Tahoe Pine Nuts: Back when radio was king
Thirty years ago we had a radio station in our little village, KLKT. We were the mouse that roared, and because I was lucky enough to have the morning shift, I got to tell the kids whether to go to school or not on Snow Days.
Our superintendent made the call, and parents were instructed to listen to KLKT at 6:15am for a thumbs up or down. But the kids all thought I made the decision, which brought me immeasurable esteem. Whenever I went shopping at the Village Market I would be accosted by kids.
“Mr. McAvoy, do we have to go to school tomorrow? Please say no!”
“We’ll see how I feel, I’ll let you know in the morning.”
“Please, Mr. McAvoy, make it a Snow Day!”
“We’ll see, but get your homework done just in case.”
A parent told me he overheard his son share with a schoolmate, “That’s the guy who tells us whether to go to school or not. If I had his job we would never have to go to school.”
I’ve had a 40-year-old parent come up to me and exclaim, “I remember hanging on our kitchen radio, hoping you would tell us it was a Snow Day, and that we could go skiing instead of going to school. And when you said ‘Snow Day,’ I wanted to send you my lunch money.”
To give you an idea of how small and tight our village was back then, let me share with you this recollection…
The affable Jim Nadeau was our Sheriff when I lived up on the golf course and used to ride my bike to work before dawn. On particularly cold mornings I would coast down Northwood at a pretty good clip and cross the highway with my hands in my pockets.
Well, one morning while fielding an answer to a sports trivia question on the radio, the contestant, who was calling from the Paddlewheel, added, “Oh, and Sheriff Nadeau asked us to pass along a word of advice.”
“And what might that word be from Incline’s finest?” I asked.
“When you cross Highway 28 on your bicycle in the morning at thirty miles an hour without stopping, put your hands on the damn handlebars!”
On another dark morning, news director Buffalo Bob Delano thought he would pull his car up alongside of me on my bike to bid good morning. Seeing Bob’s headlights careening toward me, I mistook him for a drunk driver and swerved off the road to save my skin, executing a forward somersault in the bargain. I tore my sport coat in three places, but was otherwise none the worse for the wear.
When Buffalo Bob delivered his first sports report that morning he announced, “McAvoy Layne completed a full somersault off his bicycle on the way to work this morning. He got 8’s from four judges, but the Russian judge gave him a 2.”
Slip a little brandy in Buffalo Bob’s coffee in the morning and he could make a cast iron dog laugh…
Learn more about McAvoy Layne at http://www.ghostoftwain.com.
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