A friend of mine let me know that a former employer of ours died a couple of days ago. His name is Bill Stamps.
He worked at radio station KPOD in Crescent City, California. I don’t like to speak ill of the dead but his dying has opened a nasty wound in me that I need to let heal now.
Here’s the back story…
In 1984, I was in between gigs and hoping that Stamps was going to hire me back. He had sold KPOD and when the guy who bought it went bankrupt Bill got it back.
Cathy was hired right away. In the meantime I did whatever BS jobs came around for KPOD like setting up remote equipment and announcing parades over PA systems, etc.
Anyway, I had also worked as a stunt double and stand in on the movie “Return of the Jedi” in the Smith River location and I got to know a guy by the name of Toomey. It would later turn out that Toomey would end up working at KCRE the cross town rival to KPOD.
As it is I never had much use for Toomey as a jock or as a person. I had found out early on that he had a thing for ‘younger men’ and was very forceful and direct about it.
Terry and I had words when he made a pass at me. Then while getting a haircut, I spoke of the incident to the sister-in-law of the morning show host of KCRE.
Crescent City is a small town. Word travels fast.
Before I realized it Cathy called me and chewed me a new one. Come to find out she was called on the carpet by Bill Stamps and told, “If Tom doesn’t go over there and apologize, you’re fired!”
Needless to say, I marched my butt over to KCRE and apologized to that man. And I hated Bill Stamps for it ever since.
Now the front story…
In 2002, Toomey was sentenced to prison for having had sex with a 12-year young boy. Bill Stamps forced me to apologize to a pedophile!
Toomey used radio to lure his youthful victims to his side. And he was given a pass to do it.
Meanwhile hard working and decent people like Cathy had to feel fear for their jobs because guys like me couldn’t leave the small town truths alone or keep their big mouths shut. I’m sorry about the hell you had to go through for that Cathy.
Now I hear the town of Crescent City is giving Bill Stamps a parade to honor his passing. They are calling him “a great and caring man.”
I have a much different memory of him.
My wife says “Let it be buried with him.” That means I would have to learn to operate a backhoe.
Perhaps I’m just too hard on Bill Stamps and the fact that he forced me to apologize to a pedophile to save a girlfriends job. But I just am not sure how else I was supposed to feel at the time.
When I look back on that entire time period it was a real confusing time. I was finishing up my military service time and working in radio and not getting along with my family and I had been working as a volunteer in law enforcement until I got in trouble with the law.
Need I go any farther?
My ultimate goal was to get back on the air at one of the two radio stations there in Crescent City or get a job writing for the newspaper. None of these things ever seemed to happen and I found myself for ever frustrated.
I blame it on my stupidity.
Looking back I see that it was small town politics. A game of likes and dislikes and I was on the list of dislikes.
In the long run I can see now that their ‘politics’ benefited me because it forced me to move away, first to Arcata then Reno, Nevada. I have been here in the Silver State for over 20-years and I’ve never regretted it.
In fact I spent eighteen years in radio because of it and that probably wouldn’t have happened if I’d stayed on the Northcoast. Now I’m hoping to parlay my radio career into a writing career.
As of yet that hasn’t happened because I seem to be too conservative for the likes of the publications in our area. But then again I could be reading between the lines.