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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


Bob Kern
photo courtesy KFMJ
convention in Anchorage Friday night.

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 some prizes.

"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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