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Looking back: KDNK’s 16th birthday sure was sweet

Locations: News Published

The old Valley Journal reported in its April 22, 1999 issue that everyone “pretty much agreed” KDNK’s 16th birthday party was the best one ever.

Held at the Days Inn community room, “The food was good and the beer didn’t run out until everyone was pretty much ready to leave (around 9:30 p.m.)”

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The article continued, “A volunteer DJ from Steamboat Springs … turned up in high heels and a dress, which was reportedly the same outfit he wore at the station’s Mountain Fair beer garden.

“Little kids ran around all over the place and had a ripping good time as they are wont to do.

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“The tunes (including a hefty dose of James Brown) were spun by DJs Dr. Skip Naft and Jeremy Graham … Toward the end of the night, Phathead grabbed the microphone and pulled off a credible James Brown.

“The Beatles song ‘Birthday’ brought an enthusiastic response.

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“Wigs were in abundance, including Skip’s, which had sort of a werewolf (of London) look to it.

“Nobody was arrested on the premises …”

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The highlight of the night came when station staff presented numerous awards to volunteer DJs, and others, including:

  • “We’re no friends of the FCC.” Nominees were Jimmy Dredd, Those Yampa Kids, Mike Fell and Barbara Collins (winner: Those Yampa Kids);
  • “I’m not on work release or working off a DUI, I just like it here.” Nominees were Linda Criswell, C.J. Beamon, Inmate #4887 and Marianne Ackerman (winner: Marianne Ackerman);
  • “Most shocking incident.” Nominees were “Flicker Noise” on KDNK and KAJX, Jane Erb complaining about “Flicker Noise” and a curious boy with a set of keys (winner: Will “Sparky” Masters);
  • “Most likely to be syndicated.” Nominees were “Geek Speak,” Phathead, Lulu, Axel Contreras and the “Chip & Audrey” show. (winner: Chip and Audrey). Fans of Gil Finn, star of “Trout Talk” on the occasional “Unplanned Music” show, theorized he didn’t win because he wasn’t on the air often enough to qualify, so they immediately started complaining that the rules should be changed.
  • “Most calls to the station and we’re not even talk radio.” Nominees included: Pitney Bowes trying to sell stamp machines and asking for the decision maker, the caller to “Geek Speak” and DJs looking for phone numbers for substitutes (winner not available).
  • “I’m only waiting five more @#$%& minutes for Neil & Bob or I’m shutting down this @#$%& station.” (co-winners: Terry Glasenapp and Sequoia Sun).

Lots of DJs, staffers, KDNK board members, underwriters and supporters will no doubt take a stroll through Memoryville at the nonprofit radio station’s birthday bash on April 15 and recall some of their favorite shows and DJs. A partial list of names and shows from a 2008 newsletter includes: “The Opera Show” (Mark Burrows), “Good Noise” (Lark Ellen), “Biscuits & Jam” (Bryan Zukowski), “Radio Evolution” (Youth Radio), “The Freak Show” (Chica Ortega), “Low Rider Time Machine” (Pedro Rivera), “New Eclectic Sampler” (Jeff Britt), “The Potato Bill Revival” (Hans Lindbloom), “Loch Dinkel Monster” (Roy Rickus), “Gospel of Music” (David Batterson), “Women’s Voices” (Annie McIntosh), “Jam Burger & Fries” (Kitty Kat), “Monkey Business” (Jammin’ Jim), “Acoustic Stew” (Nancy Smith) and “Beyond Beyond” (Luke Nestler).

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One KDNK show name pretty much said it all: “Celtic Thunder” with the late Fred Geis, who might have been an original DJ. Geis had a deep voice, ability to spin engaging yarns and intimate knowledge of folk music. He was born in 1934 and died in 2009. Geis sang, played banjo and wrote songs that were recorded by The Kingston Trio and The Clancy Brothers in the early 1960s (“Going Home, California” and “A Lament for Brendan Behan” respectively). An obituary on described Geis as a “hobo, folksinger, songwriter, poet and bus driver” (for RFTA).

Speaking of DJs, there are a least four original KDNK DJs who are still pumping out tunes on their own shows or as a substitute: Flash (“Flash Attack”), Susie Darrow (“The Frog Princess”), and Terry Glasenapp (“Wholly Bozos”) and Roy Rickus as a substitute. If there are others, please let me know at

KDNK celebrates its 40th birthday party with dinner, concert and more at the Third Street Center this Saturday beginning at 5:30pm. For details, go to

Tags: #History #KDNK #Radio #Valley Journal
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