Wacky Week Podcasts

Look at that!  We’re setting up camp here, so you can get them all in one spot.  I don’t know about you, but I feel safer just knowing that they’re all in one spot.

Wacky Week Podcast #1

So, back in 2006, I started a podcast. Got a few episodes in, then met a woman I had to spend more time with. So, these fell by the wayside. 9 years later, we’re still living the dream but with a recent career change, I set aside more time for projects that really mean something to me. This is one of them. Enjoy this first episode of the “What a Wacky Week” podcast and, after episode 11, we’ll be fast-forwarding to 2015, where I hope to keep this going. This week’s special guests include Scott Burns, Bill Swartz and the amazing Alice Porter.

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Here’s the first episode that kicked things off: https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/wackyweek/Wacky_Week_Podcast_0001.mp3

The Swarm

A couple of Sundays ago, my son, Tyson and his fiancé Lacey invited us to join her parents on the rooftop of her condo for a Sunday lunch. What a great way to hang, get caught up on the latest wedding plans and spend a little time with soon-to-be-relatives.

The lunch was almost perfect. Delicious steaks and swordfish, salads that fit our finicky eating habits these days, it was just awesome. Add to that, it was Seafair Sunday and this Fremont-area rooftop had a distant view of the Blue Angels who were swarming the skies that day.

There they go!

There they go!

But they weren’t alone.

As we began to enjoy our feast, those all-too-familiar northwest late-summer guests arrived–the yellow jackets! At first, it was a curious couple. But steadily, the numbers increased and their boldness accelerated that we had to round up the food and cut short the dining portion of our afternoon.

For most people, they would have that experience, and move on. I had an idea pop into my head. And THIS is the result.

I feel much better. It’s like therapy. But remember–beware The Swarm!

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Tim Hunter

The Evolution

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We’ve gone our entire lives, taking music along with us every step of the way. From the time we’re born and exposed to a singing nursery rhyme, to the comfort music we turn to when we want to feel good today.

Come along as I take you on a historical tour of my taste in music.

Of course, I was born back in the days before everything had a music bed. Now, you brace yourself to hear a song when you open a birthday card or someone’s ringtone goes off.

I spent my single digit years listening to an assortment of polkas, big bands and church music. But around the time I was 8 or so, the British Invasion began and mop-haired bands with names like the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and such became all the rage.

I lived in a big Beatles neighborhood. I remember kids wearing “I like Paul” and “I like John” buttons. Funny, I don’t remember any Ringo buttons. The music I heard from my TV shows included “Let the sunshine in” by Pebbles & Bam Bam and later that decade, “The Monkees” had us tuning in every Monday to hear the latest songs.  All the while, rock was evolving, going from the pop to the psychedelic and soul music. I liked them all.

I basically am a music sponge and there are very few forms I don’t enjoy. Now, I do have an endurance limit on opera and reggae is fine as long as you let me know when the last song ended and the new one has started.

In high school, KHJ, the AM powerhouse in Los Angeles, kept the hits coming. Most were 3-minute songs, with the occasional breakthrough like “American Pie” that had to be played in it’s entirety. As high school became college, the songs got longer and rockier. One of the badges of honor in Terry Hall at the University of Washington was to have the most expensive speakers possible so that you could crank Pink Floyd’s “Dark side of the moon” or Aerosmith’s “Train kept a rollin'” at maximum level.

While I enjoy going to channel 25 on my satellite every now and then, I get restless. If I had to pick a category of music preference, I’d have to say “rocker.”  It reminds me of those college days. Robin Trower, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Foghat, you name it.

I managed to surround myself with rock, even after I graduated and went to work at a small radio station in Yakima, Washington. This was my first professional radio job. When I arrived, it was a daytime radio station (yep, we signed off at sunset) with a 1-point something rating.  By pushing the limits on the air, Brady Layman’s musical diversity and people like Skip Tucker messing with the minds of the listeners, we had us a radio station. Oh, we played the Bay City Rollers, but we also worked in album cuts of Foghat, or Meatloaf’s “Paradise by the Dashboard Light.”  The younger listeners showed up and in some day-parts, we increased the ratings 9-fold!

But soon, I wandered across town and, shortly after that, over to Seattle, where I found myself at Middle of the Road KOMO-AM 1000. I remember sitting in a room with Larry Nelson as he interviewed Johnny Mathis and at the Paramount talking to Wayne Newton.  My rockin’ times were behind me.

After four years, I was cut loose and found myself at KLSY, which at the time was “Classy-FM.” We’re talking Carpenters, Anne Murray, Christopher Cross and others on the soft side.  Oh, I heard some of the big hits on the other station in town—KUBE. “Love Shack”, the Coolio hits, you know, fun stuff like that. But all I could do was sneak in a listen every now and then. For some reason, I felt a loyalty to the music we played, as I felt it would help me better connect to the audience.  So, I lost track of what was happening in rock.

Over my 19 years at KLSY, it progressed slowly and even for a brief while, gave Star 101.5 a run for their money. Program Director and friend Barry McKay pushed the envelope on music and was helping us gain ground. It was through the personal sabotage of another employee that Barry had the reigns taken away, the station returned to that no-man’s land of in-between what WARM played and what STAR played and the station slowly withered away.

When we were thrown a surprise going away party, I went away, thinking I was done with radio. But anyone who’s ever been there knows, it’s a disease.  Something keeps calling you back. So, I applied and was added to weekends and fill-duty at the brand new Wolf country station in Seattle. I had never, I mean EVER liked country music…but the stuff I found myself playing–Keith Urban, Trace Adkins, Kenny Chesney–won me over. After a year, I decided giving up sleep on a Sunday morning for $10 really wasn’t in my long-term interest and I let radio go.

Right now, I truly am all over the board. Give me Macklemore, Taylor Swift, Usher, Blake Shelton, Guns ‘n Roses and I’m a happy guy. This summer’s list of concerts included Boston, Don Henley, A blues festival at the winery, GNR last Friday night and next month, one more winery visit with Joe Walsh.

Bottom line–I love music, I appreciate music, and you have to admit–as you reflect back on your life, there’s a song connected to almost every important moment. The “Sweetheart’s Ball” theme of ‘Precious & Few’ my junior year of high school.  “They’re coming to take me away”, while listening to Dr. Demento in College.

These days, when I’m not listening to talk radio, it’s off to either my phone or the satellite and a nice little musical escape. I can choose a decade, rock my brains out, or even slip in a little Big Band song or two.

Music is such a powerful part of our lives. It resurfaces feelings and stimulates memories. Right now, I’m going to go back to last Friday night’s concert with the words, “Alexa, play Paradise City by Guns ‘n Roses.”

I love technology.

Tim Hunter

Launch Your Drone

I’ll be honest–I bought an actual drone. It probably arrived around 5 months ago and since then, I got it out of the box, fired it up once and then, just haven’t had the time to sit down and learn how to use it.

Oh, I have plans. It does cool things and has a built-in camera. That means, for clients or whatever reason, I can get aerial shots of a business or even my own home.  Before the end of the summer, I plan to teach myself how the darn thing works.

In the meantime, as I glance over again at that device collecting dust on the office coffee table, I thought, “You know, we all have the opportunity to fly a mental drone over our memories. Shut off the news, turn off all your devices and go up for a spin. Take that 3,000-foot-level look at your life’s events and see which ones pop up in your mind. We’ve each had thousands, perhaps millions of incidents and experiences, good and bad. Every single one of those played a part, no matter how small, in how you became the person you are right now.

I just fired up my mental drone and looked down.  I see the time our radio show traveled to Japan and got to broadcast live from there for a week. What an experience. It’s cool to see Alice again. There was the time I got to interview one of my idols, the late Steve Allen and ask him questions about how he did what he did.  Because his mind was always going 100 mph, he carried around a mini-cassette recorder so he could capture a passing idea or revelation. While I’m in the KOMO building, there’s Lar–Larry Nelson–and the weather guy, Ray Ramsey!

I push down the forward handle on the remote control and find myself over a campground in California around the year 1970. I was going through the teenage thing and old enough to wander away from the family trailer and explore. More than once, I heard some campsite playing music, cranked up enough that we could all enjoy that year’s song of the summer, The Carpenter’s “Close to You.”

For fun, I go back a little further and see the old neighborhood gang, with whom I spent hours playing tennis ball baseball. It was a time when the currency was baseball cards. A nickel a pack and you’d get 10 cards plus a stale piece of bubble gum that lost its flavor after three chews. If the modern day me could just go back and talk to that 14-year-old kid one more time, I’d say, “Look–enjoy this! You have no worries at all right now. Don’t be in such a hurry to grow up!”

I heard an interesting concept the other day on the radio and I’m doing my best to implement it into my life. John Curley on KIRO was talking about this speaker who encouraged you to think often about the moments in your life that made you really happy. The idea is, when you go back to that moment of real happiness, it triggers a chemical change in your body. So, while you’re mentally enjoying happy thoughts, your body is enjoying the physical benefits of what happens when you’re positive and in a good place.  Conversely, if you think negative, it does not do your body any good.

In other words, do everything in your power to keep it positive.  Think positive. Be positive. At first, like water skiing, it could take a while to get up there, but I can tell you–once you’re there, it’s pretty easy to stay there. However, you do have to make an active effort to keep it going.

Man, you look around and there are SO many negative influences surrounding us–on the news, the media, the Internet, our world…and they’re all waiting to take you down with them. The bad is definitely there, but also, so is the good. And if you think it might take a mental drone to help you find it, I’ll lend you mine.

Tim Hunter

It’s Bound To Be A Better August

August

When you think about it, August has always been a pretty good month over the years.

I mean, as a kid, it was prime summertime. With wading pools, slip ‘n slides, trips to the beach or a lake. Oh, sure, it’s when those pesky “Back to School” ads start showing up everywhere, but who pays attention to those? August is the last full month of summer, with 31 days jam-packed with “who the heck cares?”

Even as an adult, I’ve always been fond of the month. Being a Seattle Mariners fan, it was when I became free to start thinking about football. There are lots of fun celebrations around town including Seafair, The Evergreen State Fair, A Taste of Edmonds, maybe a camping trip or a weekend up at Lake McMurray.  The Perseid Meteor shower is always fun to catch. This year, we’re going to a Guns ‘n Roses concert, an Everett AquaSox game and the weekends are just loaded with events.

And the 2016 edition of August is definitely better than last year.

It was a year ago this week that my almost-92-year-old Dad fell for the last time. He had been declining in health for years and “the annual fall” had unfortunately become a tradition. This one took too much of a toll, and we were forced to say goodbye. There is never a good time to watch your father slip away–it’s one of those things you know is going to happen some day. You’re just never really ready for that day.

So, when August rolls around, I’m probably always going to think about dad. I prefer to look at the positives, so rather than focusing on when he died, I’d like to remember his birthday…and mom & dad’s anniversary…and….that brings us back to August.  They were married on August 19th, which happened to be my mom’s birthday (we always said, it was so that he would only have to remember one date every year) and he was born on August 31st. His mother’s birthday was August 30th.  There’s no way around it–when I think about August, I think about Dad.

In a way, I remember that August of 2015 like it was yesterday.  Every detail, the challenges, the disbelief, it’s surreal. It’s a life-altering experience that makes you take a look at how you’re living your own life. But then again, at the same time, that particular August went by like one giant blur.

Its hard to believe it’s been a year. But while I don’t hear his voice over the phone any more, I do have a lifetime of memories to wander through in my spare time. Every now and then, something will trigger a thought about dad. He smiles at me every morning at 4am when I drag my weary bones to the office computer and begin another day of tapping away on the keyboard.

Parents want a lot of things for their kids, but most will settle for just one–their kids living a happy life. I’m very fortunate to be doing exactly what I want to be doing, with people I like, and there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t say a little prayer of gratitude.

And look over at that guy on the wall, smiling at me.

Tim Hunter

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