‘Voice of older generations’ leaves KVMR
Bill Tuttle signed off the air at KVMR for the last time Wednesday after 24 years of a radio show that proved the word “elderly” is not demeaning.
“Life is not a holding action … it’s a process,” Tuttle, 91, said in his closing statements before a studio jammed with fans and media.
Tuttle’s “Over 60, Sunny Side Up” show featured music from the 1930s and ’40s and was co-hosted by his wife, Anita Wald-Tuttle. His first wife, Louise, helped him with the show until she died in 1990.
The show also featured essays and interviews about aging, filtered with Tuttle’s unique sense of humor. Tuttle is a retired social worker, and since 1981 he has unabashedly aired the message that aging can be wonderful.
“The point was to abolish the stereotype of what an older person was,” Tuttle said. “It’s meant a lot.”
Callers and studio guests heaped praise upon Tuttle and his wife during the last show, and they were serenaded by local band Jukolin with “On the Tuttle Side of the Street,” a take-off of the tune that introduced and ended each program, “On the Sunny Side of the Street.”
KVMR Program Manager Steve Baker said his research showed Tuttle was the oldest radio broadcaster in the country during the past year. He said station executives still do not know how they will replace the show that aired from 1 to 2 p.m. every Wednesday, but hope to keep it in the same vein.
“The voice of the older generations is so important,” said Brian Terhorst, general manager of the station in Nevada City. “We’re going to miss him.”
Folk musician and historian Utah Phillips said he has been listening to the Tuttles’ show since he arrived in the area 18 years ago.
“He’s eminently alive and ready for anything,” Phillips said of his friend. “It’s better to be over the hill than up against the wall.”
Tuttle said he wrote out every word of the breaks for his initial broadcast, “but gradually I changed over the years and I got more casual.”
“We put together whatever fit,” Anita said.
Tuttle said recent problems with walking and balance told him it was time to hang up the headphones. After hearing a multitude of accolades during his last show, he had one more comment for his faithful listeners.
“I’m going to have to revise my concept of heaven,” he said into the microphone. “I think I’ve arrived.”
To read about Bill Tuttle and Anita Wald-Tuttle, visit https://www.theunion.com/article/20030715/NEWS/107150050. To read about Bill Tuttle turning 89, visit https://www.theunion.com/article/20020718/NEWS/107180031.
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