Working The Gnat Shift At Kountry KAYO

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On October 4, 1971, I was filling in on KAYO for Don Lane, from 8:00 P.M. until midnight. Our control room was at the back of the building and had big windows that swung open wide. Listeners would drop by and visit. It being a summer night, there were bugs flying around too.

I was reading a live spot and took a breath – something was in my throat and I coughed. I choked, “I think I inhaled a gnat!”

Two days later, there was a package in my mail. A couple of guys listening at work sent me a custom made Gnat Trap. I’ve carried this prized possession with me ever since that night forty-nine years ago.




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Author: Dick Ellingson

Aging gratefully with my dogs in a little country town. Parcel post crusher; blood'n'guts laundry serf; parking lot fender bender/bumper jumper; Lazy B flunkie with 7-word job title; P-I down crew; bobtail trucker; Sunbeam breader; retail store mangler; bothersome boiler roomie; fake real estate agent; d.j./copywriter/p.d./ripper/reader - 600 KGEZ Good Advertising, Kalispell; Community Radio 1510 KURB, Mountlake Terrace; 1540 News and Music/92.5 Solid Gold Rock and Roll KFKF, Bellevue; 1150 Kountry KAYO #1 Gun for Radio Fun, Seattle; 1300 KoMPaSs Radio 13 Modern Country, Seattle; 1360 KLFF Good Music and Great Memories, Glendale/Phoenix; 106.3 Concert 106 KONC, Sun City/Phoenix; 1580 KCWW Real Country Network, Tempe/Phoenix. Volunteer P-I/Times news reader for Evergreen Radio Reading Service at the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library, Seattle; dotcomboom stock trader; King County Metro Bus Driver; Seattle Streetcar Operator. Now taking it easy on rockin' chair money! View other articles by Dick Ellingson

7 thoughts on “Working The Gnat Shift At Kountry KAYO

  1. Dick ~ I’ve worked a number of different music formats, but it was absolutely only Country Music radio listeners who would go out of their way to actually “make” me a gifts (ie: ceramic coffee mugs with my name & the station logo, etc.). Like you, I treasured those gifts and still have most of them.
    Your Knat Trap & the personalized box it came in, however, certainly would top anybody’s list of such paraphernalia.

  2. Jay,

    That box holds every memory of KAYO that I kept, just the things where listeners shared a bit of their lives with me or expressed honest approval of the work I did. Fan letters? Ugh!!

    One young lady wrote a song about me and sent me the sheet music with the lyrics. It was to the tune of “Something Stupid”. Yep, I still have it.

    1. With (especially, Country Music) radio fans, the one thing I never really got used to, while doing personal appearances for the stations, were those who asked for my autograph. I would, of course, fulfill their request … but it just seemed so odd that anyone would want “my” autograph. And for me, that idea was compounded even further because the signature they walked away with wasn’t even my “real” name.

      1. When I became full-time at KAYO, I was put into the rotation of hosting our concerts at the Opera House (a $25 gig paid by Jack Roberts) and my first was with Dolly Parton. Afterward, Dolly came down front to sign autographs and I stood there with her. A lady asked me for mine and I actually asked her why in the world she would want it. I signed her program but I was kind of embarrassed because I never considered myself a star or celebrity. But it was my real name.

    1. Espirit d’corp! ??? Buck, Bashful and Dick spoke French? Those were some sophisticated yokels!

  3. And why not, Jason? After all, Bash was born in Paris and it was to Paris that he returned, and I don’t mean Kentucky, Missouri, Texas or Tennessee.

    And Bruce, what were you thinking of, the cadavers’ Halloween party? The annual spree d’corpses?

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