Nov 15, 2005

Good Old Eugene Radio Days

I ran into two former college instructors of mine at the League of Oregon Cities conference in Eugene this weekend. Ken Strobeck, Executive Director of the League, and Tom Lichty, Editor of the Damascus/Boring Observer, were radio broadcasting instructors at Lane Community College in the 1970's. They were both also radio personalities on KUGN in Eugene.

At Saturday's conference Strobeck reminded me he was the originator of KUGN's traffic "rabbit", which I had forgotten about. He would drive around in a VW rabbit giving traffic reports.

Strobeck said the airplanes he did fly in for traffic reporting were so loud that the pilot would shut down the engine and go into a glide so Strobeck's traffic report could be heard on the radio. He explained this was why his traffic reports were so short- it was terrifying to be in a steep glide when the engine was off! Lichty and Strobeck both said many of the traffic "reports" they broadcast originated from the local watering hole and not from the air or on the road..

When I told them I always wondered about the need for air traffic reports in Eugene, Lichty said that during one broadcast he referred to Eugene's rush "minute" during his broadcast, and was warned by the station manager to never refer to Eugene's rush hour by the "minute" description EVER again.

I am sure neither Lichty or Strobeck remembered me from their classes 30 years ago.. I was one of the many first year broadcasting students who sat way up in the nosebleed seats, doing our best to stay awake for those early morning lectures. But it was still good to talk to them.

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