CC #5

Re-Discovering AM Radio

When I was a child AM radio was all there was. That probably dates me worse than admitting to making reel-to-reel tapes, but I’ll own it. When FM appeared, that was it — I was rocking!

When I landed in Quartzsite ten years ago as a brand-new RVer I found the mother of all swap meets. I could not help buying a few toys, including a portable radio with rechargeable batteries. Sadly, the FM receiver did not work — waaah, no music! Oh, well.

Being too young to stay in RV parks meant living in a borderless, dry-camping, no-television environment … and sleepless nights. Lying there awake I toyed with my little radio and re-discovered the AM band. Cool! I listened to all-night news stations around the West. I also found Art Bell and his Coast-to-Coast AM — strange stories and interesting listening, but the alien and ghost tales did nothing to help my insomnia.

I learned Parker had an AM station during RadioShack’s customer appreciation party where I met Keith and Juanita. At the time their live remote trailer said, “Learn Broadcasting.” Naturally, this blonde assumed they ran a disc jockey school.

I asked Juanita if the curriculum was difficult.

“The first rule is: ‘Don’t eat anything before you go on.’ But, we’re not really a school,” Juanita corrected me. “It’s a radio station: KLPZ 1380 AM.”

Back in Quartzsite that night I tried to find KLPZ. AM stations in Albuquerque, Denver, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and Art Bell’s creepy “Kingdom of Nye” came in great but a station only 30 miles away? Not on my little radio. Darn! It would be nice to hear local news and weather.

Finally, one night about 0’dark:30 I found the station. A faint, fuzzy voice said, “You’re listening to 1380 AM Country.” [Yay!]

But then the voice drawled, “Country radio K – H – E – Y.” [Huh?]

“El Paso, Texas!” [Oh. No wonder I didn’t recognize any advertisers.]

Now I’m in Bouse and KLPZ comes in great — after 7 a.m. Winter mornings when the signal does not reach this far I hear K-HEY. It’s now a sports station featuring two guys having frantic sports conversations — but not with each other. How odd. Do people actually want to listen to blithering? Not me — give me the KLPZ zoo-crew!

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Cate Mueller is a web designer, editor, reporter and photographer in Bouse, Arizona. To visit her website, click here.

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