Quite a few readers identified with Monday’s Slice and said they, too, had spent time as kids tuning in AM radio stations in distant cities.
Here is a sampling of their recollections.
Darrell Keim, who grew up in Havre, Mont., listened to stations in Sacramento, Omaha, Calgary and points between. “This country boy found it very interesting listening to traffic reports from California, and weather from Canada,” he wrote. “Canada sure seemed like a cold place in the summer until I learned they used a different measuring system.”
Ron Prewitt grew up in Alaska. “I recall one extremely clear-cold night where the stations were coming in particularly strong and I was able to pick up Salt Lake, Denver, Chicago and, to my total surprise, New Orleans.”
Larry Horning, who grew up near Moscow, Idaho, remembers thinking that it sounded as if people in California led exciting lives. Especially when, as he jokingly put it, “Our big fun was listening to radios.”
Joy Stocking spent her childhood in Avery, Idaho, and tuned in stations in Salt Lake City, Chicago, Spokane and Canada. She’s a grandmother now, but sometimes she’ll tuck a radio beneath her pillow and once again listen to far-flung voices in the night.
Diana Witherspoon, who grew up in Wallace, Idaho, is another Slice reader who remembers. “My older sister, brothers and I spent hours cruising the dial and could get miraculous reception from points far away,” she wrote. “One of our favorites was hearing ‘airplane sounds’ which we were convinced came from airplane cockpits. Unfortunately we learned later that it was just a particular type of static. But what great travels we had in our attic rooms!”
When Larry Gants lived in Medford, Ore., two of his favorite radio destinations were KGA and KHQ in Spokane. Little did he know that he would wind up living in Spokane as an adult, where he would enjoy a long career in broadcasting.
Today’s Slice question: Is Spokane especially hostile to any alternatives to using cars for all trips of more than 50 feet or is it just that the critics of sidewalks, bike lanes, mass transportation, et cetera, make a disproportionate amount of noise here?