Sunday, December 28, 2008

Banned on KCSR

As far back as I can remember, I've been a big fan of Art Carney, the celebrated actor who portrayed Ed Norton in the Jackie Gleason Honeymooners television series.
Carney has been dead some 15 years, having died in 1993 at the age of 85. But many of us well remember his infectuous dialogue as Norton, the "underground sanitation expert," and some of us even remember his career as a singer.


Well, his recording Song of the Sewer was popular, but it just never quite made it big in northwest Nebraska. It's one of the few songs ever banned from KCSR Radio in Chadron. I do remember hearing the song on the station in the mid-to-late 1950s, but I also vividly recall it's being "banned" some time later.

Not a great piece of music, perhaps, but it was a snappy bit of satire that only Norton could pull off. What was all the fuss? Well, judge for yourself. Quite by accident, while surfing the web, I came across this version of Song of the Sewer.

Carney apparently professed to be nothing like Norton. I remember reading that Carney was wounded at Normandy during World War II and walked with a limp for the rest of his life. Like so many from that war, he came home and got on with his life -- and what a life it was!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Whatever happened to Dave Scherling?

Earlier this week, I was foraging through old newspapers in search of information about the first dial telephone system in Dawes County Nebraska. Like the first moving picture theatre in the county, it was located in Whitney, and I was looking for information that I could add to our Whitney Reflections website.

Unable to find the information I was looking for, I scrolled ahead and happened across the article shown here. It reported the May 6, 1954 sign-on of KCSR, the 250-watt radio station, whose offices were at 212 Bordeaux in Chadron.

It was fun reading the article. I remember all of the folks mentioned in the story, and I pretty much know where most of them went when they left Chadron -- except for announcer Dave Scherling.

Bob Fouse returned to Colorado, where he died many years ago. Bill Finch eventually went back to Colorado (Colorado Springs, I believe) and also hosted a big band program for the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service. I suspect he may have passed from our earth by now, but I don't know that for a fact. Ted Turpin ended up in Arizona, retired from the newspaper business, and is still there, as far as I know. Sherry Girmann married and moved, I believe, to Colorado.

So whatever happened to Dave Scherling? To be continued...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Congratulations, JT!

Congratulations are in order – again – for our good friend Jim Thompson, who received recognition this week (12/11/08) at the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas. Jim was tapped for the John Justin Standard of the West Committeeman of the Year award, recognizing his volunteer service over the years to the Deke Latham Rodeo in Kaycee, Wyoming.

Jim is a highly-talented broadcaster, whose skills transcend the rodeo arena public address system. Selected three times by his peers as South Dakota Sportscaster of the Year, Jim has also won accolades as a member of the South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame and the Black Hills Stock Show Hall of Fame.

Jim and I met some three years ago, after a mutual friend – Dean Sorenson – hooked us up. Karen and I had retired to Spearfish in 2004. Over breakfast, Jim and I discovered some things we had in common – we’d both worked for the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service while in the service, and we also worked for the same boss, Bob Thomas, in Nebraska. Now retired and living in Arizona, “BT” was the long-time General Manager of the “Beef Empire Stations” across Nebraska and Colorado. Jim worked for KVSH in Valentine, Nebraska, and I was on the staff at KCSR in Chadron.

Our love of broadcasting and journalism – as well as a shared interest in things “Dakota” – often brings Jim and I together at weekly coffee sessions in Spearfish with other like-minded folks. Retired newspaper publisher Curt Moberg from Sundance, Wyoming, retired Iowa State journalism prof Bill Kunerth from Belle Fourche, and writer Lorraine Collins of Spearfish, among others, often congregate to discuss the media and current events.

Occasionally, Jim asks me to substitute for him on his weekday regional radio program Live with Jim Thompson. Despite rusty pipes and a propensity for pushing the wrong buttons on the control board, I enjoy these opportunities, and I’m pleased that Jim asks me to do it.

It also gives me an opportunity to see the “working side” of Jim Thompson. He’s every bit as affable off the air as he is in front of a live microphone. His two terms in the South Dakota legislature helped nurture Jim’s political acumen, and he doesn’t suffer fools lightly. But I also find him courteous to a fault.

Like his awards, Jim’s interests are many and varied. We're delighted to see that he's added another well deserved recognition to his achievements. Congratulations, JT!