Monday, November 04, 2013

Old Walla Walla Radio Remembered Part 2

When thought of as a radio market, the city of Walla Walla is not only mostly overlooked, it can be the subject of ridicule  However, a closer look at radio history for the town reveals an impressive roster of talent, some who grew up there and some who used their experience at the area's stations as a stepping stone to bigger things.
At the head of the list is Walter Brattain, whom is  co credited with the invention of the transistor. Transistor radios were definitely the rage in the 60s and 70s.  Brattain was a professor of physics at Whitman College in the town.  Bill Yeend, Burl Barer (my cousin), Dale Unruh, and Bob Larson were Walla Wallans who succeeded in the Seattle market.  Kent Phillips was a Whitman Student who spent his out of class hours spinning wax at KUJ, before becoming one of Seattle's longest running morning jocks at 101.5.  Dana Wagner had just graduated WSU when he took a $400 a month gig at XT-97 on his way to being a Las Vegas morning weatherman . Danny Murphy was on KTEL before becoming a children's show TV host on Spokane's KXLY. Bill Anderson would leave his name behind and become Adam West, Television's iconic Batman.  There is also word that Glen Beck did a stint as KUJ before becoming world renowned as a Conservative radio host.
Walla Walla native Edward P. Morgan was an ABC radio news anchor from 1955-1969, winning the George Foster Peabody award.  I remember listening to Morgan while at the family dinner  table and being shocked to find out he was from the town that I had lived in.
Last, but not least, national reporter Bob Garred grew up in Walla Walla.  He is pictured in the article above.  He grew up in the Palouse Street house that his parents sold to mine in the mid 1960s.  I can not find out much about him, but heard that he died at a very young age.  I had thought that he worked at Mutual Radio, however, all that I could find from the few articles on the Internet was that he worked for CBS. His father was the owner of Walla Walla Drug.   I want to thank Joe Drazan for the information on Mr. Garred.  He also found out the correct way to spell his name.   Joe also has this poster on his blog from the late 1970s version of KUJ
This became a pretty big hit on facebook.   I was also inspired by Sara Van Donge's article in the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin.


Alan L. Barer said...

You forgot Mike Barer who moved to the big time working for Pat O'Day.

Paul Duca said...

Read the book THE DISAPPEARING SPOON by Sam tells the story of Brattian, John Bardeen and William Shockey and the development of the transistor (from the the perspective of using germanium rather than silicon). It states that Shockley began its development, but when the other two perfected it, insisted on sharing the credit. Shockley went on to be a full blown supporter of anything related to eugenics.

Mike Barer said...

We always leave out some deserving people. Steve Lloyd worked at KING radio in Seattle and later worked in Oregon. Larry Weir, a co-worker of mine, is the voice of the Eastern Washington Eagles. Arch LeRoux and Howard Hoffman worked in large markets before coming to Walla Walla. Anyone else?

Mike Barer said...

Dennis Decio became an owner of KRPL in Moscow Idaho, he waxed nostalgically on facebook about his brush with DJ Legend Larry Lujack.

Dave Zarkin said...

This is all wonderful. Yes, Larry Lujack was on KJRB in Spokane in '62 and went to KJR and maybe WLS in Chicago. I love radio history but am not familiar with any Washington State personalities past '62.

Mike Barer said...

Charlie Herring, Seattle's first news anchor was a Walla Walla native and Jaynie Jones was KOMO's first female disk jockey.