5/31/87–Ad-lib time; Say something funny

An awards ceremony that saluted radio commercials was staffed by local radio personalities, the folks whose voices you hear between all those commercials. The duty for the evening was to ad-lib something funny and rip open those envelopes.
Some remarks may have been memorable; most were not. Nobody probably expected any to be written down. Welcome to Surprise Column.

The awards event was a treat for the personalities. They got to meet each other, not an easy thing for competitors to do. Also, on their radio shows they have to relate to all listeners. Here, they could play on insider knowledge of the business.

Pat O’Day, for instance, joked that presenters were scheduled in inverse order to their winter cumes.

In his evangelical opening remarks, O’Day described the night as “the pinnacle of appropriateness.”

One of the presenters, Chet Rogers of KNBQ, reminded diners that last year, he had noted half the people on one side of the hall once worked for half the people on the other side. In an involved statistical update from last year’s banquet, Rogers said that half of those on the other side have since fired half of those on this side, and “25 percent of those on that side are selling real estate.”

Gary Lockwood of KJR introducing a KJR colleague who didn’t even attend the event: “Does a person who ran a pet store in Puyallup qualify to be an afternoon disc jockey at KJR?” Lockwood asked.

Lockwood said Ross Shafer had an idea for a station promotion, “the KJR Haunted Manger.” Stacey Hanson, KJR’s traffic reporter, graciously stood in for Shafer.

This reminded O’Day that someday he expects a UFO flyby to see why “the I-90 bridge is better” and to witness “the usual slowdown in the S curves.”

Charlie Brown of KUBE said he wished there were an ad-lib humor category so he could enter snappy lines from Jeff King, a former morning personality on KPLZ. (King’s jokes were particularly unfunny last year.)

When J Michael Kenyon of KING-AM lumbered on stage with Larry Nelson of KOMO, Kenyon seemed stunned by facing both live audience and microphone. Patently befuddled, he grasped for the ultimate radio saver: “Let’s give away $10,000.”

As 26 presenters bumbled on, Ichabod Caine of KMPS-AM-FM confessed that as a morning-show host, he was one of those who were asleep, head-down in the cheesecake. To perk things up, Caine proposed to Alec Darby of KKFX: “Shall we do that `Ebony and Ivory’ routine we practiced?”

Speaking of proposals, Jack Ehrig, an ad-agency president, drew some of his remarks from a Joe Miller jokebook. “I proposed to my wife Gloria in a garage, and I couldn’t back out,” he said.

Alan Budwill of KPLZ described himself as “another success story for the Pat O’Day Announcing School for Young Boys.”

Budwill remarked, “It’s cold enough in here to hang meat.”

As Gary Crow and Mike West of KXRX scanned nominees for station-produced promos, West pointed to an entry: “Hey, we used to work there!” Later, as he ripped open the award envelope, he said with relief: “Thank God it wasn’t KISW.”

Phil Strider of KZOK said he had a proposal better than a new super-size FM tower on Capitol Hill. “Everybody at Table 11 hold up your silverware _ and stay that way until the environmental-impact study is complete.”


– Scott Thunder, morning personality at KCMS, and Suzanne Strickland, news reporter at the station, were married May 23. “I guess we have been flirting on the air since December,” Strickland said.

Author: Victor Stredicke

Former radio columnist for the Seattle Times (1964-1989). --- View other articles by Victor Stredicke

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