Danville Express

Column - February 16, 2007

Diablo Views: Did you see us on the radio?

by Dolores Fox Ciardelli

The fun thing about working in downtown Danville is it's so darned friendly.

Why, just last Thursday morning some nice people rolled a cart into the office loaded with scrumptious pastries from a Sweet Affair in Alamo and gourmet coffee - two pots, with and without caffeine. They also brought balloons, a bouquet of flowers in an attractive vase, and a KKDV coffee mug.

The visitors were from radio station KKDV, 92.1 FM, which also specializes in the Diablo Valley, so we have a lot in common. Except we here at the newspaper never play music for our readers. And checking a Weekly newspaper for the traffic report just doesn't work although we hope to carry it on our Web site. We already show the temperature and the weather forecast.

The KKDV staff was providing our staff with "The Ultimate Coffee Break," which they do for local businesses every weekday morning from 10-10:30 a.m. To learn more, go to www.kkdv.com. They post photos on their Web site of the office staffs where they visit, holding their KKDV banner.

KKDV also did a "shout-out," 30 seconds recorded onsite, that aired 20 minutes after the fact in between songs from the '70s, '80s, '90s and today. The shout-out featured our publisher Gina Channell-Allen touting our new Web site, DanvilleWeekly.com, as well as admiring the extravagant array of pastries. Another highlight of the broadcast was our staff cheering on cue. Who knew we could sound so good as we exhibited our collective spirit? We should make some additional revenue by renting ourselves out for television laugh tracks.

I come from a long line of radio entertainers. In 1932, my father, a sports writer, made the first radio broadcast from Spartan Stadium, a football game between San Jose State and Sacramento State, on KQW, which became KCBS. He said he thinks the only listener was his mother. That's a sweet image, her sitting by a big, old-fashioned radio listening to her son's voice although probably not understanding a word he said because I would be willing to bet she knew very, very little about football. She told him he did a fine job. Well, of course! That's what mothers are for, isn't it?

My father said he didn't really enjoy doing the broadcasts, sitting all alone, talking into the microphone and wondering if anyone was listening besides his mom. When broadcasts began putting two announcers in the booth he thought it was a good idea so they could play off and talk to each other. Personally, I find two or more announcers during football games on television can be kind of annoying - sometimes they seem to think they are there to enjoy each other and the game and forget about the viewers. As if we care about their personal banter. But I guess two makes it easier from the announcer's point of view.

A few years ago my husband and I visited the former oldies station KDFC in San Francisco where our friend Sam Van Zandt was doing the evening show. He was alone and doing everything - being the deejay plus doing the technical part - but he seemed quite busy and self-contained, and received a couple of phone calls from listeners even while we were there. But then running a live radio oldies show isn't the same as broadcasting a football game.

Writing can be a lonely profession, which is why writers often have writers' groups, to socialize, support each other, and share their writing. Of course it's not lonely at the newspaper because we have a staff. In between interviews and writing, and planning meetings, we often meet up in our little kitchen. Which, by the way, is the site of the leftover pastries. After all, we owe it to our friends at KKDV to enjoy every last bite.

-Dolores Fox Ciardelli can be e-mailed at editor@DanvilleWeekly.com


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