Friday, June 17, 2005

So long, Nick
When I came to Seattle from Anchorage seventeen years ago I arrived a week before my belongings, which were taking the boat. Noodling around my empty apartment, I discovered an FM radio in the back of one of the closets. I had a pizza, a paperback book, a sleeping bag, and, now, music, enough of the basics to tide me over till my stuff and the cats arrived.

I taped a piece of wire around a window, to use as an antenna, sat down on the floor and began to explore the airwaves of Puget Sound. I planned to start at the bottom of the dial and work my way up, but the first station I hit--88.5, KPLU--was a jazz station, so I stayed at the bottom. The next morning I discovered that it was also an NPR station. Jazz and news. If I had been asked to design the perfect John station, this would have been it. I still don't know what's on the rest of the dial in Seattle.

It was about three months before I got to know some of the people in my graduate program enough to socialize. During that time, the music and voices of KPLU were my only company besides the cats. I came think of the hosts of the shows I listened to the most as my first friends in Seattle. There were three: Dale Bondurant, Ken Wiley, and Nick Morrison. Bondurant left years ago and Wilie's show is only on one day a week, but Nick Morrison does the morning jazz. I still hear him every day for a little while on the way to work.

During the last seventeen years, KPLU has grown from a small, college-based, public radio station into one of the most influential jazz outlets in the country. They've put up translators and upgraded their equipment till they can be heard from north of Vancouver, BC to south of Olympia, WA. Their streaming programming can be heard on the internet anywhere in the world. Nick Morrison has become nationally recognized, award winning Music Director.

Today is Nick Morrison's last day. Though I've never met him, he's my oldest friend in Seattle. I'll miss him.

No comments: