Kuhrt.net - Marty's Ames Jobs

Odd jobs I held in Ames while going to Iowa State.

Mopped floors at Quik Trip in Campus Town. I'd spent my high school years mopping floors for a grocery store in Bandon, Oregon (Buck's Sentry Market, owned by Buck Rodgers, I kid you not), thus I beat out the grad students with multiple degrees for this position.
Take that you brainiacs!

Worked as an overnight announcer at KEZT, EZ 104, 100,000 watts of elevator music blanketing the Midwest with soothing sounds. Taking classes during the day and running an elevator music station at night. Can you say sleep deprivation? I still can't sleep if a radio is on because any dead air will cause me to wake up in a cold sweat flailing for controls that aren't there.

Worked as a daytime audio operator for WOI-TV, the ABC affiliate for the Des Moines market. This means I did the audio for studio shows such as House of the Magic Window, with Betty Lou and Katrina. I also did Master Control on weekends which means the whole of ABC operations for Central Iowa was in the hands of a teenager getting paid a quarter over minimum wage. In three years of working there 42 hours a week (as a part-time employee) I made two mistakes that were seen on-air. They gave me a $.50 per hour raise. It was then I decided TV might not be for me.

On to the big time of radio in Ames, KASI/KCCQ. I still worked as an overnight jock, but at least it wasn't elevator music. The AM was country and the FM was Top 40. You had to work both stations at the same time, so it made for interesting announcer psychosis. Twang for the Country station, barfing Movie Phone style announcer for the Top 40 station. Some times the breaks would be too close together and I'd twang the Top 40 and barf the Country, but not very often. The coverage for this station was about a thirty mile radius, and not many cows are critical if you mis-announce a Marty Robbins song, so I didn't get too much static if I made a mistake.

While it wasn't a paying job I did work at the campus radio station for the whole time I was in college. It started out as KPGY, The Big Pig in the Sky, but changed to KUSR when the station had to change frequencies and calls to get in line with FCC regulations. The USR in KUSR was supposed to stand for University Student Radio, but it was quickly dubbed Unbeliveably Stupid Radio, and for good reason.

While there I did on-air work, promotions, production, and just about anything else that came up. It was there that I learned about Alternative music and the inherent snobbery involved with that musical genre.

I worked at the college station in my spare time and enjoyed it immensely. If "real radio" was as fun and satifying as college radio, I'd probably still be doing it today. "Real radio" has nothing to do with music and entertainment but demographics and focus groups. The on-air jocks would be automated (and probably will be in the near future if speech synthesis gets any better) if the three companies that own all the radio outlets in America get their say.

Some of the friends I made at KUSR are still working in radio, today. Megan Reed is a big time jock in Chicago. Lou Sipolt is the morning guy at KGGO, Des Moines. Krickett Davis was the big evening jock in LA at a couple of stations, but has since moved on to better things. Good times, good friends, good god has it been twenty years already?

Oh, I almost forgot. When I wasn't working overnights in radio, I was spinning records at various dance clubs in the area. The one that I had the most fun at was The Top of the Town, where English Techno was the norm. Nothing more entertaining than watching farm kids try to boogie to beat mixes that sound like train wrecks.

The last job I held while in college was as the sound man and DJ for the Des Moines Playboy Club. The job was steady, the pay was OK, and the the view was great!

Back where you came from.