My dad once told me he used to dream about his dream job, working on the railroad in downtown Denver as a young man.
Dad never lost his love for trains. But he had a bad back and that meant he had to find other employment and was very successful raising a family as an electrician.
But I'll always remember he used to dream about being back in the rail yard.
I've had dreams about my first career, I'd guess you could say, in radio. Sometimes they're kind of weird and have some unpleasant slant to them. Probably due to too much spicy food late at night.
But I was a radio news director for several stations between Glenwood Springs and Grand Junction in my younger days. Until I got older, maybe smarter, the business changed and I moved on to newspapers.
I don't think I'd ever call any of my jobs in radio my dream job, but they were exciting for this young man.
This all came to mind the other day as I was talking to Cheryl Minter at The River 95.5 in their studios in the Taughenbaugh building. The station recently relocated its studio from Grand Junction to Rifle and she now hosts her morning show, local and live, from Rifle. She has some big plans for the station and how it can help make the Rifle community that much better.
I hope she and The River are successful. It's great to have another local voice, and I know radio can have a great impact on people.
As the guy who read the news each day on the radio, I knew folks wanted to know what was going on in their own communities. That was never more apparent than during several disasters.
I'll never forget all the phone calls we had when the Storm King Fire first blew up. We knew a few local volunteer firefighters had been up on the mountain when a lightning strike first started a single tree on fire. But we didn't know if any were there when winds blew it up several days later and overwhelmed 14 federal firefighters who lost their lives.
But at the time, folks wanted to know if their friend or neighbor who was a firefighter might have been caught. Radio was their first source and I think oftentimes still is when bad things happen. Even in this age of tweeting and texting.
Another thing that drew me to radio as a young man was - as Cheryl called it, too - a "theater of the mind" approach that stretches the imagination. To create a picture in someone's mind with just sounds and words. There's something invigorating about that process, as well as having a listener "see" something with their mind.
One thing I never got, though, was how advertising works on radio. I've always changed the station when an ad comes on. But it must work, radio stations everywhere are proof of that. Probably not many are getting their owners rich, but they're on the air.
And I think the good ones are involved in their local communities. I worked for several that did, and maybe still do, a great job of connecting. That's what I hope Cheryl Minter and The River can do now that they're here in Rifle.
Every community needs a voice, a source of information and entertainment. I definitely think the Citizen Telegram helps in that arena, but there's always room on the bus for more than one voice. Especially if it benefits the community.
So best of luck to Cheryl Minter, The River and Western Slope Communications.
While you've been around for years, it seems a good time to say welcome to Rifle.
Mike McKibbin is the editor of The Citizen Telegram.