6 thoughts on “Needle Jockeys, Smokers Pay Up & Veteran Personality Returns

  1. The story about SRO (Sterling Recreational Organization) purchasing KALE-AM in the Tri-Cities (Pasco) being announced by Fred Danz and Rod Louden (head of SRO’s broadcast division, at the time) reminded me of the multiple times I crossed paths with Rod. I was hired by Rod in March, 1966 as Program Director of KASH in Eugene, OR. At the time, Rod was GM and doing the Morning Show as Rod “Friend Of The Family” Loudon. ~ Years after I’d already left KASH, Rod was hired by SRO in
    1968.
    Then, years later (1970) I was reconnected with Rod when I was at SRO Station KBFW-Bellingham. Rod sent me to Pasco to see if I’d like to be PD of KALE. Problem was, I liked living in B’ham too much. He also sent me to Kelso/Longview to see if I’d like to be the PD of the SRO station there. Same problem! Somewhere in there I became PD of KBFW and loved it!
    Meanwhile, Rod went from Seattle to the Tri-Cities where he continued with SRO then eventually moved to Denver, before retiring to Sun City West, AZ in 1986. Rod died in January, 2014 at 93 years old.

  2. Jay…I had missed that. Yes…that brings back memories. I only ever met Rod once, and I do not have warm and fuzzy memories of him. Also, was William Taft nicknamed “Sparky” Taft or is “Sparky” his son?

    1. Steven ~ My memories of Rod were not necessarily “warm ‘n fuzzy” either. When I chose to exit KASH-Eugene, it was partially because my personal relationship with Rod had soured. I’ve always felt he continually offering me Program Director positions because he somehow knew he had been more the “un-warm ‘n fuzzy” type at KASH and was attempting to shed some guilt & make it up to me. But in the end “he was who he was”.
      ••Can’t answer your “Sparky” question.

  3. KAYE eventually lost its license due to violation of the Fairness Doctrine, according to a 1974 article in the New York Times. The Fairness Doctrine was repealed during Reagan administration, paving the way for the one-sided news media we have now

  4. A friend in Washington forwarded this to me, and even though it’s a year later, some Rod Louden, etc. stuff might be helpful (or at least informative).

    I spent about 20 months, ending on October 24, 1969, at top-40 KASH in Eugene. I don’t recall exactly when Rod Louden, GM of the station, was hired away by SRO, but it was at least several months after I was hired (first as production manager, then music director was added) to do afternoon drive. When Rod left, he told me that he’d be calling at some point with an interesting offer. I didn’t hold my breath.

    My relationship with Rod was stiffish at best, but then that’s how it seemed with everyone at the station. The lack of “warm & fuzzy” certainly was not helped by the owner of the place, Erv Kincaid, with whom Rod shared a large office downstairs. There were two big desks facing each other, and when Erv showed up—he was there frequently but unpredictably—everything Rod did or said was open to a very critical audience. Imagine trying to negotiate on the phone with a potential client, and who would dare have anyone in for a meeting? No wonder Rod was gone frequently.

    (I earned Erv’s everlasting suspicion early on when I remarked how great it was that a farmhouse could have been converted so well to a radio station. He sharply advised me that it had been built according to his design to house the station. Something else of great interest, to me, anyway, was what I found poking around in the downstairs area. A closet, clearly long unused, housed a stack probably four feet high of original Sons of the Pioneers radio show discs. Not long thereafter, they were gone. I asked where they were. The janitor said he’d taken them to the land fill [quite literally right across the road] and chucked them in.)

    Rod’s call eventually did come after all, and on October 27, 1969, I found myself program director of top-40 KALE in the Tri-Cities. I don’t know if Mr. Taft was known as “Sparky,” but the GM at KALE, L.G. Dix, was universally known as “Sparky” Dix. I really didn’t get to “warm & fuzzy” with Rod in this new position, from which I concluded that this was not his personality. He at least did have huge black hair when I knew him.

    It used to be said that anyone in radio who had not been fired at least once just wasn’t trying. Well, the first of my two radio firings occurred on January 5, 1971, when a well lubricated Sparky Dix carried out his commission from Rod to inform me that due to “formatic changes” and “a reduction in force” (nice military touch there), my services were no longer required. An earlier post above illustrates Rod’s preparations for this. Naturally, no changes in format or reduction in staffing were at all evident, but it did work out for the best, at least for me.

    1. Thanks, Rick. I enjoy stories from fellow broadcasters, a glimpse into another radio station and the inner-workings. Similarities to other stations, other GMs and station personnel. For each name listed in the pages of this blog, there are stories. Everyone is welcome to share their memories.

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