Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Laura Ellen Hopper, I Wish I Had Told You Something



Have you ever had a competitor you so admired that you listened to their radio station not just to play defense but because you simply loved it? That was me, back in the days when I worked at AM 1370 Radio KEEN, in San Jose. Our 'real' direct country competition was Metromedia's KNEW-AM, Oakland. Yes, those were the days, three decades ago, when AM radio got the big audience shares.

Yet, there was this amazing little FM in Gilroy that even showed up in the San Francisco book. They played everything from Billy "Crash" Craddock to Billie Holiday. Emmylou Harris loved it too. She was a core artist on my station and yet she was quoted more than once as saying that she wished she owned KFAT.

I felt the same way. It was a station with unique character and values at a time when the rest of us barely knew that those things had a role in branding a radio station. My hope today is that Laura Ellen knew I felt that way. I let her know I was a fan, both of her on the air and also of her crazy quilt creative brand of 'progressive country,' but now I hope she knew how serious I was. Sadly, I'll never find out now.

She's gone (incredibly, at age 57!) and I am going to be among the folks who'll miss her a lot.

Fortunately, she built and nurtured something great with a very loyal audience all over the world, which will last. Ironically (or perhaps not), it's in Freedom, CA.

"Laura Ellen was the heart, soul and glue of KPIG. Losing her is like losing an old-growth redwood tree."

-- Sleepy John" Sandidge, a longtime KPIG on-air personality and friend

Hopefully she knew that too. I'd bet that St. Peter is helping her fill out an application for a new radio station in the great FM band in the sky right now.

3 comments:

Kimberly said...

Oh yes, Laura Ellen, will be missed like the "Last D.J.

All her friends at KPIG!

David Martin said...

Jaye, just a note of thanks. I also missed things I wanted to say to Laura Ellen. My mistake was thinking it would keep, it could wait.

It's a damn design flaw, no one gets out of here alive. Moreover,
there's a very serious and ongoing shortage of good Hollywood endings
in this deal.

In response to the question "How are you", Dwight Case would always
say "I got up this morning, a lot of guys didn't, how bad can it be.
I'm great, how are you?" On the occasion of accepting his honor as a Broadcast Pioneer in 2006, Dwight said "I've never had a bad day in this business."

Want to know the truth? He never did. The gentleman is an inspiration. I love Dwight Case and appreciate all he has done for
me, my family and my career.

Take a moment today to make a list.

Your wish I had told you list.

Pick up the phone and make the call.

Send an email.

Walk down the hall or across the office.

Make it the last thing you do before leaving work today. Make it the first thing you do when you get home tonight.

Do it.

One day, a day sooner than you can now image, you will not be able to
tell someone how you feel.

Don't put it off.

No, it can't wait another day.

Today is all you have.

Today.

Hope you are well. Thanks for being such a good supporter over the years, I truly appreciate the many kind things you have done for me.

danielwargo said...

www.fatchance.org KFAT will never die ! Dan Wargo
'The Hayride'
www.khsu.org webstream
Sundays (CA) 5:00-6:00 PM
90.5 Arcata 91.9 Crescent City/Brookings
Public Radio for the Redwood Coast