High School game of the week on Friday nights and carry minor-league baseball and hockey games, but that’s what really appealed to me. This is sincere radio,  the way we all expected the medium to be when we got into this business.  The staff has been very welcoming to me and is doing everything they can to help me make this work. I wanted to play in radioland again, but not put my current career on hold. So, I’ve added one more thing to my crazy schedule, all in the name of fun.

So, I’ll ask–if you would like to play, if you’d be up for me to call you up some day and drag you into a conversation just let me know. Drop me a note and the best time you’re available for calling to tim.hunter@krko.com and I’ll definitely take you up on the offer.

The first couple of weeks have been challenging. My main computer crashed last Saturday, so I ordered a new one while I turned the old one over to the Geek Squad folks at Best Buy. Amazon failed me, saying they would deliver it on Sunday by 8pm…then 9pm….then promising it no later than TUESDAY!  Fortunately, the folks at Best Buy came through and got my existing computer up and running in time to record Tuesday’s show.

If stress shaves a few seconds off your life, I could go at any minute. I will say, it’s a bit of an adjustment to go from a fairly stress-free routine to a daily high-anxiety setting, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Again, KRKO is on 1380AM and 95.3-FM, but mainly only in the Everett area. You can get a scratchy AM signal in Seattle, but I’d highly recommend streaming via KRKO.com  It’s the new way of listening to the radio, without all the static that comes with FM.

It’s that small town radio station I thought I would work at one day again, with occasional glitches here and there….but I’m loving it.

Tim Hunter

Wacky Week Podcast EPISODE #179

The last one, for a while. The explanation is included but yeah, I need to focus on the new radio thing on KRKO, which will include a lot of the WACKY you got with these. I hope you’ll tune in. I’m on from 6a-9a, Monday through Friday, at krko.com

It’s Actually Happening

Four years ago, I rolled the dice big-time, gave up a nice-paying but not rewarding job to pursue my professional dreams. I could have easily crashed and burned and found myself working with former Cosby cast members at Trader Joe’s, but the crazy plan actually worked.

My goal was to create a working situation where–

  • I was doing what I wanted to be doing with people I liked
  • Earning enough to cover the bills, with a little left over
  • Create a balance of all the things I love, so I’d be able to keep doing it until I retired

Later this month, I crack the 63-year-old mark, so retirement is within sight. However, my definition of retirement is probably different than most. That will probably just mean thinning out the list of the many things I do, eliminating the less-rewarding and focusing my efforts on just the fun stuff.

Right now, I have my own creative services company, work for Create Impulse as their Chief Creative Officer, emcee events like this week’s Lutefisk Eating Contest at the Fishermen’s Fall Festival (I believe this is the 15th Lutefisk eating competition I’ve emceed), write for Radio-Online every morning, aim jokes at my various comedy clients and produce videos. I churn out a weekly Ima Norwegian cartoon, a podcast, write a blog and consult several clients. Then pile on top of all those things the duties and activities that come with being involved with ten or so clubs and organizations, and you could say I’m one busy person. But I like busy and when my schedule is mostly made up of things I love, what else would I rather be doing?

But underneath it all, I’ve had this need to do one thing that has been missing from my life for 15 years. Radio.

Seriously, I was thinking that one day, we’d move to a smaller town somewhere and I would latch on to the local small-town station just to satisfy my craving. Remember, I spent over 30 years of my life in the biz, and when it decided to push me away, I embraced developing new skills and pursuing other goals. That I have done.

I can now direct, shoot and edit videos and commercials, thus adding a nice collection of abilities to my skillset. But here’s the crossroads I came to: Radio is and has always been fairly unstable. Formats change, program directors love you or hate you, it’s entirely possible to come off a great show and be told that you’re done. I know. It’s happened.

Which begs the question, “Why would I risk all that I’ve developed to plunge back into the unstable world of radio?” I’d welcome the return, but not by risking everything I’ve built up. After all, been there, done that. So if I were to venture back on the airwaves, it would have to be a perfect fit and be able to be piled on to everything else I’m already doing. Are there enough hours in the day? I believe so, for the right situation.

Over the years, I’ve reached out and talked with Andy Skotdal who own’s Everett’s KRKO. He knew me from my Seattle work and was always interested in connecting. But I didn’t want to start something there, only to realize a month or two later, this isn’t what I really wanted to do. At one time, he was thinking a news station with me doing mornings. Not really my thing. I’m a goofball, you know that. Then, they went into the Sports Radio arena and, again, not for me.

Then, earlier this summer, they flipped to a music station. And not just a regular music station, but what they call “Everett’s Greatest Hits” which amounted to the songs I used to play on the radio. A few 60s, mostly 70s and some 80s. Billy Joel, Fleetwood Mac, Elton John. And, with an up-tempo feel.

Chuck Maylin, formerly of KBSG (the great Seattle oldies station that is no more) and veteran consultant Terry Patrick have created one fine-sounding station that, for now, didn’t have a morning personality.

Today, that changes.

I initially reached out to them to maybe track out an afternoon shift or weekend, just to satisfy my radio Jones. (not to be confused with Jones radio)  They were interested, but had someone internally for mornings and if they were to add an afternoon voice, it would be a “down the line” thing.

Then, the guy who was to host mornings parted ways with the station. So they had a need.

We talked and agreed to make this happen, but not until after my recent Norway trip. It just wouldn’t make sense to start on the air, and then disappear for a couple of weeks.

So, today, Monday, September 10th, I begin a new chapter in my broadcasting career. I’ll be hanging out at 1380-AM and 95.3-FM from 6-9am Monday through Friday. I would highly recommend streaming the station, which you can do easily with one click at KRKO.com.

I am incredibly blessed, because I’m going to get to enjoy playing radio again, on a small-town, local-owner radio station, while continuing to live my big-city life.  Here are a few of my fellow KRKO-kateers, excited to hear I was joining the team.

OK, well, mildly intrigued might be a better description.

Everett’s Greatest Hits, here I come.

Tim Hunter