Strange Trip

Desperate to get back into radio, I answered an ad in the Times-Standard for KERG in southern Humboldt. The voice on the other end of the telephone instructed me to come to the station right away.

Once at the station I sat down with a short, balding man named Jerry. He was heavy-set with a full beard.

Both stood out on him because of the multicolored-tie-dyed tee-shirt he was wearing. He was, however the station’s owner.

His very first and only question was: Do you have a problem reading live copy on the air about PVC piping.

I told him that I didn’t.

He offered me the job and I accepted without hesitation. It wasn’t until I actually sat down in what he called a control-booth, a desk on a riser surrounded by thick plexi-glass, that I’d learn I had hired on to something strange.

It was wall-to-wall music, same artist, 24-hours a day and in between album sides, I’d read the live copy about PVC piping.  It was the only commerical the station ran while I was there, which was only about two-months.

Furthermore, listeners would come in to the station. Aside from being stoned and free-spirited, they’d start doing things with one another that would make a dog in heat blush.

I lasted only two-months at the job.

A few years later, it would occur to me why PVC piping was so important to the economy of the southern Humboldt town, that the strange people that came into the station were better known as “Deadheads,” and Jerry was and remains an important figure in American rock history.

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