I don't remember listening to the radio much as a youngster. Dad had an extensive LP collection and loved all genres of music, so when we listened to music, we listened to those.
But, in 1968, I did have an AM transistor radio, a Christmas gift that year if I remember correctly, and I listened to it for as long as the battery lasted.
Late one night, suffering from a rare bout of adolescent insomnia, I discovered the power music has to influence our thoughts and emotions when Bobby Goldsboro's recording of "Honey" came on the air. My heart fairly broke as the drama unfolded through the lyrics. On the extremely rare occasions when it makes the airwaves while I'm listening, I still sing along and I still choke up.
Over the years, we've occasionally done without a television set (we didn't even get cable until moving to Nebraska in 1997), but we have always had a radio. I remember "discovering" Paul Harvey over the noon hour when Danny would come home for lunch from his job at Fremont Beverages in Worland, Wyoming.
And, driving through the hinterlands of Wyoming late at night exposed us to talk radio when the traditional stations would fade out. Once I was driving a friend to Cheyenne late one night and we happened upon a comedian who was performing a hilarious "duct tape" sketch, completely cracking us up. It was a welcome respite from grief; we were going to Cheyenne to bury her mother.
When I worked in child nutrition, the traditional lunch hour was anything but traditional. Many times, I would spend the time between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., dealing with lunchtime crises at any of the eight schools that made up Brighton Public School District 27J at the time. In fact, some days were spent racing from site to site, delivering celery to one school and more hamburger buns to another.
The car radio was always on. And from 12:30 - 1 p.m., it was on a call-in Christian radio program that dealt with the human condition. A dutiful employee, as soon as I arrived at my next emergency stop, I'd shut the car off and head into the school kitchen, regretfully forgoing the next segment of the program.
That's the frustrating thing about radio. If you miss it, it's gone. They don't do reruns.
(The fact that radio typically doesn't do reruns caused me no small amount of embarrassment back in 1974 when I heard a portion of a radio broadcast dealing with an influenza virus involving hamsters. Since Danny and I had hamsters, Mutt and Jeff by name, I was concerned and called the deejay for more information. He was very helpful and went over the information over and over again, because I just wasn't getting it. As he repeated the symptoms, headache, fever, body aches, etc., for at least the third time, I countered plaintively, "But how can you tell if a hamster has a headache?" My co-workers at Diners Club were stunned to silence as they eavesdropped on the entire conversation.)
Three of my granddaughters, Haili, Maddy and Harley, were somewhat disappointed to discover that in less than state-of-the-art broadcast studios, there isn't even a recording of the live broadcast available, let alone reruns. This revelation followed their radio debut during my vacation when the station manager at KNGN 1360 AM, Adam Spanier, interrupted regular programming to introduce them to the listening audience. They thoroughly enjoyed the experience. (A new audio mixer will bring the station closer to that possibility in the coming days. Alas, too little, too late for "my girls." Maybe they'll be invited back next year.)
I have discovered, however, that missing "the rest of the story" isn't always a bad thing. The segments I missed due to those lunchtime emergencies drove me to delve more deeply into the subject at hand, providing the impetus for me to do some serious soul-searching. That lead to some serious soul-stretching, an exercise I will always be grateful for, though at the time it caused no small amount of heartbreak and tears.
That experience also is what compels me to continue writing this column and to continue my limited involvement in radio broadcasting weekdays, a little past 1 p.m., on KNGN 1360 AM. Thanks to Adam's support, the station offers this week's column on the subsequent Wednesday and previously published columns the rest of the week, Monday through Friday. The segments will be complete with on air discussions beginning next week as Adam and I revisit the columns inspired by the Sept. 11 attacks. And, for those unopposed to reruns, Adam also will be providing the archived audio links for the Gazette website and transcripts will be accessible on KNGN's website at www.kngn.org.
If one snippet, one sentence, one word of encouragement touches a single heart and turns it toward home, then it will all have been worthwhile.
"How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?" Romans 10:14 (NIV)
I don't have all the answers, but I know the One who does. Let's walk together for awhile and discover Him; together.