Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Good morning!   It's just a few minutes after my Tuesday Morning Cool-Site Pick of the Day Radio Program with Jim Bollman on KNOX radio in Grand Forks, ND.  (July 24, 2012).  Tomorrow is going to be a BIG DAY on our radio program.   But first a little time in the WAY BACK machine!   It was Christmas of 1976. I had been attending Brown Institute in Minneapolis, wanting to get into the radio announcing business.  I had worked for Yamaha Canada Music in Winnipeg since graduating from UMC in Crookston, and decided that rather than advising and helping organ and piano dealers across Canada, I'd like to be in the business myself.  I ended up with a small organ and piano and CB radio store in Crookston.  That was fun for a short time, but I could see that there was no way to purchase a real house and go on vacations and have a life trying to do that in this little town in Minnesota.

As part of closing down that business, my Mother suggested that I had this great radio voice and that I should consider that as my next career.  HEY sounded good to me!  Any time you can actually make a living just talking, well how much better could life get?  So I called the local Crookston radio station and talked to their long time morning man and asked for some advice.   He had one thing to say..."GO TO BROWN!"  It was a definitive message.  So a couple of calls to the broadcast school in Minneapolis, and I had my appointment to visit.  Fortunately one of the 6 starting times of the year was just coming up, and I could be enrolled and in class almost immediately.

It was a heady time, a quick move to an apartment in the heart of Dinky Town (just off the U of M campus) and I'm back in school!  Seven months or so of that and I'm home for Christmas 96.  There in the newspaper was an ad for a new farm director at KNOX in Grand Forks.   Well I'm a farm kid and now a broadcast specialist.  So I applied.  And I interviewed with this guy named Jim Bollman, and believe it or not I actually got the job.  This was a time when the farm news started at 5am each day, a carry over from the time when lots of farmers were up and in the barn starting the morning milking...or at least in the house getting some breakfast before they headed to the barn.  The most expensive commercials on the station were farm oriented spots that ran starting at 5am, although even by that time in the 70's few folks were actually up and preparing to slip on the milkers.  I worked in that job till the spring, but just decided that it wasn't the place for me in radio and slipped across the river to KRAD, the country music station in town and took the evening shift, 7pm till 11pm...actually to signoff at midnight, but there was a 1 hour interview show out of Nashville that filled in the last hour.

So in those first months, I had the great experience of sitting across the desk from this Jim Bollman guy and although our paths parted ways until 1996, we always knew each other and would bump into each other here and there.   I learned a lot from Jim in those months, about radio and about having a job, and about what was right and honorable!   What a hoot when almost 20 years later, he ends up back doing morning radio, and I'm doing my Cool Site-Pick of the Day program and we're back doing it together!    Then it was on KCNN and when KCNN merged with KNOX we moved to the same building, the same room, and most of the same equipment, that we had worked together on 2 decades before.

And now, can you believe, it's been almost 16 years of Jim and I spending some time together each morning.  He's been on the Grand Forks end while I've called in from over 28 US States, Canada, Mexico, over 100 days from Germany and more from all the surrounding countries.  When I flew out of the Grand Forks Air Force Base on a KC135 tanker to England and then on to Turkey and back to England and back home Jim was there at the controls.  When I spent a week in Israel and even was handed off to the Palestinians for 2 days, Jim was waiting to get my regular reports.  It's been a long and a good run.  But change is inevitable and so Jim has decided that his radio career that moved him to Grand Forks in 1967 must come to an end.  The big announcement comes tomorrow (Wednesday) and there will be festivities and events with the big climax on Monday July 30th, and Jim's last day on Tuesday July 31st.  I'll have more to say about all this in the coming days.  With today's media market such as it is, there will probably NEVER again be a career like this, anyplace!  Jim is one of a kind.  Stay tuned!

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