Priscilla MangnallTHE WAY WE WEREGrand Junction Free Press History Columnist

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January 17, 2013
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THE WAY WE WERE: When KEKB was KING ...

I was the Auction Queen! The year was 1986. I was newly back in town from having lived away for eight years. Not that far away, Craig and Montrose, but far enough to have missed my family.I was back and had worked a few jobs, Pufferbelly Station, my brother's law office and filling in at my sister's antique shop. My then-brother-in-law, Mike Shafer, was good friends with the owner of the new Country-Western radio station located in Fruita. Mike and Dick Maynard went way back to their days together at KREX-TV so the Maynards were pretty much family friends.One day, Mike mentioned that Dick needed someone to help with their on-air auction, the bread and butter of the popular young station. Little old me, never afraid of anything, except speaking into a microphone, took the job and was dubbed the KEKB Auction Queen. Luckily for everyone, I didn't need a radio voice. I just had to know how to hold up as many fingers as there were phone lines and it's not as easy as you think; it all boils down to how coordinated your hands are and which fingers you use. I soon became proficient. I've always given good phone and pretty soon I knew every bidder by name and number and before long I had my own fan club. By that, I mean every kooky character in the Town of Fruita would come by to visit me at the station. They either wanted to just talk or get a good look at those talented fingers.So good I was at all those new skills, one day Dick said to me: "Priscilla, this station needs a promotions director and you're it!" I didn't know what that was but once again, fearless me, knew I could create whatever needed to be created and promote the hell out of the what would soon become the #1 Country Radio Station in our market share.It wasn't all about me, we had a team at Jan-Di Radio. Jan Maynard kept the purse strings tight, Steve Heller was Dick's on-air partner, known to all as "The Breakfast Flakes," Martiey Maynard-Miller and her advertising sales staff sold air time like it was the most valuable ethereal real estate on the planet. They included April Black, Judy Garner Gibson, Larry Millhouse, Jerry Mudge and Scott Davis, to name a few. Mike Shafer and Norm Price kept us on the air. Shannon Wurster and Steve Heller were the news department. Marie Petefish scheduled everything that played. The disc jockeys, and yes, they spun discs, were the best in the business. In addition to the Flakes there was Dave Hansen, Mike Flewelling, Ed Chandler, Tom Sheldon, Aaron Phillips and some other guys I can't remember.Soon we were everywhere. I mean everywhere. We wouldn't sit back and wait for a community event or concert if we would sponsor them with free on-air advertising, we went to them and asked if we could. If they already had a sponsor, we didn't care, we'd act like we were the sponsors anyway. The KEKB call letters were all over the valley along with our "meatball," the famous cowboy hat logo.You could hear the Denver Broncos on 99.9, we sponsored the Boat & RV Show, concerts at Castle Creek, The Rose and Two Rivers, the KEKB Kountry Koncerts brought in new acts like Clint Black and Sawyer Brown. We had Bean with Gene for the hunters and the Country Showdown for local rising stars. Our on-air contests were award winners. We gave away cars, trucks, vacations, you name it. We had a better than average newsletter for our faithful listeners that Dick and I created and we were Number One. And we were fun. How could you not be with all that going on? I speak for myself, but I betcha yer high heel boots that those were not only the best days for all those names I dropped, but the halcyon days of local commercial radio.I'm sure that Dick and Jan might tell this story differently but this is my version and I'm sticking to it. Thanks, Dick, for giving this silly little country girl a chance. Got a memory or picture to share? Call me at 970-260-5226, or email priscilla.mangnall@gmail.com.


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The Post Independent Updated Jan 17, 2013 01:43PM Published Jan 17, 2013 01:40PM Copyright 2013 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.