Kern Inducted Into Alaska
Broadcasters Association "Hall of Fame"
October 28, 2003
Tuesday - 1:00 am
Ketchikan, Alaska - Ketchikan radio personality and pioneer broadcaster
Bob Kern was inducted into the Alaska Broadcasters Association
"Hall of Fame" at the Association's annual
convention in Anchorage
photo courtesy KFMJ
The Association cited Kern for his more-than 4 decades of broadcast
and media service.
Kern founded and built Ketchikan
radio station KFMJ in 1997, and does the station's "Fats
and Gang" morning show, in addition to acting as the station's
manager. Kern is also co-publisher of The Local Paper and has
several other local business interests.
Kern first came to Ketchikan in 1964, as a radio operator at
the Coast Guard Radio Station at Point Higgins. He was first
heard on Ketchikan radio station KTKN in 1965.
After his discharge from the Coast Guard and stints in radio
and TV stations in Juneau, Chicago, and Washington, DC., he returned
to Ketchikan in 1969. Kern worked for KTKN as morning show personality,
news director, and engineer. He later helped establish public
station KRBD and served as that station's first manager. Prior
to service in the Coast Guard, he worked at radio stations in
Chicago, and Beloit, Wisconsin.
Kern credits his mother with fostering his life-long interest
in radio. "I got my first radio license when I was 13,
but ever since I was a toddler," Kern says, "I've been
fascinated by radio."
During World War II, Kern's father was in the Navy in the South
Pacific, while his mother worked at a defense plant making walkie-talkies.
It was the "Golden Age" of radio, and most big Chicago
radio stations had theater-style studios, live programming and
orchestras, and big-name stars.
"Money was tight and movies were expensive, but you could
get into radio quiz show audiences for free," Kern said,
"So, for some cheap entertainment, my mom and her friends
would drag us kids down to WGN or whichever station was doing
a show on a particular night."
Kern said the women would occasionally get on the air and win
"Mostly they just won dishes or silverware, but I can vividly
remember one time - I think I was about 4 - when my mom won a
washing machine on the "Hint Hunt" quiz show and we
had to get the thing home on the street car," he laughed.
The Alaska Broadcasters Association "Hall of Fame"
includes such Alaska broadcast pioneers as Alvin O. Bramstead,
Sr., Augie Heibert, Dennis Egan, Senator Ted Stevens, Herb Shaindlin,
Steve Agbaba, and others.
"I feel honored, grateful, and very humble to have my name
added to the list of people who've helped shape Alaska broadcasting
over the last 75 years or so," Kern said.
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