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Bob Lind, Published September 14 2010

Lind: Voices from radio’s past

Many people knew Lem Hawkins.

Or at least they felt they knew him.

Larry Gauper, Fargo, really did know this popular radio personality. Larry worked with him at KXGO (now KFGO).

Mention of Lem (whose real name was Earl King) in a Neighbors column awhile ago led Larry to write in about him. “We worked in that Channel 4 building at 4000 W. Main Ave., Fargo,” he says.

“Lem was quite a character,” but in a good way, Larry says. And of course, he and many others remember Lem’s trademark song promoting auto dealer W.W. Wallwork: “There’s a car for you and a truck there, too, at W.W. Wallwork.”

This photo of Lem was sent in by Everett Brust, Fargo, who found it among his mother’s photos. She and his dad, Everett says, were great fans of Lem.

Radio from afar

Arnold Jorgenson, Fargo, writes that when he was a boy in Cando, N.D., in the 1940s, he often listened to the radio, especially those stations playing country and folk music.

At night, stations from beyond the area could be pulled in, Arnold says, such as KRLD, Dallas; KCMO, Kansas City, Mo.; CKRC, Winnipeg; WCCO, Minneapolis; and WLS, Chicago.

Arnold learned to play the harmonica when he was a youngster by playing along with songs he heard on the radio.

Today, he can’t read music, but he can still kick out a tune from memory on his harmonica, except for one thing: flats. They give him trouble. But otherwise, Arnold can entertain you with songs he remembers from his days back in Cando.

The voice of Rollag

Now, here’s the voice of Rollag, Minn., i.e., the voice of the annual Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion.

He’s Virgil Gunnarson, Lake Park, Minn., who gives the public address announcements at the reunion.

This time, Virgil isn’t talking steam threshers; he’s talking about former WDAY radio personalities.

Like Ralph Schultz, the weather man. “My siblings and I used to hear him at 7:30 a.m. as we walked out the door to meet the school bus,” Virgil writes. “His voice was unique in the true sense of the word.

“Then, who should replace him but Vern Hendrickson, another unmistakable voice.

“Then came Dewey Bergquist, who became an institution of the air waves all by himself.”

Virgil says he appreciates reading items about area people of the past. But then, many people who attend the reunion at Rollag appreciate Virgil; he just provided announcements there and, with his wife, Inadel, manned the information booth for the 27th straight year. Virgil figures he’s now making announcements for grandchildren of kids who heard his first ones in 1983.

If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107; fax it to 241-5487; or e-mail blind@forumcomm.com