Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

25 Mar 2004, 11:41 a.m.

I Promise No Fish In This One

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2004 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

The summer between sixth and seventh grade, I carpooled with a wonderful Stockton Record reporter named Dana Nichols; his niece and I went to the same summer enrichment program. He listenened to KUOP in the mornings, and since I already loved public TV I was an easy touch for NPR. Gradually I switched from the local top-40/alt-rock station (with which I'd had personal and emotional attachment, not to mention great luck in winning phone-in contests) to the local NPR affiliate.

I worked at KUOP, the Stockton-Modesto public radio station, for a few months in a mid-nineties summer. I particularly remember the name Duncan Lively, as my teen ears perceived it as wonderful and impossible, and because he acknowledged a grammatical error I'd found in a fundraising script.

As it turns out, Duncan is still in public radio (or is he? Why do I see no date on this "press release"?), and I didn't converse with him enough to learn the neat fact that:

For three years, he worked in the former Soviet Union as NBC's resident photojournalist and tape editor. Lively covered stories ranging from the plight of would-be Jewish emigres to the death of Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev.

KUOP had a microwave that did not interperet "2:00" as "120 seconds" but as "200 seconds". This caused me one embarrassing incident.

Scott Mearns, the kind and attractive chief engineer, kept a daily diary of all the stuff he did at work. This helped him keep others accountable, among other things. Also, in my work for him, I looked up Material Safety Data Sheets on gopher, which was the first time I ever used the Internet.

I wrote Public Service Announcements based on press releases that schools, nonprofits, and agencies sent in. I devised a new filing system for them that helped DJs know which ones to read.

Greg Parsons, the father of my schoolmate Mike Parsons, was funny and smart. Carole, the administrator and poet, was wise. Jack, the news reporter, was stressed and helpful.

I served there in the morning, so every day I came in and smelled coffee everywhere and heard the voice of Bob Edwards piped throughout the office.

I continued to listen to KUOP throughout high school. On several Saturdays my mother and I spent two hours quietly preparing food while listening to A Prairie Home Companion. I learned about music from Schickele Mix and did physics homework in the early hours of the morn to The Diane Rehm Show, where I first heard sung ancient Greek.

The day I left for college, I met an ex in the Carl's Jr. near my house, the last time I ever saw him. It was a goodbye that should have come months before. What an ill-advised fling! (Actually, Angel gave me great advice; I just didn't follow it.) And that day's front page of the Stockton Record (by then, The Record: First in San Joaquin) described KUOP's upcoming programming shift - less music, more talk, more homogenous NPR.

I left just in time.

Now KUOP has lost the six-hour block of classical in the middle of the day, and KUOP as an individual station doesn't really exist. And Bob Edwards is not the voice of Morning Edition anymore. Marx and Engels were right: all that is solid melts into air. Even the air.