Students and volunteers at KDVS have witnessed some incredible and unique moments over decades at the station. While collecting research for our main story, “On The Radio,” alumni shared some great stories that we thought warranted the extra space.
Elisa Hough ’08
At Picnic Day we would have a float in the parade. One year our general manager got a small blimp. We painted KDVS on it and built a gondola to go underneath it. Because I was probably the smallest person working at the station, I got to ride in the gondola during the parade. That memory stands out, partially because it rained the entire time. As it was parked outside Freeborn on Picnic Day, apparently unattended, someone cut the lines attaching it to the gondola. Our news director spotted it flying over Woodstock’s that evening, and our general manager had to contact the city, the county, and the FAA to let them know a large flying object was on the loose.
Paul Robins (Collins) ’87, ’95, M.S. ’95
[I remember] attempting to tell my life story through music for my ‘farewell’ show before going abroad as a volunteer post-graduation. A number of DJs did ‘farewell’ shows (top 25s, etc), but I made mine autobiographical. May have been my most inspired (but very long — four-plus hours) show. I actually got callers asking me how I would turn out because they had to stop listening and go to work/class. I didn't get too many callers for my show usually.
Stephen Robinson ’78
[I interviewed] Bill Monroe! The father of bluegrass. He played the Coffee House. I’m a bluegrass banjo player, so I’m talking to God. He was just a gentleman. After the interview I said, “Can I play you a song I wrote?” So I did. I played him a banjo song I had written called “Owl’s Crossing,” named after a place in Missouri. And he said something I will never forget: “Son, you come to the Grand Ole Opry and you can play with me.” And he passed away before I ever did that. The biggest regret in my whole life.
Dave Webb ’79
I remember when people wouldn’t do their shows, as program director, I’d have to go down and cover their show. At 2 in the morning, you’d get the call, “Hi, Dave, I’m really sorry to bother you but the jock didn’t show up for the shift.” They’d call us at home and wake up all the roommates.
Paul McClure ’84
While we were doing the station makeover [around 1983], we needed to get rid of an old refrigerator. In the middle of my show, I mentioned that the first person to run over to KDVS and claim the fridge would be the new owner. Within 15 minutes no fewer than 10 people ran through the door. It was exciting to know there were people listening. It appeared the classic rock format had a big appeal at the fraternity houses close to campus as it seemed as though every one of them were represented running into the station.
Robyne Fawx ’10
Back in the ’90s, lightning hit by the MU and the power went out with a bang. The station went pitch black, and no emergency lights came on. And then it came on with such a surge that it turned on all three turntables. And then it went off again. The chief engineer said, turn the transmitter off. I told the listeners, went through the whole script for turning it off. And then I called one of the DJs and I said, “Ben, tell me when the storm is over.” Because I was in the basement, completely alone.
Richard Hicks ’04
I ended up interviewing Pauly Shore one time out of happenstance. He and his representatives called up the station one day and he was doing a press tour through California for a movie. They wanted to know if anyone wanted to interview him. They suggested me, and I met Pauly Shore in a parking garage at UC Davis and taking him back to the station for an interview. It was an hourlong bizarre interview.
Karen Eller Ha ’92
My favorite [memory] is when Micah Brenner called me and Kathryn, my co-host, telling us we were supposed to be on the air — this was our very first show. We both were off a day, not taking into account the new day started at 12 a.m. Apparently that happened to a lot of people! Kathryn had the brilliant idea of doing a “rock block show,” meaning we played three songs off an album in a row so we could scramble around and gather the next record to play.
John Nelson ’88
There was an innocent day when we’re thinking about what to do for the program guide. In radio, there’s always this feeling that we are behind a microphone. We don’t really interact with the public. What if people really saw us for who we are? I still remember dropping trou in a living room and walking into the backyard [where we took the photo]. Once we were all nude, it became a bonding ritual. Photos were taken. I always say that two weeks later a stack of program guides got dumped on my desk at KDVS. It took about a half hour before someone from ASUCD called me at the station.