Lorraine Jewett: Memories with George Rath priceless
George Rath was my “Main Man in the Morning.”
He anchored his popular morning drive time show on K94 Hot Country and graciously let me add a few tidbits of news a few times each hour.
At the fair, we kissed pigs and spectators donated to 4-H. We kissed a lot of pigs, and even boars! Sometimes after we kissed the snout, people offered to pay extra if we’d kiss the other end. We did.
We also introduced all country and western acts at the fair. Once, George and I urged the crowd to stand and cheer wildly for that night’s performers, just so a friend could shoot a photograph making it look as if the audience were applauding us. The show began later.
On air, we raised boatloads of money for lots of charities. Nevada County couldn’t seem to say “no” to George.
Each Thanksgiving, listeners called in for our “Turkey Drop.” We’d ask if their turkey were frozen or thawed, what kind of kitchen flooring they had, and glean other scientific data. Then we’d tell them to put their phone on the floor and drop the turkey. We’d listen to the “thunk,” guess the weight, and keep score.
We commissioned a chocolatier to create boxes of chocolates, each with the likeness of staff who worked the FM side, and we distributed the boxes to listeners.
We staged outlandish April Fool’s Day jokes. One year, we announced the station was switching from country to only Barry Manilow music. We played Manilow all morning, newscasts featured only Manilow, and we changed our call sign to “All Barry, all the time here at KBRY.” Listeners who believed it were miffed and let us know.
Another year, we pretended we’d been recruited to work at a radio station that hosts the Grand Ole’ Opry. We had official-sounding men call in and portray our “new bosses,” exclaiming how excited they were that George and I would be joining them in Nashville. We carried on with the prank until the final minutes of the program, pretending to board a plane bound for Nashville, before we came clean.
Goodbye, George. Your last sign-off came far too soon.
Lorraine Jewett is a columnist for The Union. Her column, Lorraine’s Lowdown, appears on Saturdays.
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