Saturday, February 11, 2012

KYNO Boss 30 and Jesus: "Something In The Air"

I was transported in time gain today.
I didn't need the Toyota this time, all it took was a headline  today's Fresno Bee newspaper.

I have often said the first contemporary Christian song I ever heard was Keith Green's "Asleep in the Light" (Thanks to Rick Cottrell, who played it so loud that it bled right through the dorm walls of Module E By the Sea.).

The lyric haunted me, as it felt addressed to me (I didn't know at the time it was directed to the church, but in God's rhematic providence., it also spoke to me) : "Jesus rose from the dead/and YOU, you can't even get out of bed."  That killed me...and soon brought me to I was just coming off five pre-Christian years where some days I couldn't get out of bed.

By the looks of this photo (particarly my hair)  taken in that era...there were days I shouldn't have!(:

But just a year or so after the photo, Keith Green's song began the process of my wake-up/shake -up call.

Gary Estes, my first roommmate, also blasted some Keith Green, probably hoping it would convert me.

It did, thank you.

But sometimes I remember that the first Christian song I ever heard was on KYNO Boss Radio, late 1960s/early 70s.  One of the "boss jocks" had become a Christian, and I assume it was he who arranged for (very early) Jesus music to be played early Sunday mornings on a syndicated show called "Power Line."

I remembering checking it out on my hip transistor radio.

I have no idea what the first song was.

I don't remember it impacting me.
But I'm sure it did.

It works  conventently and preveniently  like that.

Thank God for KYNO, and that Boss Jock, Ted Jordan.

You were all part of the process.

On to the column  in today's Fresno Bee that became my time machine; it was about KYNO's  boss of the "boss jocks."...

All it took was mention of "KYNO.."

So, she had me at the title.
But the opening line  could not help but take me aback...and take me back

It was 1969, the year of Woodstock, Chappaquiddick and Charles Manson. The year of "Everyday People," "Crimson and Cloverand "Honky Tonk Women,"

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I could "name that tune" in one note. Those were my songs.

And then she floored me by  namechecking:

Boss Jocks Harry Miller, Big John Carter, Dirk Robinson, Bill Stevens, Sean Conrad

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Those were my friends..friends I never met, but who narrated the narrative of my childhood.

It was amazing to grow up in the 60's; to hear the Beatles new singles(when they were new)....
siting in the backyard, maybe in this treehouse: CCR, Kinks, etc etc,.... And KYNO was cutting edge.  We all knew something special was happening in music, but there was no way of knowing just how historic the shift was.

" At KYNO, the world was younger and more alive with promise than it would ever be again,": the article articulately asserts.

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Somehow in sovereignty, the sixties shaped who I am and prepped me for encounter with Keith Green...and Christ.  There was, in the language of a song of the day, "something in the air." (in fact, that exact song functioned as a Christian song for me, always the sucker for the ethereal song with the mystical lyrics, Keltic Ken will remember it..)

Here's what the writer, a KYNO employee back in the day, remembers about  her boss, Dave Bellman:

As I sat across from him with my lined yellow notebook on my lap, Belman explained how to write a commercial. "Triple-spaced, all in caps. Divide the page in half vertically. Make three copies." He shoved some carbon paper at me. "One for the jock, one for the folder, one for me."
"Where do you write the rough drafts?" I managed to ask.
He jabbed a nicotine-stained finger at the paper in his typewriter. "Right here."
"But what if ..." I could barely get the words out. "What if I make a mistake?"
Belman met my eyes, and for the first time, I caught the glimpse of a smile. "You do this."
He slammed his finger on the X key repeatedly, until the words were indecipherable.
If I'd learned only that from him -- about writing and about life -- it would have been enough. Over the next two years, I learned a great deal more.
           ...To those of us who had come from fractured childhoods -- and many of us did -- working with him was honest and safe. If he said he'd be there, he was. If we messed up, he'd hold us accountable. If we needed help, he'd give it. As one of our co-workers said, "He was our radio dad."

I'm not sure why KYNO continues to be the bond for many of us after all these years. Perhaps it's because we shared the crazy times and the music that reflected those times. Maybe it's because, at KYNO, the world was younger and more alive with promise than it would ever be again. I do know that Belman was part of that bond, a big part.
In a profession of gypsies, he was an anchor. In the permissive land of Boss Radio, he had rules.

When the conversations and the liquor flowed at Cedar Lanes, our hangout, he headed home to his wife and kids. We who were younger and wilder accepted his behavior just as we did his gruff-yet-caring demeanor. Although we had no word for it at the time, I know now that what we felt for Belman was respect.

In January, he died at age 92.

Right now, I'm thinking about his life and his influence on mine, both in those early days and now:

Write the first draft without fear.
Come back later and strike what doesn't work.
Don't be afraid of the delete key

Thank you, Dave Belman, for all you were and for all you taught me.
         -link, Dave Belman was 'boss' of Boss Radio

I had forgotten about "hitting the X key repeatedly, as now we have Control X.

But the principle has been a huge in my life, too.
Though I learned it from Anne Lammott ... do you know what she calls her first draft?

Thank God for  extreme do-overs and U-Turns.
I wouldn't be here without then..

But I wouldn't change a thing about my KYNO-soudtracked childhood.
(all my timelines trace back to it).

It helped lead me to Christ, back to Fresno, and to this post today.

..where those holy parchments that are the "KYNO Boss 30" playlists are collecting dust in the garage
in a box called "Dave's souvenirs."

KYNO is still around..though unrecognizable after multiple format changes.
In fact, in God's wild sense of humor and full circle, I was interviewed on KYNO last year.

About Jesus.
You can hear it here.
But I'd rather hear this 1970 playlist all over again.

It lead me to Christ.

Thank you, KYNO..


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