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Author David Luebbert
Posted 1/31/18; 6:07:42 PM
Msg# 6068 (top msg in thread)
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KZUM At Its Startup

KZUM 89.3 FM is a non-commercial, listener supported radio station in Lincoln, Nebraska that is operated by its volunteers.

The 40th anniversary of its first broadcast is on February 14th, 2018, Valentine's Day.

Starting in early summer of 1977 when I was a 23 year old, I was an early volunteer for Sunrise Communications, the non-profit that had applied for a license with the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) three years before.

That fall we received permission to do tests to determine if our proposed FM station might interfere with a distant television station that broadcast from Omaha, Nebraska, the issue that had held up our license application .

After we demonstrated that this supposed problem was minuscule, we were granted permission to broadcast using the call sign KZUM. We pronounced that ka-zoom and we called ourselves Ka-zoomers.

I was one KZUM's first jazz programmers and fortuitously took part in the station's inaugural broadcast on February 14, 1978.

I was able to continue my broadcasting duties with KZUM until late 1981 or early 1982. I don't remember the date of my last KZUM broadcast.

This starts with a bit of back story:

How helping found a jazz performing arts organiztion, the Lincoln Jazz Society, lead me to help with the inauguration of Sunrise Communication's new radio station, KZUM

What was the Lincoln Jazz Society?

A few days after a concert by Keith Jarrett in late November 1975, Scott Otley and I were bundling newspaper inserts off the printing line at the Lincoln Journal Star, doing part time work to earn a bit of extra cash.

Scott was a UNL student and the chairman of the Nebraska Union concerts committee at UNL. He had booked and promoted that concert. We both loved jazz and we were lamenting that the student concert series presented by the Union could only afford to do perhaps one,perhaps two jazz concerts in any year.

We would experience infrequent bright evenings whenever a jazz concert could be booked, and then knew that we'd have to wait a really long time until the next one rolled in.

At that time, I would buy copies of Downbeat magazine to keep up on what jazz musicians were doing and what new recordings were coming out soon. That magazine, towards the back of its issues, would review concerts that were presented by different jazz societies around the country. Those organizations would present concerts for their towns, which featured jazz artists that they believed their communities would like to see perform.

As we stacked bundles of inserts as they rolled up to us, I asked Scott if he thought we might be able to organize a organization in Lincoln that could present a more frequent schedule of jazz concerts.

Because of his work on the Student Union Concerts Committee, he knew that a jazz package tour that the committee had booked the year before in spring of 1974, had been supported by a grant from the Nebraska Arts Council, a Nebraska state agency whose mission was to develop appreciation for the different genres of visual and performing arts in our state.

That weeklong event presented Gary Burton's Quartet with guitarist Pat Metheny, bassist Steve Swallow, and drummer Bob Moses, Clark Terry's band with pianist Dan Haerle, alto saxophonist Arnie Lawrence, bassist Victor Sproles and drummer Ed Soph, and Gerry Mulligan's band.

Those bands appeared in smaller promotional performances in the UNL dorms on Tuesday and Wednesday, did a lunchtime show in the ballroom of the Cornhusker Hotel on Thursday (Metheny and Mulligan), and Friday night at a roadhouse out in Palmyra west of Lincoln (Clark Terry) . The concert that presented all of those bands was held in the University Fieldhouse on Saturday evening.

He thought if we could incorporate a non-profit group that would write a grant proposal to the Arts Council to ask for support for a concert series, such an organization might be able to present a larger number of jazz concerts per year, perhaps three or four each year.

Dirt Cheap Records on 11th Street was the place in Lincoln where the jazz, blues, bluegrass, folk, classical music and punk music enthusiasts all hung out. Two members of the staff, Jack Hart and Andy Rowan, were enormous jazz fans and had big ears for many genres of music.

Jack had been the previous Concerts chair before Scott at the Nebraska Union and had promoted amazing concerts by McCoy Tyner, Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy and Junior Wells, Ali Akbar Khan, Bill Monroe, and Herbie Hancock.

Jack also knew most of the local musicians who played jazz in Lincoln at the time. These included pianist Tom Larsen, a graduate of the Berkley School of Music, and his brother Ted, a tenor saxophonist, guitarist Dana Weary, bassist Andy Hall, guitarist Leroy Critcher who had come up to Lincoln from Oklahoma and was amazingly talented but hardly working, vocalist Laura Love, University composer Randy Snyder who gigged all over town as a bassist, alto saxophonist Bill Wimmer, pianist and vocalist Nancy Marshall, drummer Del Smith who was on work release and studying music at the University after serving time for a manslaughter conviction, tenor saxophonist Walt Warnsholz and guitarist Bill Dye who played in the band Homecooking, and saxophonist Ed Love who taught at the University.

Andy Rowan especially loved jazz vocalists, knew them all, and because he was the record buyer for Dirt Cheap, had ordered albums directly from Betty Carter, who was running her own Bet-Car record label and had become friends with her during telephone conversations.

He also knew pianist Jay McShann, the Kansas City jazz pianist who would come up to Lincoln to play dance gigs with violinist Claude Williams at the Legionaire's Club on East O Street.

McShann lead the big band that gave Charlie Parker his first national exposure in the 1940's when he was stiill a teenager, and Williams had been an early member of the Basie band when it was still based in K.C. In the late 30's.

Jack and Andy, along with Scott, felt confident enough about their contacts in the music business that they felt that they would be able to book and promote concert series like those that we wanted to do.

After a series of organizing meetings that we held weekly in early January, 1976 at the Greenwich Cafe on 19th and O, we decided that we would incorporate the Lincoln Jazz Society as a non-profit charitable organization and then quickly apply for an Arts Council grant that could allow us to book and promote our first concert series.

We also felt that to expand the jazz scene in Lincoln, we would also do what we could do promote and showcase the talent of local jazz musicians from Lincoln and Omaha.

Applications for Arts Council grants were due on a Friday afternoon later in February 1976.

Scott and I wrote the grant application proposing our concert series on the day it was due.

On the morning of the due date as a blizzard was beginning to blow, Scott drove his car, I sat akimbo on the backseat with a clacking manual typewriter, and began to type the application.

We went to my parents house in West Omaha, worked on the application packet for several hours, and turned in the Lincoln Jazz Society's grant application late that afternoon about 90 minutes before the filing deadline at the Nebraska Arts Council offices at 84th and Center in Omaha.

Creating venues for local musicians to play and fundraising

Jack Hart was friends with Larry Boehmer, the owner of the Zoo Bar, and convinced him to allow the new Lincoln Jazz Society to hold a jazz jam at that bar one Wednesday a month, as a way of putting a spotlight on our local musicians. Larry allowed the Society to collect the door proceeds from these nights, which we put in the bank to save for our concert series.

We realized that even if we received the grant from the Nebraska Arts Council, the grant would only provide us a certain amount of startup money. It would cover at best. 15 to 25 percent of our concert expenses.

We needed to be active fundraisers to accumulate the remaining money we needed to book our concerts and pay any additional expenses that could not be covered by ticket sales. To successfully launch, we needed to hustle to publicize our efforts.

Tom and Ted Larsen bothers, Dana Weary and Nancy Marshall were the musicians who were most enthusiastic about what a jazz society could do for jazz players in Lincoln. They were active in our efforts from the earliest organizing meetings, and helped us to recruit musicians to play at our jam sessions at the Zoo.

They put us in contact with jazz musicians who were active in Omaha: drummers Luigi Watts and Subby Anzaldo, guitarist Dave Stryker, saxophonist Mike Rosinsky, and Subby Cosentino who was a hand drummer. After short while, these folks would regularly come to Lincoln to play for our events.

The earliest volunteers to do jazz programs at KZUM were Ken Winston, Andy Rowan, and I

I met Ken Winston the Sunday afternoon I moved down to Lincoln to attend UNL in August, 1972. He was playing John McLaughlin's album 'My Goal's Beyond' on the stereo of the Centennial College commons room as I was passing through, moving my gear into my dorm room. The music sounded great, so I asked him what the album was.

After not too long, we found that we had common interests in jazz, blues, reggae, and different kinds of ethnic music. And regularly we'd do blues and rock jams with Ken and Karl Sorensen playing their guitars. I'd do hand percussion for those.

By the founding of the Jazz Society, I was sharing a house with Ken and his brother just across the railroad tracks to the north of the University. Between us, we constantly finding new music and sharing what we discovered. Ken had a piano, so when I had a chance I would use it to try to figure out how to play jazz tunes that I liked that were in the Berklee Real Book.

Ken and his brother were both friends with Scott Otley and Ruth Thompson who were also music enthusiasts from Centennial College, and I became their friend also. And that explains how Scott and I came to have our conversation about jazz in Lincoln that lead to the founding of the Lincoln Jazz Society. And also explains how we were all part of that founding.

I didn't know Andy Rowan until after we started to put the Jazz Society together. We started to publish a monthly Lincoln Jazz Society newsletter, and he was constantly contributing articles to it. I could see his jazz enthusiasms differed somewhat from mine. He was fanatical about jazz singers for instance. No matter the difference, it was apparent he could write beautifully about music and really knew his stuff.

From him, I eventually learned about Dexter Gordon, Roy Eldridge, Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Ben Webster, Count Basie, Art Tatum, Oscar Peterson, Benny Carter, Gene Ammons, Jimmy Heath, the MJQ, Kenny Clarke, Jay McShann, Lightning Hopkins, Sonny Criss, Betty Carter, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Carmen McRae, Abbey Lincoln, Sheila Jordan, Irene Kral, George Benson, Hampton Hawes, Frank Rosolino, Art Pepper, Barry Harris, Tommy Flanagan, Duke Jordan, Alan Dawson, Jackie Byard, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Jimmy Witherspoon, Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson, Earl "Fatha" Hines, Blue Mitchell, Ronnie Cuber and many other jazz and blues greats who I didn't know about or didn't know well until he introduced me to their music.

Andy would regularly lend me records from his collection to listen to. Hanging with Rowan, was my jazz finishing school.

How the future KZUM jazz programmers got their first broadcasting experience

Early Radio Experience of the future KZUM jazz programmers - publicizing Jazz Society activities on KFMQ

KFMQ was the big 100,000 watt rock station in Lincoln, but on Sunday's it deviated from its rock format somewhat.

On Sunday mornings, it did classical music programming. David Kappy, a professor of French Horn from the University School of Music, did that show.

Dave Landis, a young attorney who late in 1978, successfully ran for the Nebraska Legislature, was very involved in theater and folk music around Seattle at the time.

In 1977, a few months before Scott and I had our conversation, Landis started to do a jazz program on KFMQ that would run from 10pm to 1am on Sunday evening.

Ken Winston and I would call in requests to Dave's show, trying to get him to widen his format from the jazz fusion and big band recordings that he seemed to emphasize in his program, and would talk with him about our work with the Lincoln Jazz Society.

His jazz music source was limited by the small number of promotional jazz albums that KFMQ had recently accumulated in the few months before he started his program.

After not very long, he asked if Ken or I would like to come down to the studio and occasionally help with his broadcast. I don't remember who broadcast with Landis first, but we both started visiting KFMQ to take part in Dave's show within a few weeks of each other. And once we started to help with the Landis program, Andy Rowan started to bring music down to Landis's show also on different Sunday's.

Whenever I did show with Landis, I would bring a big armload of records, perhaps twenty or thirty albums from my collection, down to the KFMQ studio in the basement of the Terminal Building, to supplement the jazz that Dave could find in the KFMQ library.

He would talk with me on-air so we would promote the Jazz Society's jazz jams at the Zoo Bar. When it was time to start the Lincoln Jazz Society concert series, we promoted those concerts during visits to Landis's Sunday night show.

This time with Landis was my first exposure to radio broadcasting, as it was also for Ken Winston and Andy Rowan. I think I remember that I broadcast with Landis perhaps 10 or 15 times between 1976 and 1978.

How I heard about Sunrise Communications and the radio station they wanted to start

Ron Kurtenbach self-published and distributed the Lincoln Gazette, an alternative newspaper in Lincoln. He could frequently be found passing copies of the Gazette at different locations along O Street and near the University after he had printed a new edition of the paper.

I remember reading the Gazette and finding out that there was an effort to start a non-commercial independent radio station in Lincoln, but that it was currently stalled inside of the FCC (Federal Communications Commission).

Ken Winston had come to the University a few years before me, knew Ron pretty well and at some point introduced me to him.

In spring of 1977 after I had done one of the broadcasts with Landis, I picked up a new copy of the Gazette from Ron. I think, that day, he was distributing it on the corner of 14th and O by the Miller and Paine department store.

He told me that the attorneys for Sunrise Communications who were shepherding the radio station application through the FCC, thought that a license might be granted to Sunrise within the year, and encouraged me to participate in the work to launch the station and to consider doing jazz broadcasts there when it was finally licensed.

I believe I started to attend the Sunday afternoon meetings of Sunrise Communications, a few weeks later in May or June of 1977, in the rather dank basement of the Open Harvest food co-op located at 27th and Randolph in Lincoln.

I learned when I attended, that Open Harvest had agreed to allow this proto radio station to build its studios in this basement, once a license had been granted.

The folks I remember who were regular participants when I started to attend meetings were:

Ron Kurtenbach, lead the founding of Sunrise Communications and the effort to acquire a new non-commercial license for Lincoln from the FCC.

Mason Youngman, a friend of Ron's, who was part of the early incorporating of Sunrise Communications and the filing for a license with the FCC.

Larry Molcyzk, a local organizer and activist with several non-profits in Lincoln. I think I remember that he had a previous background with a radio station in a smaller town in Nebraska.

Doug Kline, who was active with Open Harvest. He was especially interested in politics and public affairs programming.

Pat Drake, had a background in television, did experimental videos, and was especially interested in doing news and public affairs programs for the new station.

Steve Koontz, Steve Porter and Larry French were part of the temporary paid staff that built the studio and figured out how to fund and promote the station as it was being built.

Koontz and Porter worked with Pat Drake on doing public affairs programming for the station. I remember traveling with them to the Devaney Center on the Fairgrounds to interview participants in a farmer's protest that was held there in the winter of '77

Bjarne Westhoff -a kid who likely had Asperger's and other mental problems, who also had a tuneless, maddeningly irritating, grating manner of speaking. Ultimately he was not given a slot on the broadcast schedule

Julie Myers,a UNL student who was active with Open Harvest. Also her boyfriend, I kind of remember was named Rob, a tall guy with wavy hair, in the original broadcast crew, helped with the walk around in Belmont to find broadcast interference before we were granted our license.

Dan Clinchard, a man of Jesus who proved to be a great supporter of KZUM and reliable broadcaster for many years after the station started up.

Sue Fox - a young single mother and Children's literature enthusiast.

Arrangements already set by time I arrived

I learned that a 10 watt transmitter had been acquired and that the station could use that to drive a broadcast antenna that would be anchored about two-thirds of the way up the Yellow Cab dispatching radio antenna that was located close to 19th and Cornhusker Highway that lay in the Salt Creek floodplain flats about a mile and a half north of the University just east and downhill of the Belmont neighborhood in North Lincoln.

The importance of Kurtenbach and Youngman for KZUM's development

In 1973, Sunrise Communications was incorporated. In 1974 Sunrise made its application to the Federal Communications Commission, the FCC, for an FM frequency in the non-commercial broadcast band.

Of the names listed in the incorporation documents and the license application, Ron and Mason were the two members of that crew who were still active in 1977, as it finally started to seem likely that the FCC would grant Sunrise a license to broadcast.

Kurtenbach and Youngman kept fanning the spark of enthusiasm for a community radio station throughout that discouraging four year period when our frequency application was held up inside the FCC. KZUM could never have launched without the nurture and encouragement they supplied

Who were KZUM's daddies?

Ron and Mason

Several concerns were hot items when I joined the effort:

We needed to acquire a source of funds and a knowledgeable staff so that the soundproof broadcast studio, its mixing board, and station controls could be installed in space just off of the far end of the meeting room we were using.

We needed to attract enough volunteers who would be able to do enough broadcasts to fill a weekly schedule that we expected would stretch from sunrise to midnight everyday of the week.

It was necessary that these volunteers could become familiar enough with FCC regulations, radio fundamentals, and radio station operations that they could obtain FCC individual broadcast licenses. Everyone would need their license before we could start to broadcast.

Sunrise's troubles with Omaha WOW-TV, Channel 6

Our station's license was held up for four years, from the initial application to the final granting of a broadcast license, due to objections from WOW-TV, the TV station that broadcast using Channel 6 in Omaha.

The video and audio signals for a Channel 6 were broadcast in a frequency band that stretched from 82 Mhz up to 88 Mhz.

The open FM frequency that we had applied for was located at 88.5 Mhz, a half of a million cycles higher than the upper bound of Channel 6's broadcast band.

88.5 was the only non-commercial FM slot that was still open at that time in Lincoln.

Half a million cycles may sound like a big distance from where Channel 6 was vibrating the ether but if our transmitter occasionally allowed its center frequency to drift, we might stomp on their signal.

Their engineering staff thought that there was some possibility that even a tiny, 10 watt FM station out in the scratchy, static-y outer fringe of their broadcast area might cause interference for whatever folks might try to watch Channel 6 in Lincoln.

Their signal seemed scratchy and static-y in Lincoln, because despite their 1500 foot antenna which could be seen from the top of the bluffs north of the Platte River, the curvature of the earth ensured that by time it filtered past Ashland, Greenwood and Waverly, the station's signal path was starting to filter through tall trees, occasional grain elevators and water towers, and brush the tops of the higher hills, on the way to Lincolnite's TV sets. Each little bit of obscuration would add snow to the video feed and scratchy sounds to the station's audio.

In truth, for Lincoln, Lincoln's only TV broadcaster, Channel 2, was a CBS affiliate just as WOW was, and provided the same national programming schedule as Ch. 6.

Ch 2 covered Lincoln's local issues in much finer detail than Ch.6 ever attempted.

(We would grant that the Channel 2 evening news was excruciating to watch. Contra nearly any other TV broadcaster in America by the 1970's, they devoted five minutes to the weather report, and several minutes to the farm markets report before one word of the events of the day was broadcast.

The station's main news anchor, Mel Mains, had the mien, solemnity and vocal liveliness of an undertaker and wore a really doubtful looking, slicked down, toupee.)

It was finally decided that a broadcast interference study would have to be performed before the station would be granted its permanent license.

So that could happen, we were given permission to broadcast experimentally once our transmitter and studio were ready. We agreed that while these test broadcasts were being transmitted, we would visit the homes of Lincoln residents that were located close to our transmitter, ask permission to view their television reception for Channel 6 and look and listen for signs of interference in the signal their TV was receiving.

If there was audio interference they would be able to hear our radio signal interspersed amidst Channel 6's audio. If there was video interference, we would see a zigzag pattern like a herringbone tweed superimposed upon the station's video feed.

The fix for either of these problems would be to install a small filter between their TV's antenna and its antenna jack that would be tuned to reject any signal from our station's transmitter.

These devices cost a few dollars a piece. For the sake of the station's finances we had to hope that the number of any cases of interference that would be detected during this test would very small.

Our engineers thought that this would likely be true, but we had to prove to the FCC's satisfaction that this was so.

Applying for the call sign for our radio station

Sometime in late summer of 1977, the FCC asked us to submit a list of 10 possible call signs that could be used to identify our station once it was granted its license.

Getting that request was a pretty exciting moment, because it was a sign that the FCC might be looking favorably on the Sunrise Communications application for a broadcast license.

We had to choose a call sign that was different than any other currently assigned in the US. The FCC would choose from that list when assigning call letters for our station.

Since we were in western US, our station name had to begin with a K. Stations in the eastern US have call signs that begin with W.

(WOW AM and WOW TV (our nemesis in Omaha), originally named for their original owners, the Woodmen of the World, were able to maintain that call sign, since WOW AM, one of the earliest AM broadcasters in the U.S., was founded years before the K-for-the-western-states rule went into force)

KSUN which would would have made sense since we were Sunrise Communications, was out, since that was already owned by an AM broadcaster in Phoenix. Our choices mostly ended up being near misses that were alphabetic neighbors of SUN, that looked or sounded similar to SUN.

I don't think any of us remembered who put KZUM on the list of station names, when the Feds finally told us a few months later which call sign they had given us, but Z looks and sounds similar to S, and M sounds and looks similar to N.

Most of the folks who joined the effort after I started to attend meetings were folks who were interested in broadcasting shows for the station, like I was.

I think the characteristic that was true of all of them was they had become experts in some area of recorded music or sound and had largish collections of audio materials, most frequently vinyl LP collections, that could be played in our studio and broadcast to our listeners.

Ron Kurtenbach had in the previous year or two added Sunrise to the distribution lists for a number of smaller vendors of audio recordings, such as Rounder Records, Flying Fish Records, and Nonesuch Records.

KZUM, as it began to operate, started with a library of perhaps a few hundred record albums, but the collection was mostly music that had been released during the previous two years, and its coverage of any specific music genre was extremely spotty.

Even when I eventually had to become less active with KZUM in 1982, after four years of operation, its jazz offerings were rather meager. During any program that I did, I would be able feature 5 or 6 of the station's albums versus 20 or 30 others I brought to the station that evening out of my own collection.

The volunteer broadcasters who joined KZUM after I started volunteering

I of course was interested in having having as much jazz on the stations schedule as possible. Ken Winston and Andy Rowan, who like me had a small amount of experience assisting Dave Landis with his KFMQ show, decided they would also like to try to do jazz programs for KZUM, and started to attend our organizing meetings.

Patrick Callahan had great enthusiasm for the punk rock that was starting to become known in '78 as an antidote to the bath of disco, heavy metal and hair bands that were dominating the commercial airwaves of the time.

Peter Salter, owned Accent Printing, the print shop that we used to prepare ads and posters for Lincoln Jazz Society concerts and events. He also was a French horn player for the Lincoln Symphony, knew the classical repertoire inside and out and used his large music collection to do wonderful programs.

Not very long after we went on the air we began to layout and print our program guides in Peter's shop. KZUM broadcast staff spent many hours at Accent each month producing the guide in the evenings after Peter's regular employees had left for the day. Malley Keelan was a trained vocalist who performed in Lincoln for theatrical and classical recitals who really knew his stuff.

Deann Newbold and her partner (Linda ??) were active in the Womens's Resource Center at the University and wanted to focus on women's and lesbian issues in the program that they were proposing, which they eventually called the Wimmin?s Program.

Eric Bachenberg loved comedy and wanted to do an hour long comedy broadcast.

Doug Otoupalik had a large collection of recordings of historical radio broadcasts from Radio's golden age (1930's through 1950's) and shared those during his KZUM broadcasts.

I don't remember the blues staff really clearly, but Lincoln blues musician Doug Rosenkrantz is listed in early KZUM program guides as one of the volunteers for those programs.

John Two Birds Arbuckle was an activist with Lincoln's chapter of AIM, the American Indian Movement, and did an early program focused on Indian issues and culture.

Carlos Siso a Venezuelan who played quatro, a small four string guitar, in South American folkloric bands around Lincoln while he was studying Electrical Engineering at UNL. He knew a lot about music from the Spanish speaking regions of South America, and especially loved salsa music from the Caribbean and the folkloric music of Venezuela and Columbia.

Because he wasn't a US citizen, he needed one of the station volunteer's with a license to be present during his program 'Latin American Sounds', who could legally operate the station for him. I was Carlos's volunteer and had my first exposure to this rich realm of music by assisting him with his show.

Sally Anne Herrin was a young Lincoln poet, who was friends with Julie Myers. I remember Sally doing a really great reading as part of KZUM's first marathon a few months after we went on the air, where I heard about Robert Bly for the first time. She married Ron, an active member of Open Harvest and they jointly changed their last names to Cottonwood. By August '78 they were both doing an evening collaborative broadcast with Julie.

Terry Moore was the owner of Dirt Cheap Records. He made contributions at key moments during the construction of the studio, and consistently advertised in KZUM's program guides for years. When we started to fall short of programmers who could broadcast during the early morning hours, he signed on to broadcast during the opening hours of the schedule a day or two a week.

He had a real gift for operating in entrepreneurial situations and eventually joined the Board of Directors for the station, perhaps a year or eighteen months after the station went on air.

Jonathon Brodie was a classical programmer who was incredibly knowledgeable about the earliest part of the tradition from medieval times up to the Baroque. I'm indebted to him for introducing me to the lute pieces of Elizabethan composer John Dowland and the fantastic performances of that music by the Deller Consort, which was lead by the great modern countertenor Alfred Deller. I don't remember that we was broadcasting at the station's opening but he was doing great programs several months after that.

Chuck Durdinger was another classical music enthusiast who joined the staff within the station's first year.

Engineering Volunteers

To operate a radio station legally, we needed to have engineers who were signed on who could maintain our broadcast equipment, and regularly check our transmitter's operation to ensure that we were broadcasting on our assigned frequency and that the frequency was not drifting so that it interfered with neighboring radio stations, and that it was not producing harmonics that could interfere with other radio services in our area.

Bob Zeidlich was a young engineer who usually worked for KUCV, the non-commercial FM station that was run by Union College. He moonlighted for us to keep us legal.

Bob's backup was Pete Mahowald, a UNL physics student from Omaha, who had acquired his knowledge of radio while operating as a ham operator since he was a young teen.

One Sunday afternoon while I was running the station for Carlos Siso, a lightning strike put the station off the air, and our transmitter could not be restarted from our studio using our usual means (pressing a power button, that sent a signal over a phone line that was attached to our transmitter). Bob Zeidlich wasn't available, so I contacted Pete.

I didn't have a car and didn't drive then. I think I called Mason Youngman to come with his van. We picked up Pete and drove him over to the transmitter site which was 5 miles or so from our studio so that he could manually restart the transmitter.

We felt kind of queasy being there since even though it was starting to clear above our antenna we could still hear thunder rumbling off to the east of us. If you're close enough to hear thunder, there's a small chance that a tall mast, like our antenna, could attract another lightning strike.

Through Pete, I later met his sister, Jean, a student of Computer Science as I was, who I married in 1980.

KZUM's CETA workers built our studio and its mixing board

Late in the summer/early in the fall, we were able to hire six folks using grants from the US government's CETA program. Larry Molczyk, Steve Porter, Steve Koontz and Larry French were part of this crew. Sometime in the fall, these guys constructed our studio and mixing board and figured out how to control our transmitter remotely from the studio. This took place kind of magically as the future broadcast staff was studying to acquire their broadcast licenses and was making proposals for the kinds of programs they wanted to do once the station went on the air.

Acquiring our personal broadcasting licenses Some of the first batch of volunteers to acquire their personal broadcast licenses from the FCC traveled to Kansas City to take their exams there.

I remember going to the Federal Building in Omaha to take my FCC exam with several other volunteers in the early fall.

Practice broadcasts

Starting in November, once the mixing board in the new studio was operating, the broadcast volunteers started to do practice programming. We would follow the schedule that we would use once the station went on the air, so that we could gain practice with operating the station. We would bring our audio materials to the station and play our program over the station audio monitors, while recording th'e program and all of our announcements with our station's Nakamichi tape deck.

When we finished our shifts, we would take our tapes home with us and review our performances as new KZUM DJs.

The Interference Tests

From mid-December of '77 through early January of '78, we were finally able to do the broadcast tests that the FCC prescribed for us that would allow us to detect if our transmitter's signal would interfere with the signals of Omaha's Channel 6 television station, WOW-Tv.

I believe I remember trudging around Ballard checking resident's Channel 6 reception different times with Dan Clinchard, Ken Winston, Mason Youngman, Doug Kline, Steve Koontz, Steve Porter and Kurtenbach.

We would bring the station's Nakamichi tape deck and attach that to the transmitter. The deck would be loaded with a program that contained periodic announcements between musical selections that would report that we were conducting tests of the KZUM transmitter that should be in service soon.

During the several hour duration of the test broadcast which we would schedule for late morning through late afternoon, we would walk from door to door and knock to see if someone was home.

If they answered, we'd introduce oursleves and explain that a new radio station was starting to broadcast from a site that was a mile or less from their home and that we wanted to discover if our broadcast was going to interfere with their Channel 6 reception.

We'd ask if they could tune their TV to Channel 6. Then we'd look for the tell-tale herrinbone tweed pattern that would show up in the picture if we were interfering, and would listen to the audio to make sure our broadcast was not intermixed with their TV soundtrack.

We started checking reception perhaps three-quarters of a mile from the transmitter amidst the closest housing on the heights of Belmont and then worked closer to the antenna site, once we determined we weren't causing interference from that range.

It ended up that the only dwellings that experienced Ch 6 interference from our transmittter were some of the trailers in the trailer park that was located less than 200 yards from our antenna. After we installed 10 filters in the trailer park, our interference problem was fixed. The problem was close to minuscule and well within KZUM's ability to pay for the filters that were necessary for the fix.

We sent our results off to the FCC and waited to see if they would grant us our license.

The inaugural broadcast, late in the evening of Valentine's Day, 1978

On February 14th, 1978, Valentine's Day started out cold. By mid-day we started to have a lot of snowfall. I think the University was mostly shutdown by mid-afternoon.

I was working as a system's programmer at the University Computing Network. Sometime around five o'clock, I walked my bicycle across campus through the deepening snow to go home so I could pick up my jazz records and do the practice broadcast I was on the schedule to do that evening.

I ran into Ron Kurtenbach close to Nebraska Bookstore. He had an arm load of Valentine's Day posters that he was taping to business windows and University bulletin boards announcing that KZUM had received its license from the FCC and that we would soon start our broadcasting operations.

That was fantastic news! I must have ridden my bike in the snow to get down to my house at 19th and Sumner to pick up the records I needed for my program, and then ridden down to the station so that I could start my shift at 8pm. I was a crazy young man in those days.

Mason Youngman came down to the studio around the time I arrived. We decided that we would each do reduced 45 minute programs that we would record onto the station's portable Nakamichi tape deck.

We would finish at 9:30pm and take Mason's van across town to the Yellow Cab lot, attach the tape deck to the transmitter as we had done for earlier testing, and broadcast our programs so that we would finish our broadcast before Valentine's Day ended at midnight.

I started my program with Miles Davis' fantastic live performance of 'My Funny Valentine' from a NAACP benefit concert that was recorded in 1964. I don't remember what pieces followed that in the broadcast, but I'm pretty sure I might have included music by Coltrane, Wayne Shorter, Charlie Parker. Bird's Verve recordings of 'Now's The Time' or 'Confirmation' would have been appropriate. Perhaps something by Mingus, Dolphy or Ornette Coleman.

I don't clearly remember what Mason's first selection was but I think it might have been The Beatles 'Here Comes The Sun' which would have been appropriate, since this was part of the inaugural broadcasts of Sunrise Communications. Some swear that they heard that the first time they were able to listen to the station that evening.

We attached the Nakamichi deck a few minutes past 10pm, climbed back into Mason's van, turned the radio up, turned the heater to the max and froze our asses off (the temperature had gotten below 12F by that time) and listened till our programs had finished playing.

It was a privilege and blast to be able to send out that first official broadcast for KZUM.

If I remember correctly, it took our engineers a few days to bring up the phone signaling device that allowed us to start our transmitter from the studio.

I know that when I showed up for my program the following Saturday evening, everything was working great and we were a fully functional 10 watt radio station.

Yikes, who knew about performance licenses?

A radio station, no matter its size, does not have the right to broadcast copyrighted recordings unless they first acquire broadcast rights from each of the three licensing organizations who handle the performance rights for nearly all music published in the United States and Europe.

Almost everything we could think of to broadcast was covered by one of these three licensors.

We did not know about this issue when we first began to broadcast. We were a not for profit radio station. We were making enough to barely scrape by each month. We were only a 10 watt radio station. Surely we weren't liable for these licenses were we?

Ends up that penury is no excuse. Being small does not reduce the licensing obligations very much. Facts that you have to deal with, if you wish for your radio station to continue to live.

We had to raise money to purchase licenses from ASCAP, BMI and SESAC pronto, and then renew those licenses by paying necessary fees on a yearly basis.

Each license cost several hundred dollars per year, even for a modest broadcaster with a 10 watt transmitter.

It was a shock to our finances that we absolutely had to handle. Had to increase our fundraising to fill that crater in our budget.

What was the most astounding 40 minutes of music that you heard on a KZUM program?

I had gone to bed one evening, but I left my stereo tuned to KZUM to listen to Andy Rowan's jazz program "Mainstem" as I drifted off.

At a certain point, around 11 pm, he started to play Mahalia Jackson's singing Come Sunday with the Duke Ellington Orchestra, a performance that I had never heard. Within a few seconds I snapped awake, and stumbled into the next room to turn up the receiver to hear that amazing singing. Such an enormous voice, so heartfelt. Ellington wrote the perfect accompaniment for her. Sublimely spiritual.

Next with no announcement, he played Dinah Washington, one of her earliest recordings with the Lionel Hampton Orchestra, the "Evil Gal Blues". A harrowing, raucous, humorous filthy blues with a voice that was as much a marvel as Mahalia's. Dinah started singing in church and was a close descendent of Mahalia's I came to learn later.

Again without notice, he started tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins, playing Cherokee on Shelly Manne's album "1-2-3". That song was a test for jazz players, because it was played so fast, and the chords moved through so many different keys. Charlie Parker was known to kill on this tune.

I had not known that Hawkins was as much of a master on Cherokee as Charlie Parker was till I heard this.

I knew Hawkins by sound and knew I was hearing Cherokee but had no idea what this recording was. It was every bit as marvelous as Mahalia with Duke, and Dinah with Hampton.

The fourth piece was the piece de resistance. Just astounding music. Sonny Rollins in a concert in the late 70's recorded a long unaccompanied solo on the piece Autumn Nocturne. It had just been released and I had not heard it. 10 or 12 minutes of tenor saxophonic fireworks.

Sonny Rollins was an acolyte of Charlei Parker's, but when he was a kid he used to follow Coleman Hawkins around Harlem, sometimes carrying Hawkins' saxophone case, so that he could stand out in the street outside of the club he was going to play for and listen to his performance.

Hawkins was one of the first sax saxophonists to play extended unaccompanied saxophone solos, and Rollins was able to do that also.

Hawkins had an absolutely enormous, fluid tenor saxophone sound, and Rollins, coming after had his own enormous, fluid, zooming, tenor sound.

I was pretty sure who I had heard, but I was dying to know what Andy had played. I was laying on the floor shivering in my shorts in front of my stereo speakers, waiting to hear his announcement for this last set.

When these four tracks finished, he got on the air, and identified the tracks, and resolved my suspense so I could go back to bed.

Andy had established a pair of musical ratios by playing this music in this particular order:

Mahalia Jackson was to Dinah Washington as Coleman Hawkins was to Sonny Rollins.

For me, this was the one time when so much musical treasure was laid out on KZUM (bam, bam, bam, Bam!), in such a short period of time.

I was grateful to unexpectedly hear such a great, surprising set of music. Made me extremely proud that I had helped to get such a great musical resource on the air in Lincoln, KZUM so that Andy could broadcast. Also set a higher standard to encourage me to do programs as great as what Andy was doing.

How far could KZUM's ten watt transmitter send its signal in Lincoln? Could it cover the entire city?

I'm not sure that its signal would carry to the higher parts of Southeast Lincoln. It might not have been have to throw signal to the station's current studio location. Where it was fairly flat, the University area, south Lincoln up to US 2, the signal carried. Prisoners at the Penitentiary would report that they could hear us.

Pretty much all of the Salt Creek lowlands seemed to catch our signal. I remember one Friday night traveling to Omaha with other KZUM programmers to eat at the Spaghetti Works in the Old Market. On the return trip I remember that we came back into range of our signal just as we pulled into the rest area close to the Greenwood interchange off of I-80.

What parts of Lincoln's community most wanted KZUM to exist and thrive?

To begin with, those who were most interested in community organizing.

That had always been Ron Kurtenbach's passion, and that same spirit ran very strong among the members of the Open Harvest food cooperative.

Open Harvest provided the original studio space for KZUM. A good number of our earliest volunteers and original broadcasters were members of Open Harvest.

Larry Molczyk, who launched KZUM's program guide as one of the station's first employees, was also an activist with Open Harvest. Doug Kline, who did some of KZUM's first public affairs programs, was active in Open Harvest, as was Julie Myers and Sallie and Ron Cottonwood.

Many of the early early programmers for KZUM were enthusiasts for musical and performance genres that were rarely or never heard on Lincoln's other radio stations: jazz, classical music, the blues, reggae, bluegrass, punk rock, American and world folk music, comedy, and spoken word performances.

KZUM's earliest jazz broadcasters were founding members of the Lincoln Jazz Society( Dave Luebbert, Andy Rowan, and Ken Winston). The earliest KZUM classical programmers performed with the Lincoln Symphony (Peter Salter), were affiliated with the UNL School of Music or performed in musical or theatrical settings in Lincoln(Malley Keelan). Our earliest blues broadcasters were performers who appeared at the Zoo Bar (Doug Rosenkrantz).

A number of our earliest programmers had an association with Dirt Cheap Records. They either worked there or else were customers who frequented the store as they followed their musical interests. It's hard to describe how much Dirt Cheap helped to expand the musical horizons of listeners in Lincoln in the years before KZUM started to broadcast.

It broke and fertilized the soil that KZUM grew out of.

Terry Moore, Dirt Cheap's founder, provided seed funding to the station at key moments of its development, advertised every month in the station's program guide for years, volunteered as a morning broadcaster for a period, and served as the President of Sunrise Communications for several terms.

Dan Ladely, the director of the Sheldon Film Theater, also helped develop Lincoln's music scene through the films that he would book for the theater.

I don't believe Ladely directly contributed to the KZUM effort, but the many film series he organized, especially the music films he exhibited over the years, helped prepare the ground for KZUM's later arrival.

The free summer concerts that were presented in the Sheldon Museum Sculpture Gardens also helped to develop the musical seedbed for KZUM. I saw Luther Allison, Koko Taylor, Albert King and other blues greats for the first time during Sculpture Garden concerts in the early to mid-70's.

Lincoln's blues, folk and jazz players performed at many venues around Lincoln for KZUM's benefit. KZUM could not have survived or grown without their regular, continuing support, year after year.

Jesse's Tavern on 14th Street across from The Zoo hosted many of our benefit performances. Jane Higgins who managed Jesse's was a great friend to Lincoln's musicians and to KZUM.

Mark Vasina and his partner Terry had managed Open Harvest as KZUM was starting up. They eventually opened a vegetarian restaurant, the Glass Onion next to Dirt Cheap on 11th Street, that came to host musical benefits for KZUM regularly.

Some number of KZUM programmers were NETV employees who gravitated towards KZUM. Regina Shonka, who helped with John Arbuckle's Indian program, could be heard doing voiceover's for NETV's statewide broadcasts, announcing programs. Mark Turner who served on the KZUM board in the late 70's and early 80's worked for NETV.

Producing the program guide was a big job. In the early years,some broadcast volunteers sometimes spent nearly as much time getting this beast ready to print, as they spent on the air

Ron Kurtenbach and Peter Salter deserve special mention.

The production of the monthly KZUM program guide was a big job. We sold a small amount of advertising to businesses that were willing to support us in this manner. Those ads had to be laid out in attractive way in the program guide. Whatever text appeared in the guide had to be written by our volunteer's, mostly the programming staff. The text had to be typeset, and then pasted into a layout.

Remember desktop publishing? That was all 7 or 8 years in the future. Real paste was applied to real paper cut into rectangles onto the layout sheets that represented the design of our program guide pages.

The first few program guides were typeset and laid out in Ron Kurtenbach's basement, using the typesetter he owned and using the method that he used for laying out the pages of the Lincoln Gazette, his newspaper.

Once the layout was done, we would send the galleys to a print shop to have our guides printed, so that we could mail them to subscribers, and distribute them in kiosks around Lincoln.

Eventually producing KZUM's program guide was interfering with Ron's ability to publish the Gazette. We needed to find a new way to do the program guide.

Peter Salter owned Accent Printing just across from Pershing Auditorium. He was one of our inaugural classical music programmers and he really wanted KZUM to succeed.

He allowed our KZUM volunteers, who to begin with new little about producing a printed publication, and allowed us to learn how to build our program guide, using his shop's equipment and his regular employee's workspaces one they had gone home for the evening. It would usually take several days to a week of dinking around at Accent to get the page layouts done for next months edition. Then Peter's printing techs would offset print our guides.

It cost money to print the guides, but Peter was cutting his usually fees to get the job done, if I remember correctly.

The amount of money that Ron and then Peter's generosity saved KZUM was considerable. I think early on, the station likely would have crashed hard financially without their knowledge and support.

KZUM's first three studios

The station's first studio was constructed in the basement of the Open Harvest food coop farthest from the front entrance, below the building's parking lot at the back, south, side of the building.

Sitting in our mostly soundproofed broadcast booth, we looked out through windows into an ivy lined cement window well.

Close to noon time in the summer, sun would shine down onto the far end of our mixing board whose far edge ended right in front of the window. Our paired turntables were on a counter to the right of the broadcaster's chair. Our record library was shelved on the left side of the room behind the broadcaster's position. The shelves reached to the ceiling and stretched perhaps 6 to 8 feet back to the studio doorway.

If we stood up,leaned forward across the mixing board and crained our head upward, we could look up and see the fronts of cars parked in the parking lot, and perhaps see people's legs as they walked on the sidewalk above so they could enter the back entrance of the food coop.

Sitting in the broadcaster's chair, you usually felt a little cool. In the summer time, it usually felt a little damp in the studio.

As you would do your show, you would sometimes hear at odd times bumping and thumping in the ceiling above your heads. For a long time, I was never sure what the source of the sounds were, but figured we were hearing some kind of vermin playing above us in the gaps above the ceiling. Never could see what was making the sounds.

In the fall, during one of our first fundraising marathons, I broadcast my Saturday evening jazz program "Blues, Thunder and Beauty" from 8pm to midnight, then listened to Erich Bachenberg do his comedy program until 1am.

Usually we would shut down the station at 1am, but because it was a marathon, we had decided that we would operate through the wee hours of Sunday morning, to demonstrate what might be possible if we could attract additional programmers to do programs for KZUM.

Around 2AM, the members of the Lincoln rockabilly band, Charlie Burton and Rock Therapy, came to the studio after their gig that night to do a broadcast of their favorite rock sides, I think they were scheduled to do a special program for 90 minute or two hours.

At the start of their program I showed them how to operate the board and queue their albums on the station turntable, and then served as their engineer for their broadcast.

This being a rock band, they wanted to hear their music loud on the studio's sound system, with the bass boosted. After about 15 minutes with the sound turned up, looking out into the ivy outside of studio window that was somewhat illuminated by our studio lights, we suddenly noticed movement amidst the vines out the window.

Looking closer we could see rats climbing up and down, through the foliage on the back and sides of the studio window well. The loud music had roused the rats that usually hung out in the ceiling above our heads and caused them to take an amble outside in the ivy.

Charlie Burton was fascinated to see the rat dance out beyond our window and described what we were seeing to our listeners.

From then on, it was clear what the occaional thumping, skittering and tumbling sounds in the ceiling above signified.

The second studio

Sometime in the winter months at the beginning of 1979, close to a year after our initial broadcasts, we moved our studio to a building on the northwest corner of 12th and K Street that looked to the south over the K Street traffic.

The building block that we were renting space in had once been an apartment building, The apartments farther back in the building were not inhabited. I believe KZUM constituted the only active concern in the entire building block, which strected to the north for most of a block.

You entered the studio by climbing five or six steps from the K Street sidewalk up to our studio front door,

From our broadcast desk, we could look out through large plateglass windows through the front of the studio, and look to the left over 12th Street through large windows in that direction.

This studio location was nice, because our operations were visible to the outside world.

The thing that wasn't so great during that first winter was that the building we were operating from had electricity, but no working heating plant.

To keep from freezing as we broadcast during the winter months, we wore our coats and hats indoors and ran a space heater or two below our desk to keep our feet somewhat warm. We did have a toilet in our unit of the building. I don't remember how we kept the pipes from freezing during the cold.

My favorite KZUM memory from broadcasting at this studio, was the time my friend Carlos Siso came to perform with Beatriz Rendon while I was doing my Saturday evening program. This was in the late spring when it had finally warmed enough that it was comfortable to be in the studio.

Beatriz was the vocalist from the South American folkloric band that Carlos ran that performed occasionally around Lincoln. Carlos was from Venezuela and Beatriz was Columbian.

Carlos accompanied her using his ukelele-like small guitar that was called a quatro. The quatro was strummed and chunked rhythmically to provide the chord and rhythm accompaniment for a singer.

Beatriz had a huge, soulful, lively voice. I loved to hear her sing. They played a set that I broadcast live that lasted for 40 minutes.

I especially enjoyed a version they did of a Simon Diaz song, "El Beccerito", that Carlos liked to play frequently during the Latin American music program I helped him broadcast on Sunday afternoons.

Simon Diaz was a performer well known in Venezuela, who specialized in the music of llaneros, the Venezuelan cowboys.

"El Beccerito" described a cute little newborn calf born that was born to a mother cow named Mariposa (butterfly).The herder's children wanted to play with him. 40 years later, I still remember what their performance sounded like and remember the melody of that song.

Our third studio

Sometime late in 1979 or early in 1980, we moved again to a new studio on the northeast corner of 24th and D Street in a residential area a few blocks south of Lincoln High School. The building we moved into seems like it had perhaps been previously the business office for a small insurance agency or an accountant.

When I did my programs at the first studio at 27th and Randloph Street, I frequently walked down 24th Street past this corner to get there. I don't remember what had used our new building before we took it on.

This building did have a working furnace so it did not have the environmental problems that we had to endure with the second studio. The front of this building we used as the station's office for our staff. The room immediately behind we used as our studio.

A smaller room just to the left served as the station music library, which was growing larger. We would enter the studio using a side door that opened onto 24th Street.

There was a huge belly washing thunderstorm in late August 1980, a few weeks after my son Greg was born. This was early on a Saturday evening as I was geting ready to do my KZUM broadcast later that night.

There were reports that Antelope Creek was close to flooding that night. My route to the studio from my house to the studio would have taken me right through that low area. So I had to drive two miles out of the way, taking R Street over to the University and then trying to stay on higher ground along 16th Street until I could finally turn east onto D street to reach the studio. It was pretty dicey to be on the road that night.

How did your volunteer participation vary during your time with KZUM?

During the summer of 1977, I attended the Sunday afternoon Sunrise Communications organizing meetings to become familiar with the effort to put our station on the air.

As it became more certain that we would be granted a license, around the time the FCC asked us to submit a menu of call sign choices in late August/early September, I briefly studied for the FCC commerical radio broadcaster's license, and travelled to Omaha to take the test.

Once the studio was constructed (November, I believe) we began to use the studio to produce practice programs during our time slots on the future station schedule, that we would record using the station's tape deck so that we could review and critique our work.

I was signed up to do programs from 8pm to midnight on Wednesdays and Saturdays so I would do 6 hours of practice programming until the station was granted its license.

In December, 1977, we began to do test broadcasts to check that the KZUM signal would not interfere with reception from Omaha TV Channel 6, WOW-TV. I was able to work around my work schedule with the UNL Computing Network so that I could do the walk abouts necessary in Belmont, where we would knock on doors and ask homeowners to briefly watch and listen to Channel 6 on their TV sets, while our signal was being broadcast. I believe I was able to do this 4 or 5 times during the month.

That testing continued into January, but my work schedule didn't allow me to participate in the remainder of the effort.

On February 14th, 1978, KZUM was granted its bradcast license and we went on air.

We wanted to broadcast from 6AM to 1AM everyday, but we were having trouble filling the early morning timeslots on the schedule. I signed up to take two morning slots (don't remember which days) for several weeks. I believe those slots started at 6AM and ended at either 8 or 9 AM.

During this period (late April through May), I did 12 hours per week on air.

By mid-summer I signed on to be the engineer for Carlos Siso's Latin American Sounds program, which broadcast from 1 to 3pm on Sundays.

Around this time, there was a change of leadership for Sunrise Communications. From late spring until early fall, I served as the president of Sunrise, after being elected by the station volunteers.

For me, this meant that I was was now president of both Sunrise and the Lincoln Jazz Society. Since the Jazz Society did not make a huge time drain between concert seasons in the summer months, I could devote time to presiding over the Sunday evening board meetings for the station that occurred once a month.

Because of the by-laws that the Sunrise board needed to operate under at the time (all issues needed a consensus of the board for approval, rather than a majority vote), those meetings could last 6 or 8 hours. My last board meeting as president began at 5pm on that Sunday evening and finally ended at 2AM the next morning, by which time the membership had finally resolved to change the by-laws, and my successor Terry Moore had been nominated and elected to be the new Sunrise president.

During that summer I would attend fund raising events that were being thrown by the station, and would try to assist with the monthly effort to produce the station's monthly program guides which were produced in the evenings at Accent Printing.

During this instense period, I believe I was doing 20 to 25 hours of volunteer time with the station per week, with 9 of those hours spent on-air.

I needed to pass that duty onto a successor in the fall of 1978, when I needed to pay attention to the Jazz Society's business.

After a new president was elected, I was able to reduce my commitment to 8 hours on air per week, with a few hours additional through the month to help staff fund raising events and to help with the program guide.

Once I married in May of 1980, I needed to reduce my broadcasting commitment to a single three-hour slot for the Saturday evening Blues, Thunder and Beauty jazz program.

Finally I had to suspend my activities with KZUM. I don't precisely remember the date when I gave up my KZUM program slot, but I think that happened early in 1982.

By late summer of 1982, I started to work fulltime to complete the course work so I could finally earn my degree in Computer Science and Math.

How did you support yourself so you could volunteer for KZUM?

I worked as a software developer at the UNL Computer Network in Nebraska Hall on the UNL city campus. I was responsible for the University's NUROS system (the Nebraska University Remote Operating System), which students and faculty at the University used to edit and submit programs for execution on the University's IBM 360/65 and 370 mainframe computers and which the bill drafters at State Capitol used to prepare the draft text for bills that the Unicameral considered.

The software that I was working on could only be tested during times when the processing load on the Unversity's mainframes was at its lowest, typically between 1AM to 7AM.

I would work for several days to a few weeks writing code for a new project. During those periods I would work mostly during daytime hours.

Then when it was time to test that code and it became necessary to have easiest access to the mainframe for that, I would change my hours, and work overnight for as long as that was necessary.

Because the folks in my group had to constantly shift our work hours to get our tasks done, it was expected that we would work the necessary hours for our position weekly, but were not obligated to keep a fixed daily schedule.

This scheduling flexibility allowed me to fit my KZUM volunteer work in between my work times.

Who employed you while you were in Lincoln?

I started studying at the University in 1972.

I suspended my University studies in fall of 1973.

I did my work for the Computer Network between spring of 1973 and August,1979, all before I was able to earn my bachelor's degree.

I worked briefly for a software startup, I.C.S, late in 1979.

I worked for Selection Research in 1980 and 1981, writing statistical software for its market research division. (SRI later took over and merged with the Gallup Organization, taking on the Gallup name).

I worked for Terrano and Associates, a medical software firm in Lincoln in 1982.

It was the job demands that came into play wth this employment that caused me to give up my KZUM program.

I returned to UNL as a full time student in September 1982,

I finally graduated with a B.S. in Computer Science and Math in May, 1984, 12 years after I came to Lincoln to attend UNL.

Work after leaving Lincoln

In June, after I graduated, we moved to Bellevue, Washington so that I could work for Microsoft Corporation as a sofware developer for the Macintosh Word word processing application.

I was a member of development teams that shipped:

Macintosh Word 1.0 (1985) Mac Word 3.0 (1987), Mac Word 4.0 (1989), Windows Word 1.0 (1990), Mac Word 5.0 (1992), Windows and Mac Word 6.0 (1995), Windows Word 97 and Mac Word 98 (1997).

I left Microsoft in June 1997.

I have been self-supported since then and run the SongTrellis website (http://www.songtrellis.com)

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Last update: Thursday, February 1, 2018 at 10:42 AM.