A Ghastly Halloween Ad from KPUG

This Puget Sound Media reporter wishes to acknowledge Halloween from the northwest corner of Washington State. This themed radio spot, dating back about 25 years, is just the ticket. Our Halloween story involves Bellingham radio legend Dick Stark.

Dick’s radio career, based on stability and longevity, was down right spooky. He spent more years at KPUG-AM/KAFE-FM than anyone else ever — hired in 1962 and he retired in 2018. Wow, that was 56 years at one radio job. Dick worked as an announcer, in sales and production, in management and ownership, and he evolved into a prominent sportscaster of statewide renown.  If you add in Dick’s pre-KPUG time at radio station KENY, he has a 58 year history in Bellingham radio.

Dick has never been a lollygagger.  In the sixties, when I was a kid, Dick owned speaker cars with bullhorns mounted on top. They were driven around downtown Bellingham — blasting out music and announcements of upcoming local events such as dances and concerts. (This all dates back long before any municipal noise laws were enacted.)  During KPUG’s rock & roll years, Dick was involved in promoting teen dances. Another of his business ventures was Stark’s TV & Video. Back when all of us used to run out and rent VHS videos, Stark’s was a popular place to find a large selection of movies and electronics. As we know, big box stores, with their cheap electronics, followed by Netflix and finally online streaming put an end to that type of local business.

Stark TV staff and owner. Dick behind the dog at the right. Store manager Stan Burpee behind the dog at the left. Far right Dale Koranda. Far left Ward Stark, Dick’s son.

The Stark’s commercial featured here was produced at KPUG. The musically inclined talent is Marty Rowe. This was produced several years later, but I worked with Marty in 1974 when he was P.D. at KPUG. Marty was capable and clever: I wish I had a copy of his self-produced morning drive show intro. That was the era of Harry Chapin and the song WOLD. Marty created a jingle of his own — “I am the morning deejay on KPUG-G-G-G-G-G-G.”  It was very funny and professionally done. He is now the owner and operator of KOHI-AM,  Saint Helens, Oregon.

Marty Rowe (on the left in recent photo) conducting a live interview on his radio station KOHI. In ’74 he had darker and longer hair!

The “radio announcer” voice on the commercial is the late Terry Allen, who spent many years at KPUG as news director, a sportscaster and in sales. Terry worked Yakima radio as well. Dick says that all creative credit for this spot goes to Marty and Terry.  By the way, if anyone out there has a photo of Terry Allen, please send it to Puget Sound Media for our future use.

Stark’s TV Halloween Spot (Marty Rowe & Terry Allen)


Click on the names below to read about these broadcasters who were popular in Bellingham and Whatcom County, including nearby Canadian legend Red Robinson:

Danny Holiday (KPUG)
Dick Stark (KENY & KPUG) 
Kirk Wilde (KPUG)
Gary Shannon (KPUG)
Mike Forney (KPUG)
Jay Hamilton (KPUG & KBFW)
Bob O’Neil & Marc Taylor (KPUG)

John Christopher Kowsky (KPUG)
Haines Faye & Rogan Jones (KVOS & KGMI)
Tom Haveman (KENY & KVOS)
Red Robinson (Vancouver B.C.)

Author: Steven Smith

Presently editor and historical writer with QZVX.COM in Seattle. Former radio broadcaster and radio station owner, 1970-1999. Journalism and speech communications degrees. I enjoy researching articles and online reporting that allows me to meld together words, audio and video. P.S. I appreciate and encourage reader comments and opinions. View other articles by Steven Smith

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