AND OUT THEY GO

KING 5 FOUR

The faces of TV news in Seattle are changing. A lot.

It’s been a long time coming. As an experienced observer of this market for 40 years, I’ve seen ‘em come and I’ve seen ‘em go. In fact, at one time, I was one of those who went.

The sudden “retirement” of the King 5 Four  (really, KING, one more and you could have had the perfect number) was a pretty obvious ploy to young-up their staff and hopefully, their audience. But, to me, that seems like flawed thinking.

You know what’s been going on in that industry.  Fewer and fewer people turn to TV for their news. Younger viewers aren’t getting home at night and flipping on the evening news. Geeze, watch the NBC national news at 6 and you’ll see every laxative, high blood pressure medication and skin rash treatment known to mankind.

So, by flushing out the long-time familiar faces in a bulk retirement, viewers will now have the option to scatter or catch up with the world and stop watching the evening news all together.  My wife and I are actually down to just occasional viewing, as there is so much negative news and killing that, by the time TV gets around to giving details, we already know them. Radio and online have already filled us in and we just don’t want to hear it all over again.

I’m positive this push out the door was a combination of long-term employee higher salaries and corporate pressure to trim the bottom line.  I believe all four will continue to live in the area. They love Seattle, which is what kept them here all those years. When you see them, be sure to say “hi” and thank them for all they did. 

I casually knew most, but like you, after inviting them into your home night after night for up to four decades, they feel like family. So now, the Home Team will actually be home.

A few words on each of the KING 5 Four: 

Linda Byron–As an investigative reporter, she did her job and did it well.  She was the driving force behind the investigation into Sono Bello years ago when S.B. was a client at the agency where I worked.  Linda was relentless. I didn’t know her personally, but one of my life goal’s is to see her smile. Just once.

Jeff Renner–My morning show co-host, Bruce Murdock, was buddies with Jeff from his days at KING Broadcasting and we’d occasionally have him on the air.  I talked with Jeff on the phone during those group conversations, but other than that, I didn’t really know him.  He was Mr. Weather Guy, took it all very seriously and was just always there.  It’ll be strange to not see him in the broadcasts anymore.

Dennis Bounds–I’ve met Dennis professionally, but we’ve chatted more via Facebook than in person.  The only face-to-face I had with him was the time he read “Twas the night before Christmas” at our final Murdock, Hunter & Alice Show.  He came all the way out to the Village Theater in Issaquah to read it on stage and for the live listening audience.  As soon as the show was over, the radio station G.M. came backstage and told us our KLSY days were over.  I never did get a chance to thank you, Dennis.  For those who would like to hear his reading, just click here.

Jean Enersen–I actually have worked with Jean more than any of the others and even then, they were pretty much brief encounters.  You’d have to go back to the KING radio days, when I was an intern from the University of Washington and she was the gorgeous blonde news anchor that was always dashing through the radio area. Later, I’m proud to say I got to co-host a couple of “Race for the Cure” events with her.  Then, when I met Victoria, our paths at least crossed once because Jean is married to a guy named Bruce, who was the big guy at Zymogenetics where Victoria worked.

This Friday is the group’s final day with the company. They’ll make the break and I hope they make the most of it.  If you guys need any tips, look up former KOMO news anchor Dan Lewis.  That guy is a role model for retirement. Since he walked away, Dan has been enjoying every single day to the fullest. Hiking, spending time with his sons, going on road trips.  I’ve seen him a couple of times since he called it good and he just beams.

Nothing more to say but thank you all for the tremendous effort and for setting such high standards for your successors.

Tim Hunter

 

 

 

Take Me Out Of The Ball Game

sad baseball

sad baseball

I’m a baseball fan.  This must be understood if anything good is to become of this blog.

Wow, how Dickens!

Seriously, I was raised a baseball fan. The games were on the radio every night at our house. Back then, TV games were a treat and rare.  You either went to the ballpark or listened to Vin Scully & Jerry Doggett call the play-by-play.

I played Little League.  Baseball was the sport and a big part of my life. Other sports weren’t as organized at that time, although I began to dabble in basketball in my later years of adolescence.  But having a team like the L.A. Dodgers as your team, it meant winning and going to the World Series most years. Because they played the Series games during the day back then, teachers would actually bring in a black & white TV with ‘rabbit ears’ so we could watch those historical events.

Fast-forward to present day Seattle.  We have a team called the Seattle Mariners that made a couple of runs over their decades of existence, none ever resulting in a World Series. 1995 was a magical year with miracle wins along the way and a dream team combination of stars and over-achievers.  In 2001, we won an amazing 116 games only to get blown out in the first round of the playoffs.

And that’s been it. Since then, season after season, the routine has become hope that turns to despondence anywhere from April through late-July…and then, it’s football season.  I was thinking about it.  In Seattle, the difference between fans of the football team and the baseball team can be summed up like this: If you’re a Seahawks fan, you go to the Team Store and spend some serious bucks on a jersey.  If you’re a Mariners fan, you take whatever Fred Meyer or Penney’s has on sale and call it good.

Oh, now there are the die-hards who love their Mariners and are getting pretty pissed off at me right now. Tune in any of the home games in the next few weeks and they’re the ones you’ll see sitting down by the field, checking their phones and looking for the fast-forward button for life.  As a baseball fan, it’s hard for me to get excited about this team.  Oh, we have the stars, we just don’t have the leadership or that special “it.”

The “it” is what takes a team like Kansas City from a bunch of rag-tag, dreamy-eyed players to winning the World Series. Last year’s Fall Classic was exactly that.  I’ve had 14 years of post-season baseball to enjoy that didn’t include the Mariners.  Real baseball fans know what I’m talking about. Sure, by then, football is underway, but those final weeks of baseball’s endurance challenge keep me coming back year after year.

Coming back?  Yeah, part of that 14-year history is knowing that, by August, the Mariners are done. By then, I’m no longer checking to see if they won or lose and I’m actually paying more attention to my back-up teams (you need those in Seattle) the Red Sox and the Dodgers. At least one of them usually makes it to the post-season.

Again, the die-hard Mariners fans will call this blasphemy, but I’m just not finding them to be a team I can believe in.  I would LOVE for them to prove me wrong.  I hope they right the ship and get this collection of players to live up to their potential.  But the biggest reason behind my doubt is inspired by the ownership’s decision to name a manager who has never managed a major league team before. Ever.  Or a minor league team, for that matter. It sounds like the plot of a Disney baseball B-picture.  At least in “Damn Yankees”, the guy with no experience had the devil helping him out.

If I accept this, I’d also have to hop on board a 747 with a pilot who has never flown before, or have a surgery performed by a guy who isn’t a doctor, but who has watched every episode of “Grey’s Anatomy.”

Yes, I’m venting.  It’s because I care so much about the game of baseball that I’m sad it’s not taken seriously when you’re lucky enough to have a major league team.  I’m not asking for an immediate championship. Hell, I’m 40 years into this adventure. I’d settle for a competitive team, that shows up and has the desire to win every day.  I’m just not feeling that with this year’s edition of the Seattle Mariners.  At least, not yet.

It was the great Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda who said it best:

“No matter how good you are, you’re going to lose one-third of your games. No matter how bad you are you’re going to win one-third of your games. It’s the other third that makes the difference.”

Here’s hoping the Mariners figure out that final third.

It’s early in the season.  I think I’ll wander over and check on soccer for a while.

OK, I’m back. Go Mariners. Please.

Tim Hunter

Sorting Out This Wacky Election Year

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We’ve been hearing the candidates debate, bicker, accuse, slander and whine for what seems like forever and there are still over six months to go until the presidential election.

Where’s the fast forward button?

There was a time I was in the Republican camp. Heck, I was a registered Republican in my early voting years.  But even as a registered Republican, I strayed one year and voted for Ross Perot for president. (younger readers, he was the Donald Trump of our time) Back then, the idea as I understood it was that Republicans wanted less government in our lives. Provide a strong defense and just let people live.  But somewhere along the line, the party evolved into the moralist party, the “God is on our side and we’ll determine your morals” party and when that happened, the far right fringe took over.

Everyone is allowed their own political opinion. We have a constitution that protects that.  No one is more right than the other, their opinion is just the way they’d like the world to be.  What has happened over the years is that I’ve become less “Republican” and more “Democrat”, but prefer to remain somewhere in the middle.

Topics such as abortion or same-sex marriage–those are choices, not mandates.  No one is going to force you to have anything to do with either.  If you view them as wrong, don’t do them.  If you choose them, well, it’s your choice.  If you start out by saying, “Well, the Bible teaches they’re wrong”, think about it: it also teaches that lying and robbing and coveting are wrong.  Disobeying laws of any kind are wrong. If that’s the case, why don’t you skip the next anti-whatever rally and focus on one of the less trendy sins of the world?  Maybe a petition to stop speeders from owning homes?  Or allowing people to discriminate against gossipers? (actually, I’ll sign that one)  If a sin is a sin is a sin, the Bible says you’ll have to ultimately be accountable in front of God.  I think it’s probably a good idea to take “God’s Law Enforcer” off your resume.

When you start legislating other people’s lives based on your personal religious beliefs, you’re heading down a slippery slope.  Everyone’s religion matters, right?  So the Hindu that is offended you’re eating that burger wants a constitutional amendment to ban beef.  Oh, so it’s only the way YOU believe that should be law.  Then run for king or queen and see how that works out.

I’m now at the place where I’ve gone from a “Young Republican for Nixon” (hey, I admit it) to someone planning to vote for Bernie Sanders whether he gets the nomination or not.

I said at the beginning of the campaign season that the reason there were so many Republicans running is that they had inside knowledge Hillary would get her party’s nomination, then would have to bow out because of the email scandal.  That being said, I’m bracing myself for the possible election of any of the remaining candidates:

Hillary Clinton–You thought Obama had a tough time getting things through with a Republican congress? I’m hoping if she wins, she’ll realize her victory was a “You ended up being the better of two evils” rather than a mandate.

Bernie Sanders–There’s no way that Republican congress will go along with his “Let’s beat up the bankers and give things away” plan, but I believe the guy has good intentions and a conscious. If there’s one candidate who is sincerely concerned about people, it’s Bernie. While he may not realize his vision, he could take the country in a positive direction.

Ted Cruz–He scares me more than Donald Trump.  While not a darling of the party, this Tea Party survivor would do everything in his power to make the U.S. a theocracy.  But again, he hasn’t made a lot of allies in the Senate and his caustic, self-righteous style would probably put us into four years of “Uh, who’s up next?”

Donald Trump–There was a time when I believed that our country needed a leader that’s more CEO than politician. Someone who would run the country like a company, being responsible with the budget and that would make America efficient again.  Trump’s mouth and crass style was attention-getting at first, that “anti-politician” that you think you want. But his outlandish and primitive-thinking comments have eliminated him from any serious consideration.

John Kasich–You know, there actually might be something there. He seems to have a sensible message going, but just can’t get traction over the side-show of the other candidates.

Other observations:

You keep hearing that Bernie Sanders doesn’t have a chance of getting the nomination, yet people keep voting for him. What does that say?

If the Republicans do manage to ‘Dump Trump’, Donald will be pissed and go off and run as an independent. That fractures the Republican and independent vote and gives whoever ends up being the Democratic nominee the election.

Don’t watch political ads on TV and let them influence your opinion. I live in the advertising world. Commercials are designed to sway opinions and political ones are among the worst. The negative half-truths fly everywhere and its up to you to flush out the truth.

I have friends that are dyed-in-the-wool Republicans and others who are life-long Democrats. Both would never consider voting any other way.  I guess my political opinions are too all over the board to be represented by one party.  This may mean it’s time for the Tim Party.

I never wanted to be a single-issue voter, but the increasing gun violence in our country has forced me to make that a priority.  I believe the rights of gun owners should be protected, as stated in the second amendment.  However, I don’t think a mentally disturbed person should have the right to go to a gun shop and get everything he needs to go out and slaughter innocent people.  That is not what our forefathers intended.  A solution is desperately needed.

Basically, I’m looking for a candidate that is genuine, sincere, that will eliminate wasteful spending, promote responsible gun control and lets people live their lives.  Am I asking too much?

Tim Hunter

 

My Favorite Holiday

April Fools’ Day is right up my alley.  I’m a jokester. I love the kind of comedy that surprises you. Actually, it’s easier when they don’t see you coming.

And because AFD can be annoying to some, I go for the subtle.

Oh, I’ve done my fair share of blatant over the years. I’ve blogged about it before, so dig around the archives and you’ll see of a few of the stunts I’ve done on the radio side of things.  From phony parades in downtown Seattle to looped cell phone rings that we had playing in the background but didn’t acknowledge, it’s just fun to me.

So, this year, I was trying to think of something fresh, something new.  Nothing really jumped out at me. Over time, when I hit a comedy writing wall, I try to tear down the subject to it’s basics.  April 1st is about fooling someone and the reason they believe you is that they trust you. That’s the kind way of putting it. You could also say, they’re “gullible.”  So, why not declare Friday to the unsuspecting as “National Gullible Day.”

I could do a TV ad. OK, that’s a start. Let’s keep going.  I could shoot some stand-up lines, swipe some footage from YouTube, etc.  Then I realized I should tap into the people I know.   I reached out to Matt Riedy, former DJ turned actor down in Hollywood and asked if he wanted to play.  I reached out to former KOMO news anchor Dan Lewis to see if he would be up for it.  I sent out messages near and far, expecting a balance of “Uh, no thank you’s” and “Sure, why not?”

I love that everyone I reached out to agreed to go for it.  They trust I won’t do anything embarrassing to them or something that might tarnish their image.  The result is this plug for National Gullible Day.

 

 

Thanks to everyone who helped–Skip Tucker, my brother from another mother, down in L.A.  Nick & Sam, my step-son and his wife, who sent me a clip from London on the final day of their vacation.  The talented Fred Bugg, who lent his Donald Trump and Ted Cruz voices to the bit.  Bob Boustedt, who lent his lower body to play the part of Donald.  Marty, Jodi, Pedro & Luciana from the Jet Morning Show in Seattle.  Matt Riedy and Dan Lewis–thank you!

This came to me Tuesday, sent out requests Wednesday, and shot my part on Thursday, then put it all together.  Wow.

Here’s hoping you survived the pranks and take comfort in the fact that April Fools Day falls on a Saturday next year.

You know, that only adds to the challenge.

Have a great one.

Tim Hunter

 

Easter Weekend 2016

I was a tall kid. They couldn't fit my entire head in the picture.

I was a tall kid. They couldn’t fit my entire head in the picture.

The past is a wonderful place, I just wouldn’t want to live there.

But it’s fun to go back and visit. To dig out a photo album, watch those home movies you had digitized, or even just watch one of those movies from a key part of your life that brings those memories out of a dusty corner of your brain.

I was debating on which topic to cover this week and the temptation to do something on one of the latest wrongs in the world was there–the elections, terrorism, guns, crazy drivers (Victoria was clipped this week by a hit & run driver).  But I decided upon the occasion of Easter weekend that I should keep it positive and reflective.

So I’d like to talk about the Sweet Sixteen and who I think will win the NCAA tournament.

KIDDING.

I let the mind wander back to my early years.  The earth had recently cooled and I was a member of a church-going family.  Oh, I don’t mean we went every Sunday.  I meant, if there was a service, we were there.  Sundays, Lent, Maunday Thursday, Good Friday, Easter, Advent, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve–we rarely missed a one. I’ll bet if the church had tested us with something like a “Transgression Tuesday” service, you would have found the Hunters there.

Once you have a family of your own and you want your kids to at least have the exposure of church, you’re pretty good about it.  Most Sundays, got ’em to Sunday school.  Kept ’em involved to a degree until confirmation and then, that’s about all I could really ask. It’s about giving them the foundation and then see what happens.

These days, Victoria & I aren’t regulars, per se. When I host the annual church auction, I like to say, “If you go to the early service, I go to the late service.  If you go to the late service, I go to the early service.”  We belong to a church, like the people there, but we live very crazy-busy lives, by choice.  Sundays are sometimes about vegging out or there could be something planned.

But enough about me–back to Easter, the star of this weekend.

I was giving it some thought and Easter is like one of the last remaining, respected Christian holidays.  At a time when you say the word ‘Christian’ and people think of Ted Cruz or Televangelists or Right Wing Wackos, I proudly admit to being a Christian, just not like those aforementioned.  But think about it: On Good Friday, the stock market is closed.  On Easter, the malls are actually shut down. Seriously.  I remember several times back in the day when I thought I’d run over to the mall on Easter and it was a ghost town.  Remember the outrage over the past couple of years?  First the stores were open on Thanksgiving, then Christmas Day.

But they are closed on Easter and no one is complaining.  Go figure.

Comparing Easter to when I was growing up and now, things really haven’t changed a whole lot when it comes to the celebration at a kid level. There are still hollow chocolate bunnies that shatter the hopes of every kid who would have bet their college fund that it was solid chocolate.  There are still malt balls, (my favorite), jelly beans, and Peeps.  Just more flavors of each than I ever could have imagined.

I remember hiding plastic eggs for our kids throughout the house when they were growing up.  They also took part in a few outdoor egg hunts over the years.  Today, a new tradition has started at my daughter’s in-laws, down in Olympia, where a field of colored eggs, around 500 of them, will await a dozen or so kids this Saturday.  It’s awesome to see the look in their eyes and their genuine excitement.

There are smiles. There’s a look of hope. And when you think about it, that’s what Easter is supposed to be all about. A new beginning, a second chance, hope.  We can celebrate it for just one day, or take it with us all year long.

I guess the only thing that disappoints me about Easter is that the holiday was never validated by a Peanuts Cartoon special.  Oh, sure, do Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, the easy ones.   But would it have hurt anyone to have Linus spend the night in a rabbit hole, awaiting the arrival of the Great Bunny?  Then again, those aren’t jelly beans on the ground.

Never mind.

Happy Easter.

Tim Hunter