About Me

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Kymberlie Ingalls is native to the Bay Area in California. She is a pioneer in blogging, having self-published online since 1997. Her style is loose, experimental, and a journey in stream of consciousness. Works include personal essay, prose, short fictional stories, and a memoir in progress. Thank you for taking a moment of your time to visit. Beware of the occasional falling opinions. For editing services: http://www.rainfallpress.com/

My Former Self

Many, many moons ago, in a studio far... far... - okay, not so far away... there was a girl who dreamed that she was going to entertain the masses with her honeyed voice and rock 'n roll charms. 

90.5 KVHS is a local legend 'round these parts.  Boasting a huge audience (hundreds of thousands) for such a tiny little non-commercial station, I'm a proud member of its rich history. 

Below are two pieces I've written and voice samples at the bottom of the page.  I hope you enjoy listening to them, at least half as much as I enjoyed creating them!


My Personal Radio

From a very young age, I’ve been infatuated with radio..  A girl all of about fourteen years old, I would stay up late listening to the local station in secret, and had such a crush on the evening show jock!  Having a “mature” sounding voice, I would call to laugh and giggle and talk with him, and when I gave the lie of being eighteen, he seemed to believe me.  He would play songs for me with coded messages – like when he found out how much I loved Don Henley – “I just found out a little bit ago that All She Wants To Do Is Dance… and now she wants to dance with me!”  I was so in love.
            Over the next decade, I would develop several crushes on several disc jockeys, and became a full-fledged groupie.  To me, it was the most fabulous thing, being able to play music for a living.  And there was hardly a song ever recorded that I didn’t know.  To be able to give people a moment, a time to reflect or rejoice or just to cut loose, perhaps a moment to fall in love – that was a gift.
            Not only did I fall for so many of the men on the airwaves, but would listen avidly to the love song dedication show in the evenings, feeling the joy and sadness in every tale that was told.  Susan Leigh Taylor was her name.  She inspired me to want to do the same for all of the listeners of radio out there.  A very sage woman, always with just the right no-nonsense answers and the infinite patience to listen to your story.  One day, I finally worked up the courage to call her, and arranged an interview with her for a paper I was writing.  Susan was extremely kind, taking the time to show me around the station as well as answer my endless questions.  I was in awe.  She was with K101 at the time, and has since moved on to KCBS news and talk radio. 
            Soon becoming friendly with Roger Collins over at KYA, the “oldies” station.  I would call and make requests that he’d use as filler on his show – claimed I was his best listener and would put me on the air frequently.  Working at a comedy club at the time, I would trade tickets in a barter for picking his brain on the industry.  He was very funny and charming, an older man who’d been around and had lots to tell.  One could even say that our banter back and forth on his show was the start of my (short) career.  He would coach me on what to say, how to listen for the lead in of the song, etc.  Unfortunately, KYA went the way of many great Bay Area stations of the time, and he moved on to another market.
            Then, one fateful night, a call came from KKIS, a station based out of Concord.  There had been a contest, to be a DJ for a day, and I’d won!  I was going to be on the air for an entire show with one of their personalities!  It was so exciting.  That was the night I met Anthony Patterson.  He was a wonderful jock – so full of life, very talented and engaging.  Anthony guided me through a very successful evening of radio entertainment, and I would find out many years later that I’d been a hit!  Listeners called in to enthusiastically ask “who’s the new girl?” 
He and I were to become good friends after that, for a while.  I was going through a rough time and he was there through that, something I will never forget. 
            Anthony is the one that encouraged me to forge ahead and jump into the broadcasting waters.  Without him, I’d never have embarked upon that journey. So many hours spent in that studio with him, as he taught me how to run equipment and the language of the industry.  I can still see him be-bopping around the studio, singing songs and making up his own words.  Those were some of the best nights ever, to this day.  By the time that KKIS went off the air, many of the staff had become my friends, and the night that they went off the air was an emotional farewell for me.
            Upon Anthony’s advice, I did begin to research just how to get into this wonderful, magical field of radio.  There was a cable station in Walnut Creek, in the day when there was a trade-school out there for just about any career you could think of.  The station was KCRK, and they had an in-house school but it was a very hefty tuition, so this option was out of my reach. 
            I knew of another training station, operated through the ROP (Regional Occupational Program) through the school district.  It was a live radio station that was run by a faculty advisor and a staff made up of students, sixteen years and above.  My older sister had participated in the program many years before, back when she was in high school.  My application for the class was accepted; I was now twenty-three years old. 
            I leapfrogged through the class at KVHS right from the beginning.  There were three departments to be run: Operations, Programming, and Technical.  The management positions were assigned by the advisor, and to be taken seriously just as in any operating radio station.  First year students, as a rule, were never put into management.  Within two months of being in the class, I went from new student, to editor of the station newsletter, to on-air talent, then to Operations Manager.  It was thrilling, to say the least.  Remaining in that position for the next two years, I left a few proud legacies – including a tradition of doing a toy drive each holiday at a live broadcast.  I developed a following of listeners into becoming one of the most popular personalities of the station’s history, and was perfectly at home talking through a microphone at a half-million listeners on any given day.  Our numbers rivaled that of any commercial station in the Bay Area.
            After two years, I had to leave the program.  Indecision faced me at that point, as broadcasting was beginning to see a wave of change that would include the monopolies overtaking it, leaving in its wake the bland, uniform stations you hear today.  Rarely is there anything unique or creative left in radio, it is all shock-jocks and pay-to-play music regulated by the two or three large corporations who’ve overtaken the market.  Even small town stations with creative license are rare to find anymore, with precious few independents left.
            I did end up going back for one more year, but was hit with a blinding vision of just how it was going to be in the bigger market stations, and realized that it wasn’t for me.  The plan to do my year and take my skills to Minnesota, where my friend had just moved, failed miserably. I'd hoped to make a spash in a smaller market rather than trying to go head-first in the Bay Area.  I saw that music was no longer the backbone of the broadcasting industry.  Having a voice was not what cookie cutter stations were looking for now.
            That was ten years ago, and it hasn’t improved any, as far as I can see.  I will so rarely listen to commercial radio anymore.  It just makes me sad.  I remember the days of Bobby Ocean, of Dr. Don Rose.  I recall names like Tom Saunders, Don Bleu, Sylvia Chacon, Saul Vigil, Roger Collins, Pat Finn, Terry McGovern (whom I’d also interviewed), and of course, the legendary Wolfman Jack.  I remember the day I met him – had a shirt signed by him at a doo-wop concert at the local amusement park.  What a treasure that was.  I’m sure I was his youngest fan at just twelve years old in 1983. 
            So, my career in radio was brief, but memorable.  I look back on it fondly as a wondrous time of my life.  It’s fun listening to the old tapes, and it’s a very slow process of digitizing and archiving all of them.  My husband, when we first met, was prepared to set me up with my own internet radio station by building me a studio in the house where we lived, but it was a new format, and the laws were constantly changing, so it wasn’t something to really pursue at the time.  I miss it and it’s a discontented decision. 
            Radio simply isn’t what it was.  Gone are the greats who lived to be a part of your life through their spins.  It’s just a lonely voice file being played over impersonal software that makes the music selections, leaving no power whatsoever to the person introducing the song.  There is no destiny left, no spark when that random song choice of a DJ connects with a special moment in our lives.
I am legendary in some circles for my musical knowledge and that I am proud of.  Music is something to behold for me and I enjoy finding ways to make it a part of my life.  A friend once said to me that “if I were to ever make a soundtrack for my life, you would be the person I would want in charge of it.” 
That is worth more to me than a computer playing back my voice in an empty studio, where the ghost of a disc jockey still lingers. 

© Kymberlie Ingalls, November 17th, 2009

"There are an awful lot of lights on this damn thing!" I thought, looking at the complex mixing board before me.  So many switches - big ones that lit up bright orange, small metal ones that did who the hell knows what. 

In two minutes and thirty-two seconds, and counting down faster than time should be allowed to, I was going to say something into that bulky microphone that would be heard by thousands of listeners.  The CD was whirring in its player, and the red numbers counted down the seconds.  I felt like someone watching and waiting for the ticking bomb to reach its exploding point only to discover it was too late to run. 

Fumbling to ready the next disc, I had no idea how long the bed of music was that I could talk over before the singing began.  Sure you do, I chided myself.  You've practiced this a million times at home!  But that was with songs I knew by heart, not this stuff like Metallica, or Slayer...?  Who really likes this kind of music..?!  What the hell am I doing here?

One minute, ten seconds.  Crap. was all I could think.  The song was wailing to a close.  Oh man!  I'm up!  CRAP!  Is this the right switch??  Ah, hell, here goes nothing!  Flicking the black knob and pushing the volume slide up high, I pulled the microphone close to me on its boom that was mounted to the wall.  The groan of its old joints resounded loudly, causing me to blush profusely and it felt as though every listener there ever was could see right into the studio.  I pressed onward.

"That's classic Zeppelin you just heard, and like Robert Plant, I'm here to share All Of My Love with each... and every.. one of you."  I slowly punctuated the words with drops of dew.  "This is 90.5, KVHS, your only real rock!  Stick with me, and I promise..."  My tiny little bit of confidence began to swell. "I'll make those rock 'n roll fantasies come true.." "

KVHS - The Midnight Rider - Aircheck Sample
 This dates back to 1996, when I was on the air and preparing a tape for my big commercial broadcasting debut.  KVHS actually didn't play half of these songs, but I wanted to show my wide range of format possibilities. 

The KVHS Sign-Off
I got so tired of reading the end-of-the-day-sign-off, so I created this one night in I think a drunken haze... pretty wild stuff!    ;-)

KVHS - The Midnight Rider Promo
Again with the mixing of all sorts of music... these haven't been preserved too well, but it sure brings back memories!  My editing skills are much improved.

KVHS - The Midnight Rider - Promo / True Witch
I swear, there were so many drunken nights in that studio...   ;-)

KVHS - The Midnight Rider - Valentine's Day Promo
Again, not too well preserved.  Guess I got a little porny that night...   :-X