Thursday, January 12, 2012

Small Town Radio Quirks

They say "Love is Blind", and I'm here to testify that sometimes it's deaf, too.  When my husband first moved me up to this mountain as a young bride, I was in a bit of a culture shock. The first time we drove around looking for houses, I specifically remember thinking that this town had some of the most "Podunk" radio stations I'd ever heard.  In fact, my brother once told me that our radio stations were a full decade "behind the times".

My response: "You get used to it!"

But now I'm more than just "used to it".  Now, I love them. Now, I find them familiar, fun, and dare I say...comforting.

They are LOADED with hilarious quirks.

Did you know that elk outnumber people in my town, seven to one? We have a local car dealer who advertises religiously on our radio, and he is well aware of this fact, too.  Apparently on our mountain, we buy vehicles based on how well they fare in head-on collisions with elk.  Accidents involving elk can be serious or even deadly.  These animals  can stand 5 feet tall at the shoulder and can weigh over a 1000 lbs.  A city dealership would never take the "elk collision" angle, but our guys know their demographics, and they know their market. Between every 3 songs, there is a car advertisement with real live "testimonials" of people who have had elk accidents and survived to tell the tale.

Here's an example of one of the commercials. (Names have been changed to protect the innocent.)

"It was late one night and I was driving home. I was going fast and there were two elk in the road.  I swerved to miss the first one, but I hit the second one head-on.  The truck was totaled but I walked away with no injuries.  I was so impressed that I'll never drive anything else again.  My name is Ruby Sue and I drive a Toyota Tundra."

Yep. True story.

And another thing:

I find it fascinating that our small town has room for not one, but TWO country stations.  Yes sir, we're hicks who love our western music.  But even among country fans, there is discord in the ranks.  That is why both stations have designated hours to play country oldies.  One station has an afternoon show called "Country Classics with Cindy" and the other station has the "My Kind of Country"  radio show once a week where folks call in and request the golden oldies from Hank, Willie, and Patsy Cline. The show always ends with the classic,"Happy Trails".

This reminds me of the timeless church war that all congregations have with the older folks insisting on singing only the old hymns, and the young whipper snappers wanting modern worship tunes.  I guess the battle has leaked over into the secular side as well with country music.

All I have to say is, "Can't we all just get along?"

We also have this daily show at lunch that my husband is addicted to.  It's called "Tradio".  It's basically an on-air yard sale where people call in to sell their junk.  The men-folk LOVE it. During lunch break on the mountain, men huddle around the radio in their work trucks and tune in while eating their sandwiches.

Here's a glimpse of how it goes:

DJ-"Hello, You're on Tradio!"

Caller- "Um yes, I've got a 1974 Ford Bronco up on blocks...needs a little work and a set of tires.  I'm asking $750 or best offer on that.  I'd also trade for a bass boat in good condition.  While I'm at it, I've got an old  Stihl chain saw, a rototiller, and a winch...all in pretty good shape.  I'm askin' $300 for the package deal. If you're interested, call Bill at 555-1234.  Thank ya."

Every day, my son or my husband approaches me with a "smokin' deal" that he heard about on "Tradio".

Unless you're hiding under a rock, you'll also know exactly when hunting season rolls around in our town. The radio is flooded with advertisements for this year's "must-have" supplies including bows, rattler bags, camouflage, some substance called deer cocaine, and elk urine in a bottle from our one and only archery shop. I don't shoot a bow, but if I ever did, I've been influenced enough by local radio into thinking that I must buy the "Matthews Solo- Cam" for optimal hunting performance.  Now I know why every hunting season costs us an arm and a leg!  The men in my house are bombarded with advertisements that make them feel as if their hunting supplies are inferior, and they will be unprepared without the newest things on the market.

Anyway, whether it's a group of lady DJ's chatting about the day's lunch special at the diner, or the local Forest Service giving the latest fire conditions, or the Girl Scouts advertising their canned food drive, or the Rotary Club having a pancake breakfast, our radio is loaded with informative tid- bits for folks who live on this mountain.

Our stations aren't perfect, but they're filled with small town charm.... and that's why I'll continue to tune in regularly.


  1. Haha! I love it! We have 'Tradio' too!!! :) I'm pretty sure being a decade behind on country music wouldn't bother me one bit, I don't hardly listen to this, 'new fangled' stuff they call country anymore.

  2. That's awesome! I remember visiting my grandparents ranch when I was a kid and always hearing on the radio (besides country music, of course)the cattle market prices and good old Paul Harvey :-)