Tag Archives: Assistant Sports Director

1941, The Year Everything Changed

Les Keiter, just before graduation, in his ZBT Fraternity house

First job:   Following his graduation from University of Washington, Les Keiter got a job as a summer relief announcer on KGA Radio in Spokane, Washington.   On July 1st, 1941, Les was officially on the air!  His  first duties ever as a broadcaster were reading program notes between shows, reading news breaks, station identifications, etc.  After he had been on the job for 3 or 4 days, the program director brought Les into his office and said, ”You’ll never make it in this business.  If I were you, I’d learn to drive a truck or something.”  Les had a 2-month iron-clad contract for July and August of 1941, so he felt safe for 7 more weeks, at least.

Second job:  Les got a call from J. Elroy McCaw, who would employ Les many times throughout his career.  He owned KELA radio in the twin cities of Centralia-Chehalis, WA and heard Les on the air.  He hired Les to start September 1st to break him in as Assistant Sports Director.  So, in his Model A Ford, Keiter drove with his parents to Centralia-Chehalis. The next morning, Les began his 2nd radio job, which included sweeping the place!  So, finally, in the fall of 1941, Les Keiter began to learn the real ropes of the business.

Les Keiter (left) on the job at KELA. Other photographees unknown





Then, of course his world and everyone’s dramatically changed forever.  2 months in to Keiter’s second job, December 7th, 1941, Japan bombed Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. KELA was taken off the air the next day, as were most west coast stations, because of the anticipated invasion of the Pacific Coast by the Imperial Forces of Japan.