Stan The Scan Man

I found out the way most people hear news these days–on Facebook.

Stan Boreson had passed away.

I was a late addition to the Stan Boreson fan club. Kids who great up in Seattle during the 1950’s and 60’s were able to turn on KING 5 in the afternoon and watch a funny Scandinavian with an accordion and a basset hound named Nomo. It was back when televisions stations made the effort to provide live entertainment for kids after school.

Growing up in the Los Angeles area, I was unaware of Stan’s existence.  However, when I took a job at KOMO Radio as Larry Nelson’s producer in the early 1980s, our paths crossed and I had the good fortune to really get to know Stan.  He made frequent visits to the KOMO studios and would banter with Lar about Ballard, Snoose Junction, the Swedes and Norwegians, Ole & Lena, Ole & Sven and those old KING’s Klubhouse Days.

Some of my Stan Boreson stories include:

Stan coming in one holiday season and performing songs and offering memories all morning long. Then, to cap it off, another friend–Leif Eie from Scandinavian Airlines–was flying up in the KOMO Air Patrol with Ted Potter.  Leif sang an original song about KOMO Christmas Time in Seattle, while Stan accompanied him on the accordion in the studio.

You can actually here the KOMO broadcast and one of the KLSY visits on this week’s edition of my Wacky Week podcast.

After hanging with him a few times as Larry’s producer, Stan could see I liked to joke around. So, he invited me over to his house several times after KOMO to sit and write more parody Christmas songs. I think we wrote around a dozen of them and I even still have the original hand-written sheets.  He used several of them on one of his last Christmas albums, for which I will be forever grateful.

I stayed in touch with Stan over the years, sneaking him on the air over at KLSY a couple of times and even dragging him into a “Murdock & Hunter Deck Your Halls” promotion. I have some video home movies of that adventure.

I bumped into Stan here and there.  I was hoping to get him to perform at my wedding, but he said his manager wouldn’t let him do it for free.  I understood. When people know what you do, they aren’t afraid to ask, “Oh, just this one time….” and 93 one times later, you’re overbooked because you’re a nice guy.

I saw Stan at Larry Nelson’s funeral (was that really 10 years ago?) and once at Ballard Seafoodfest a few years ago.  Sadly, my final conversation with Stan wasn’t the greatest, but when you think about it, it was actually a funny misunderstanding and Stan was a funny guy.  You can hear that story at the end of this week’s podcast.

I will be forever grateful that our paths crossed and that I was able to get an up-close look at that special light.

Tim Hunter

PS–One more special video. I didn’t even know he ever appeared on the Lawrence Welk show.

 

The Year in Preview

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Not that busy. But close

The last of the Christmas decorations have been packed away and even the Seahawks pennants and memorabilia that decorate our family room have been put back into our Hawks Box. That’s my cue that it’s time to head into a New Year. Another 12-month cycle of events that make up my annual routine. All things I enjoy doing and that I plan on doing for as long as people will have me. I know all too soon there will come a time when it will be time to pass along the torch to someone younger so that these traditions can continue.

Oh, new events and adventures always present themselves, but every January as I stare into the face of a New Year, I can count on these events being a part of the months ahead:

JANUARY–A pretty calm month. It’s my mother-in-law’s birthday month, so there are events around that, but in a good year, the first month of the year is spent seeing how dry the Christmas tree can get before we take it down and how far the Seahawks will go.

FEBRUARY–My first auction of the year with the gang at Our Redeemer’s Lutheran in Ballard.

MARCH–More auctions. This month, my biggest one up at the Xfinity Center in Everett for the Everett Rowing Club. The following night, I’m auctioning things off at the Norwegian Ladies Chorus of Seattle’s annual Fishcake & Meatball dinner. Yes, Ma, I finally made it. Oh and March Madness.

APRIL–Outside of Easter on the 16th, a pretty calm month.

MAY–Could there possibly be anything more in this month? (apparently making up for April) Opening Day of Boating Season, Six family birthdays (including my wife), Mother’s Day, PLUS Syttende Mai (Norway’s Constitution Day) which means a day-long celebration in Ballard and yours truly back as the voice of the parade for my 5th year.

JUNE–As month’s go, another fairly calm one, although this year will also include the Nordic Heritage Museum auction (I’m sorry–Auktion) and then, the third weekend in June signals the beginning of summer and usually means a cabin weekend up at Lake McMurray to celebrate Midsummer with a giant bonfire.

JULY–The 4th of July means you’ll see me in downtown Bothell doing the play-by-play for their annual Freedom Festival Parades–a kiddie version, followed by the Grand Parade.  Then, there’s Seafoodfest in Ballard, which means I’ll take the stage and emcee another Lutefisk Eating contest. I believe I’ve done 9 of them, just in case anyone’s keeping track.

AUGUST–One of the events I love to attend is “Raise the Woof”, when you can hang with the Husky Football team the week before their first game.

SEPTEMBER–The beginning of college and pro football and the Fishermen’s Fall Festival down in Ballard, where I’ll be emceeing another Lutefisk Eating Contest.

OCTOBER–I’m honored to be invited as one of the judges for the annual Bothell Chilifest

NOVEMBER–Really, what more can I saw but Apple Cup. The college season is fun, but this is what it’s all about and this year, it’s in Seattle. Oh, and Thanksgiving. This is also the month I get going on the annual Christmas CD and put together a Christmas music video. I actually filmed and recorded this year’s version back in December of last year.  Oh, and I co-auctioneer with buddy Dale Amundsen at the annual Greater Bothell Chamber auction.

DECEMBER–This month begins with a whirlwind 3-event weekend:

  • The Norwegian American Chamber of Commerce Julebord. A former Norwegian luncheon that I host every year at the Seattle Golf Club. I believe I’ve got five years under my belt now and it is one fun event.
  • The following day, I spend an hour roaming the grounds at the Country Village Shopping Center as their town crier and officially welcome Santa Claus to town. That’s been a tradition for 13+ years.
  • The Norwegian Ladies Chorus Holiday Concert is always that first Sunday in December and so that helps round out the weekend.

The second Thursday of December is “Fishermen’s Night”, a seafood-drenched night of drinking and comradery at the Leif Erikson Lodge in Ballard. A sell-out every year.

The night before Christmas Eve is a Norwegian gathering called Lille Juloften. (Lilly-YOOL-often) Basically a night of partying to warm up for the Christmas marathon. They drink Gløgg. I don’t.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are naturally drowning in family events.

Then, several days later, on the 29th, it’s my wedding anniversary. This year is the big 1-0!

Of course, there are meetings for Norwegian Commercial Club, the Greater Bothell Chamber of Commerce, the Northshore School District General Advisory Committe and a couple of other groups I’m involved with. Toss in things like a son’s wedding and a couple of trips to California and that pretty much packs out the year.

If I owe you money, now you know where to find me. I hope our paths cross as much as possible in the coming year and for many years to come.

Make it a happy one!

Tim Hunter

It’s Pool Time!!

This week, KOMO television here in Seattle is celebrating their longtime weather personality, Steve Pool.

Remember, for a time, I lurked the halls of Fisher Broadcasting as Larry Nelson’s producer on the radio side of the KOMO Empire. Occasionally I’d bump into Steve at a cross-promotional event.  Then, when I headed across the lake to work at 92.5-KLSY, it became a tradition to have Steve and the late Kathi Goertzen do battle in our “Battle of the Sexes.” Steve represented the Dawgs, Kathi was the proud Cougar back when it had only one meaning.  Whichever side won theoretically would predict the outcome of the annual Apple Cup.  Not with any accuracy, but it was still a fun gimmick.

While working afternoons at KLSY, my former KOMO connections managed to work me into a “celebrity” edition of TV’s Family Feud game show. While Steve was a part of that adventure, it’s what happened with the rest of the crew that is pressed in my memory.

We actually got to fly down to Los Angeles, check into a fancy hotel and, that evening, have dinner with the host, Ray Combs. The radio and TV folks came in two different flights. I was on the second one and probably, for the better. It seems that on the early flight, one of our radio sisters drank a TV all-star under the table, such that he was unable to be at dinner that night. After dining together in a big group, Ray explained what all would happen the next day—a Sunday, by the way—, so we scattered. I’ll never forget seeing Kathi Goertzen, who I had only spoken to briefly (after all, she was Kathi friggin’ Goertzen) getting all cowgirl’d up to go hit the local country bars with her sister. I can still see her in those cowboy boots.

We were told to be ready to catch the bus to the TV studio by 7am Sunday morning. OK, so I set the alarm for 6.  Shortly after it went off, I heard a slam from my next door neighbor, Robin Erickson.  Living up to her rock jock image, she was just getting home from a night out on the town.

We got to the TV studio and some of us were blurrier than others. A few were a bit stage-struck or full of nervous energy.  I remember it being like a dream.  You know the part where your team poses as your introduced and before you come on stage?  I was amazed to see that the backside of it was covered in graffiti. It’s something they don’t show you on TV.

We did two episodes, back to back, so they could sprinkle them out during the important ratings periods.  My buddy, Larry Nelson, had a serious brain freeze on one of the questions.  We never quit teasing him about it.

Seeing this video makes me realize just how long ago this was. I was honored to be included in the Feud, and to hang around for a while with some of my cross-town radio rivals, as well as the gang from KOMO TV.  The last one of that KOMO TV bunch still on the air is weather guru Steve Pool, the guy who triggered this little stroll down memory lane.  Congratulations, Steve, on your 40-year achievement. Here’s to as many more as you want and as long as you’re having fun, that’s really all that matters.

 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

Here It Comes Again

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I’m writing on this topic as a way to light a fire under me to make a particular something happen.

Very soon, I’m going to begin a weekly podcast.

Oh, I’ve done it before. It was in 2006. I was in my post-radio reinvention, working at an advertising agency, honing some new skills, but missing those days of broadcasting. It’s really hard to explain how an industry that can toss you away without a care can be so addictive. Maybe it’s like the bronco rider, who just wants to see how long he can stay on. I managed to ride 30 years and only get bucked off twice, ending up in a better position each time.

But I’ve seen so many broadcasting brothers and sisters kicked around by the biz. I’ve told some of them I feel lucky that I was able to be a part of my generation’s “Golden Age” of radio in Seattle. There was inventiveness, competition, fresh ideas, big stunts—all things missing from today’s watered-down version of that medium. Or, is it a large? But, I digress…

I was part of the Larry Nelson break-out era at KOMO, when we went from a sleepy Middle-of-the-Road format to a little-more-awake Full Service format. Then, I went over to KLSY and spent the next 19 years of my broadcasting career in their 3 buildings. We started in the Main Place in downtown Bellevue…wandered over to the building next to the Bellevue School District, just about The Butcher…and ended up in the current facilities in Factoria.

The “competition” was Ichabod, Bob Rivers, Charlie & Ty, The I-Guys, Ryan & Ryan, Kent & Alan and lots more that escape my immediate memory.  There was some great radio in town.

When the Murdock, Hunter and Alice thing blew up in 2003, I snuck into The Wolf, doing weekends and fill-in for just under a year, which gave me the country music experience and to meet Fitz, Possom, Woj and Wingnut. Sure, I was able to take part in some fun events, occasionally hearing from a former listener…but talking over intro’s just wasn’t the same as being part of a morning show. So, I let go.

After a couple of years of writing and working my way into an advertising agency, I decided to launch a podcast. Hey, why not? So, in late 2006, I started putting together these various-length montages of bits from my KQOT, KMWX, KOMO and KLSY years, plus some new things I put together.

Then I met a girl. And my priorities shifted.

Almost 9 years after the initial episodes, I’ve decided it’s time to get back into it. I still have that radio itch, but the instability of the business has caused it to lose its appeal. I used to think, “Oh, podcasts are for raging ego’s who just need to hear themselves talk” and that may be true.  But I believe the formula I’ve put together acts like a time capsule, allowing me to share & preserve some of the fun from my radio past.

So, if you’d like to explore the first 11 podcasts, you’ll find them here on my SoundCloud page. I’ll do my best to keep them entertaining and surprise you with an occasional guest or two. It’s been a busy life lately, but I hope to get this back into a fun routine.  Soon.

Wish me luck and thanks for the read.

Tim Hunter

The Silence Grows

Just a week ago, I attended the memorial service for longtime Seattle news guy, Jim Kampmann.  He was honored well, with a huge turnout at Holy Family Church in Auburn.  Jim spent 17 years in rock radio as the edgy voice of authority, while I got to know him during the next 17 years of his life that he spent as a Green River Community College Radio teacher and nice guy news presence on KIXI & KLSY.  “Kampy” as he was known, became more thoughtful, caring and reflective as the years rolled by.  Sadly, it’s been probably a decade since I last saw him.  A lot of people commented they hadn’t seen him in a while, but it says volumes when you leave that kind of imprint on people’s lives.  There are some wonderful photos of him on his Facebook Memorial Page and, because it doesn’t hurt to give it a plug, they’ve established a GoFundMe page for the Kampmann kids to cover college.  Any little bit helps.

I was blessed to have met Jim, to have gotten to know him and follow his life adventures and misadventures.  To those who didn’t have the pleasure of meeting him, I offer a couple of clips.  Here’s a commentary he did during his tenure at Sandusky radio. And there’s this wonderful collection that John Maynard and friends put together.

However, brace yourself before watching this.  It’s a behind the scenes look at Jim and really gives you a glimpse at the tremendous human being we lost.  That was Kampy.

Just this morning, I found out about the loss of another Seattle radio voice.  Former Smooth Jazz-kateer Cedric James lost his fast and ferocious battle against lung cancer.  Cedric & I worked in the same building over there in Factoria, but most of our encounters were a quick “Hey!” while passing in the halls of Sandusky. He was a Smooth Jazz guy, I was a goofball over at KLSY.  After we both ‘retired’, we connected on Facebook and stayed in touch over the years.

On March 6th, he shared the news that he had been diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer.  All too reminiscent of my late broadcast buddy, Larry Nelson.  He announced the diagnosis on Facebook and kept his friends and followers updated on his condition.  Just this past Tuesday, he made his last post:

“I have reached the end of the crossroads and it’s time to make the decision. I am headed for hospice. It is time to die peacefully. My oxygen intake is facing slowly and the doctors are chasing the answer. As a result, I am pulling the plug and preparing for the end. Some time in the next week. I bid you all peace and love. May the Devine white light of mother and father God shine on your heart as it has shined on me. Amen.”

A few hours ago, his son, Cedric Jr., posted this message:

“I am sorry to inform you all of this not so great news. My father did not make the night. He passed away and he went in his sleep.”

I look back on my 30+ years in radio and have lots of fond and not-so-fond memories.  But I have to say, some of the people I met along the way were nothing less than amazing. Unique. Characters.

And now, there are two less characters in my story.  Gentlemen, I look forward to seeing you both again some day. God’s peace to both of you.

Tim Hunter