Friday, August 31, 2012

Noontime Jamboree

So I'm in Oregon for a wedding a week ago Sunday and Monday, right? The wedding takes place Sunday evening, and because I know I'm going to be encountering a number of people I haven't seen in a while, I've scheduled my flight home for Monday evening. This leaves all day Monday free in case any friends or family are available to get together.

But by 11 o'clock Monday morning, everyone else has checked out of the hotel and is on the road back to the airport. Still, there can't be many places more scenic than Hood River in which to kill a few hours, so I start off on a hike toward the hills overlooking town, my Sony Walkman radio in tow.

Now I'll be blunt: Most terrestrial radio these days sucks. In fact, it frequently suuuucks. But around noon, I'm suddenly on a station that's playing Bob Wills, followed by Fats Waller, followed by Chet Atkins, followed by Pearl Bailey (!), followed by Martha Raye (!!). And it goes like that for the next couple of hours; one great record after another from the '20s into the '60s. There have been similar programs on L.A. radio, but not in many years. I felt as if someone had heard my plea.

The show is called "The Noontime Jamboree" and it airs every Monday from noon to 2 on public radio station KBOO 90.7 FM in Portland. Local vocalist Retta Christie hosts the first and third Mondays of every month and was behind the mic for the installment I happened upon. Wade Hockett hosts the other Mondays, though in September Retta will be at the helm each week, including a live show on Labor Day.

This being the year 2012, distance is no obstacle to your discovery of "The Noontime Jamboree." 
  • If you're unable to catch the broadcast as it happens, the show page makes the two most recent episodes available on demand on a continuing basis:
  • And if you like what you hear anywhere near as much as I did, kicking a buck or two back to KBOO wouldn't be a bad investment either. As much of a labor of love as this obviously is for Retta, Wade and the radio station, it costs money to keep the lights on and the webcast operating: 
So, yeah, I wish my relatives hadn't hustled out of Hood River so fast. But let's think about it: Lunch or a mid-afternoon snack in some greasy diner with family members who weren't really crazy to see me versus a walk in God's country, accompanied by the dulcet tones of Smith Ballew:

Maybe things worked out for the best.