Great Moments in Broadcasting

KRAB 107.7 FM Seattle - The Doughnut shop

I remember KRAB (FM, Seattle)1 with its programming of Indian classical music, a pipa concert, two hours of Korean temple bells2, things like that, often with European classical music and country blues mixed in.

I remember the old Collins transmitter that sported serial number three, and that we finally had to get a new exciter for since nobody made phasitrons any more.

I remember the antenna up on the telephone pole that you had to go hit with a two-by-four on those rare occasions when the snow started sticking.

And I remember one night when everything, except time, stopped dead.3  What happened was that the accumulated muck and filth in the old converted doughnut shop (sans janitor) had caused the blower that cooled one of the power tubes to stop blowing; and the melted and mangled 7C24 became an objet d‘art that hung around the station for months.

So now you know what I consider my salad days.

1Yes, I was there, although the picture at the top of this post is from before my time.  I’m on the cover of the August ’71 Program Guide just left of the gate.  I’m sitting on a big metal box that housed the electric company’s transformer that supplied power to the transmitter.

Hey, PZ:  do you remember Jon Gallant, a biology professor at the University of Washington?  He’s also in the photo.

I heard rumors, not confirmed by me, that the fellow on the far right, Tiny Freeman, was the engineer in the opening title sequence of Petticoat Junction.  It seems that he was one of the few people who could still safely operate a 4-4-0 American at track speed.

2One of KRAB’s more infamous programs:  the kid playing the temple bells tape thought, “That was cool; I’ll turn it over and play the other side.”  Uh…it was a full-track tape, and so he played the whole thing backwards (and thought that was even cooler).  That was before my time, but it was a well-established part of the station’s tribal lore.

3“…everything, except time, stopped dead” shamelessly borrowed from an essay by the late Greg Palmer written during his time as station manager.  I’m pretty sure it was in a KRAB Program Guide, but I can’t remember which one and can’t find it.  In any event, that wonderful turn of phrase is not my work.

Hello world!

OK, here’s my first post on FreethoughtBlogs.

I’m a retired computer programmer who continues to serve on the ISO standards committee for the C++ programming language.  One of the reasons that I retired from my day job after June of ’22, aside from being 76 years old, is that, for the last several years, I’d been writing nothing but Java, which I found rather frustrating.

I’m also quite the geek when it comes to riding on passenger trains.  I’m not at all nostalgic about them; I just think that trains are a good way to travel today.

I’ll probably write mostly about C++ and riding on Amtrak; but I reserve the right to become obsessed when someone is wrong on the Internet.

For my commenting policy, I’ll start out using PZ’s Pharyngula as a model.  We’ll see how that goes.  If a comment points out some error I made in a post, I’ll acknowledge the error in a comment of my own and fix it like Mano does.

I’ll begin with a very short rant from my wires-and-pliers days, just to have something out there besides this “Howdy” post.  Around the first of February, I’ll describe a trip that I’ll be taking to Issaquah, Washington, to attend a meeting of the ISO C++ committee.

Please feel free to suggest other topics that I might know something about, including digital electronics from the SSI and MSI TTL era (I haven’t done it in a while), and listener-supported FM broadcasting.  I’ve also worked for a couple of commercial radio stations, and I once had a 1st Phone (which is no longer a thing), but I was always weak in the practical aspects of RF, being mostly an audio guy.