Since we’ve just had a long Memorial Day weekend with very little to report — unless I go into specifics about how clothes at Target didn’t fit when Beth and I went shopping — I will backtrack a month and tell you about our trip to Muenster.
Muenster is up close to Oklahoma and near Gainesville, Texas. I am on the radio in Gainesville every afternoon on 1580 KGAF, your hometown station! You can listen live at kgaf1580.com as a matter of fact. My friend Steve owns the station and he invited me to come up and participate in their live broadcast at the annual Germanfest in Muenster. It was the weekend of our wedding anniversary, but Mark said he was up for it and that gave us two nights in a hotel we couldn’t otherwise afford, so we went for it! And we had a wonderful time. Here are some of the highlights.
We took off on Friday night after we got off work and stopped at one of our favorite restaurants, the Monument in Georgetown. It always has great fresh home cooking. Might be a good idea to get there earlier in the evening next time. Seems they had run out of many of the daily vegetables, but, no mind, it was great. They have huge chocolate malts served with the big cold silver cup they are mixed in, but I’ve never had one since we always stop for a meal. One day I’ll stop just for the malt.
It was a long drive and we were into Gainesville way after 1 a.m. But no pressure for the next morning and we first got up and bought fried pies at a bakery on the square and walked around downtown Gainesville. Then we drove west to Muenster early enough to see lots of the bike riders in their associated bike ride coming through downtown Muenster. Everywhere we went, Mark was introducing me and making sure people knew that I was THE Janice Williams from KGAF, which didn’t seem to make a bit of difference.
We found Dee Blanton, the morning man and GM of the station and Steve soon came along and we had the broadcast going. This was the first time I’d been on live radio in a couple of years, so it was interesting. I still let them do all the heavy lifting since they are on that station every day and know the area and where they wanted to go with the broadcast. I played the straight man.
Mark enjoyed the festival and wandered around and took lots of pictures of the activities and he brought me a big old brat covered in kraut that was wonderful. Mark went off for the afternoon and discovered the fabulous wind farms north of Muenster and lots of wildflowers and took many pictures.
After the Saturday broadcast, we went to the station itself. I had been there a couple of times before, but never with Steve to show me around. The station was in an old building since the 1940s, but Steve had a new building constructed that is just adorable. It’s amazing how small a station can be now with no need for lots of engineering equipment and record storage and big tape recorders, etc. A few computers and that’s just about it.
When I had been up before, I explored the old building and just was fascinated by all the history in it. Elvis had a live interview in one of the rooms and there used to be live bands perform on a regular basis from that station. I enjoyed touring it alone, but it was even more fun with Mark and with Steve explaining things and showing us what he had done. I took a few more souvenirs (like cool spikes that used to hang on the newsroom wall to spike the news stories as they came off the wire).
I don’t know that I’ve written about Steve blog before. We have a long and intertwined history in radio in Dallas and Austin. When I was working weekends at Mix 102.9 in Dallas, he was hired for weekends. I was very familiar with his name because he had been on the air on KVIL and KLUV in Dallas and was very prominent. I remember driving into the station on a Sunday morning to take over from him on the air and listening to him and almost dreading meeting him, thinking he would have a big ego because of his success. But I immediately found the nicest guy and we became fast friends very quickly. We met in about September of 1992 and he got married in November and we got married the following April, so we also had the wedding fever in common at the time.
Steve was also working at ABC radio at the time. I was desperate to get out of traffic reporting and had applied at all of the stations/formats that ABC had. Steve called me on a Sunday night one night to let me know that the night girl on the station he worked on, StarStation, had resigned. He told me exactly what to do and who to call and how to casually just be “checking in.” It worked exactly as he said it would. When I called to check in they said, “Hey, how lucky! We just had a girl quit, come in for an interview.” I got that job so then Steve and I were working together at ABC.
We worked together there for about 5 years when Steve and his family moved to Austin for a new job for his wife. We kept in touch and in 1999 we came down to Austin and Â Steve took me by his new job at a new place called “StarSystem” and showed me what voicetracking was. Before long, I was also doing voicetracking at ABC and realizing how it all worked. Just about the time I decided to send a tape to Steve’s boss, he called with the news that they needed a sub for a girl that would be out on maternity leave. He had already recommended me to the boss and I needed to get a tape to him ASAP. That I did and we drove down and interviewed (oddly, that was a trip on our anniversarly 1999) and I got that job and moved down immediately.
Sadly, Steve and I didn’t get to work together too long at that job. His wife returned to her Dallas job and they were moving back to Dallas within a few months. But now we are working together again at his station KGAF. There were other jobs in there, too, that Steve clued me into and benefited me tremendously. Great friend and mentor.
After we left Steve (who had a long drive back to Dallas and dad duties once he got there) we went back to our motel room and just collapsed from exhaustion. It had been a long day. Happy anniversary to us!
Sunday morning we had breakfast at Braum’s. We don’t have Braum’s in Austin and I miss it! This morning we dilly-dallied a little more and Mark showed me all the cool things he had seen on Saturday at the windmill farms. It is really pretty country up there, but that wind does blow! I’m glad they are harvesting it.
More broadcasting from the festival and then I had a big surprise when someone came up that knew ME. It was one of my old listeners from Amarillo, Danny Houston and his wife Julie. I knew him when he was 16 and stayed in touch with his parents long after I left town. Now we’ve all reconnected on Facebook and he saw that I was going to be in Muenster and he and his wife had just been down to see one of their kids at college, so they stopped by. It sure threw me for a loop to KNOW someone this far from home.
We finished out the afternoon at 3 p.m. and headed on toward Austin. We made a quick stop in Pilot Point to visit my old Uncle Dick, too. We had another fabulous stop on that trip home, but I don’t have the pictures of that, so I’ll save it for another post. It was the historical Sefcik Hall east of Temple. It was a stop on our wedding day, so it was a stop on this anniversary trip, too. That story to come!