Friday, April 21, 2006

Reno X. Nevada

This posting about RENO X. NEVADA was transferred from the original thread from May 2005, at the now-defunct Freeform Radio Forum.

If you've got any personal memories of Reno, please add a comment at the bottom of this post...



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FCC VISIT


There was so much "right" about the sounds KFML bounced off the Rocky Mountains in those days that it seemed inevitable they would collide with the Federal Government at some point.

Unannounced, an inspector from the Federal Communications Commission's Denver office knocked on the studio doors one early morning.

It would have created chaos whenever it came. But the urgent murmurs amid helpless scurrying to make the place presentable were only compounded by the fact the FCC had chosen to "inspect" on the shift that extended from past the midnight hour to the break of dawn.

Reno X. Nevada's shift.

Reno's hoarse, cigarette-burnished voice wasn't heard over the nervous, "No! You don't say! Well, I certainly will look into it..." replies heard from the office of station owner Joe McGoey.

The KFML support staff, the secretary outside that office and a young woman who logged the commericals in traffic did their best to appear calm and, in doing so, looked guilty as hell.

It wasn't that anyone thought something might have been amiss during the FCC inspection of the premises.

Hell, no. Everyone suspected that everything was wrong. There were endless possibilities. Frightening possibilities that would, could, should lead to the shutdown of KFML, we thought.

Reno was inside the control room, putting albums spun overnight back in order in the library. Calm, cool and collected.

"What's going on?" I asked.

"Oh, the FCC surprised me...came knocking on the door at dawn," he said. It was accompanied by a nervous laugh that Reno tucked beneath a tight grin that flashed his dentures. It was embellished with a quick, wide-eyed stare beneath arched brows.

"The first thing he wanted to see were the logs," said Reno. Damn, I thought, those certainly weren't up to date...at least not on Reno's shift.

When I asked about that, Reno said "Oh, yeah they were up to date allright. I filled them all out when I got here last night."

"Whew!" I said, "Well, that's unbelievable! You had them up to date?"

"Well, actually, said Reno, laughing quietly at first until the grimace started being interuppted by spittle flying between his teeth. The laugh gave way to Reno's trademark coughing as the fallout from a couple of packs of Marlboro's interrupted.

"...I had them filled out all the way through 8 o'clock!"

Uh, that would have been transmitter readings miraculously entered on the log 3 hours before they should have been taken.

"Oh, did he threaten to suspend your Third Class Radio Operator's License?" I asked.

"Nah," said Reno.

"After about an hour of him snooping around here it was obvious there was so much ELSE wrong with this place," Reno smiled, "he forgot about it!"

...


Reno has gone to that great, free-form place in the sky some years ago. But his friends still remember him. From San Francisco to the Rockies, he carved out his own niche in the music, and the memories of radio that are repeated in stories to this day.

I was only 22 or 23, full of ideas and energy but eager to hear of Reno's vast experience, er exploits, in the field.

He just always seemed to know the right way to get the point across while maintaining the liklihood he would survive, unscathed.

Riding alongside me in my tattered old VW, he spotted a police car and said urgently: "I'll yell 'HEY!" and you give 'em the finger!"
_________________
Jim Clancy
former KFML Newsman

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I WOULD LIKE TO THANK JIM CLANCY FOR THIS KIND REQUEST TO HAVE PEOPLE WHO KNEW RENO GIVE THE MAN HIS DUE RESPECT.

I AM PROUD TO SAY THAT I WAS HIS FRIEND. LIKE MOST PEOPLE I GO MY OWN WAY, NOT THINKING OF OLD FRIENDS THAT OFTEN AND REGRET AFTER IT'S TOO LATE.

I MET RENO IN 1946 WHEN WE [were] BOTH 9 YEARS OLD IN "THE CITY". I SPENT A FEW NIGHTS WITH HIM AT KMPX AND KSAN AND HIS IDEA OF WHAT WAS FUNNY, WAS HIM HANDING ME THE STOCK MARKET REPORT AND POINTING AT ME, SAYING "YOUR ON " FLIPPED THE SWITCH AND WATCH ME TRY AND BLUFF IT OUT. TALK OF PANIC!

JIM CLANCY, RENO AND MYSELF I AM PROUD TO SAY WERE ROOMMATES IN MILL VALLEY IN THE EARLY 70'S... [Although Reno worked at KMPX and KSAN, there is] ALMOST NOTHING WRITTEN ABOUT RENO [at the Jive95 Website (KMPX and KSAN Archive Website). I hope this changes in the future, as no story about San Francisco or Denver radio would be complete without Reno.]

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Who doesn't have a memory or 6 of Reno X. Nevada, of the infamous Hursh gang. One is particular comes to mind. One evening as I was stumbling toward oblivion (as usual) on my 6-10P shift at KFML, Reno appeared. He seemed to be on a mission and he was. He seemed to think it was time for me to take a vacation from the mess that KFML was becoming, so He and I began playing every song that celebrated the F Bomb that we could think of. There were actually more than I realized. We culminated this unabashed hootenanny with the Mother of all F Bomb Tributes, Nilsson's 'You're Breaking My Heart, You're Tearing it Apart so.........". That was one of several "last shifts" that I pulled at KFML. I always loved Reno and his brother, Buffalo and now I guess I especially do.

Bill Ashford

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RENO'S PARKING TICKETS

Another Reno story from Jim Clancy:


Reno told me the story of having gotten a parking ticket a DAY while
working at KSAN.

He got caught.

He came up before the judge who said something to the effect of $1500 or 30 days in jail. Reno replied, "I'll take the jail time, your honor,
I've never made that much in a month!"

I'm sure there are plenty of KSAN people who could weigh in. As noted,
I can't remember whether it was Reno or Buffalo that fell asleep at KFML
on the early shift and the police broke down the glass doors to get into
the building, only to discover them sleeping on the floor.

Jim
_________________

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SLEEPING ON THE FLOOR

I can't speak to the sleeping thing at KFML, but I do remember when Trunnel, Burke, Mitchell, Don Bridges and I went full time at KMYR. The studios were located in office space, 2nd floor of the old Villa Italia Shopping Center. Great place to be a hippie. One of us got punched out at the lunch counter and another got screamed at in the donut shop by some hysterical woman who was convinced the length of the hair equated with the depth of the war. Jefferson County Sheriff's deputies used to put us on the wall and search us at night on the way into the shopping center. They finally stopped when Craig Bowers called the sheriff and complained.

Anyway, Craig called me at 3 in the morning one night and said I had to go to the station right away. Why? asked I. Apparently the sheriffs office listened to us and called Bowers, concerned that Bridges might have killed himself.

The inside groove to the British Sgt. Pepper lp was playing over and over and they were certain the Boys were chanting over and over..."it's the only way out". What am I supposed to do? Go see if he hanged himself of something, sez Craig. Great. So off I went. Deputies waiting outside, where they stayed. I went upstairs, unlocked the door and found Bridges sleeping in the studio. Probably a crash from being up for a week. He started another record. Everybody went home or where ever. End of story.

Bill

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Oops, I left Kreizenbeck off the KMYR staff list. Unforgivable.

jclancy-kfml
Intern

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Where is Brian?

The last I heard he married a Polish girl and was living there.

Brian was great. Creative and always entertaining. But that went for you, Bill, Thom and the rest of the gang as well.

I wish corporations were banned from owning media. Both the employees and the audience would enjoy it more.
_________________
Jim Clancy
former KFML Newsman

Monday, April 10, 2006

Bill Ashford's Top 10

A while back, someone posted a comment asking Bill for his Top 10 All Time Albums. It took him a while, but Bill zero'd in and recently wrote (Thanks, Bill!):

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OK,it's gotten silly, at some point you just have to stop and claim. So, for the time being, knowing that at least 6 of these will stand for all time with me, here is the list I'd take with me today.

EXILE ON MAINSTREET ROLLING STONES
STICKY FINGERS ROLLING STONES
RUBBER SOUL BEATLES
BLOOD ON THE TRACKS BOB DYLAN
LAYLA & OTHER LOVE SONGS DEREK & THE DOMINOES
BLUE JONI MITCHELL
HOTEL CALIFORNIA EAGLES
AFTER THE GOLDRUSH SHAKEY YOUNG
KIND OF BLUE MILES DAVIS
STEP INSIDE THIS HOUSE LYLE LOVETT

I can live with it. Have a great day!

Friday, April 07, 2006

Bill Ashford Time Change


(Bill Ashford, KFML AM & FM, Denver, Colorado, circa 1971. Image courtesy of http://denverradio.tripod.com/kfml.html)

Good news for those of us from the Rocky Mountains westward: Bill Ashford's show on the Rock Garden has shifted to 10am-2pm Florida time (where the program originates). Please go to:

Bill Ashford in The Rock Garden