Radio Days

Posted: Monday, March 2, 2009 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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It’s a long drive between Sioux Falls and Phoenix..lots of time to spend listening to the radio.  For some reason, (I can’t imagine why) Linda and I enjoy the oldies stations best. We must not be the only ones because no sooner would we drive out of one station’s signal range than we’d press the scan button and find another. Besides the old music, near every one also carried something else old and familiar; Paul Harvey News and Commentary. I couldn’t help but notice on our trip this time that the great communicator’s voice, while still clear and steady, wasn’t quite as powerful as it once was.  What hadn’t changed, though, was his method of delivery; filled with those famous pauses to keep listeners hanging onto his every word..waiting for a poignant point..a chuckle or an ironic twist.  He applied the same techniques to the many commercials he narrated..coming very close on more than one occasion to selling me a Bose acoustic wave machine.Time Magazine photoI got to thinking about how different radio is going to be when  Paul Harvey is no longer a part of it.  Little did I realize we would have to find out so soon.  The 90 year old broadcast legend’s voice fell silent over the weekend. I know not everyone always appreciated Mr. Harvey’s folksy midwest manner or his rather conservative points of view, but few can dispute the man’s ability to hold a radio audience through skills honed over more than 60 years behind the microphone.Speaking of radio legends, I spent some time with three of them last week. Joe Morrison, one of the original voices on KXRB, and still there, asked if I’d like to come on his morning program to chat for awhile. Joe, whose mind is like a country music encyclopedia, tried himself to retire a couple years ago but just couldn’t stay away from the profession he’s loved for so long. Well, we managed to zip through the better part of an hour sharing radio and TV stories with his listeners. While in the studios, I also got the chance to catch up with my longtime pal, KXRB news director, Jerry Dahmen. Jerry has won just about every broadcasting award the industry has to offer..several times! He spent 17 years at WSM in Nashville rubbing elbows with and interviewing all the stars of country music. He has also written two books and recorded a couple CD’s based on his long running radio series, “I Love Life” in which he tells the stories of people who’ve overcome all sorts of obstacles life has put in their path. With Joe Morrison (left) and Jerry Dahmen (right) of KXRB radio.Later that day I was on the air with Grant Peterson during his “Great Afternoon Smorgasbord” program over KBRK radio in Brookings. Grant has been doing radio since 1959 and is a big hit especially with “seasoned” listeners. Like Paul Harvey, Grant does his own commercials and also possesses the unique ability to make you feel like you absolutely must have whatever product he happens to be pitching.
Both Joe Morrison and Grant Peterson gave me a chance to talk on the air about my involvement as a board of director’s member in the South Dakota Rock and Roll Music Association and Hall of Fame.  Big things are happening with that new organization including our first induction ceremony Sunday May 24th at the old Arkota Ballroom..the El Riad Shrine Mosque..just across the street from Keloland Television at 14th and Phillips downtown Sioux Falls. The other big news is that the Washington Pavilion has agreed to provide a special space on the second floor for the Hall of Fame which will have all sorts of memorabilia on display from South Dakota’s rock and roll music history including musical instruments, band posters and rare recordings. To find out more about the ceremony and this year’s inductees or to share a South Dakota rock and roll story or two, check out hall of fame website by clicking here.

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