Anchorage Radio DJ
by Michael R Dougherty
The following is from an interview with Anchorage radio personality Les Snow, who's real name is Gene Miner.Anchorage Memories – Mike and Mary:
When and where was your first job in radio?Les Snow:
After graduating from Brown University of Broadcasting and Engineering, I returned home to Bismarck, North Dakota.
Brown offered a placement service where you could select a state, they would write to all the radio stations in that state and wait for a reply.
I was not interested in waiting because my father employed over 40 painters engaged in commercial painting of schools, hospitals and churches, affording me the opportunity to work for him, earning a living while seeking a job in broadcasting.
I was having coffee early one morning in a local establishment in Bismarck and overheard a conversation in the next booth regarding a job for a part-time weekend radio person.
The gentlemen were discussing their concerns about the training; how to run the board, picking up the national news at the top of the hour, etc.
I interrupted the conversation, introduced myself and told them about my training in Minneapolis. The radio station, KQDI was a top 40 format for one half hour, then easy listening for another half hour and big band for another half hour throughout the day.
I was hired and loved every minute of just being in the studios and involved in broadcasting.Anchorage Memories – Mike and Mary:
What brought you to Anchorage?Les Snow:
I was working for a 50,000 watt radio station in Seattle, WA called KING and heard from one of the other announcers that a radio station (KBYR) in Anchorage was looking for a morning personality.
As I had been stationed at Elmendorf AFB while serving in the military, the move was very attractive to me because I loved Alaska. The announcer gave me the number to call. I spoke to Ron Moore for some length and expressed my interest, and he hired me over the phone.Anchorage Memories – Mike and Mary:
When did you first meet Ron Moore?Les Snow:
I met Ron upon my arrival at Anchorage International Airport in the fall of 1971. I don’t recall exactly what car he had. But I believe it was a Mustang. Ron loved his cars!
Ron Moore was Mr. Radio, personified.
He knew more about radio than I would ever learn in a lifetime.
All of his staff were amazed at the depth of his knowledge of radio; how to keep listeners, holding their interest, how to run contests… he was remarkable!
A quick story;
Ron worked as a DJ at KENI when they were located in the basement of the 4th Avenue Theater. This was the late 60s, and he owned a black Corvette.
His radio shift was afternoon drive, which means he would be on the air from 2 to 6 PM. As Ron was telling me with a grin on his face, he would leave for work an hour and a half before his shift.
The reason was he had to park in front of the 4th Avenue Theater and being public parking, it was limited to 30 minutes. So, around the block he would go until the parking spot become available again.
He confided in me at one time he circled the block 25 times. His reasoning was, “when they see my car they know I am on the air”. He was a great self-promoter and yes, he got parking tickets!Anchorage Memories – Mike and Mary:
What other radio personalities did you work with at KBYR?Les Snow:
I worked with Ron Moore, Jerry Rose (aka Peter Bie), Jerry Hood, Steve London, Jerry Valley, Jack Frost (aka Richard Dosset) and Gene Shedlock.Anchorage Memories – Mike and Mary:
How did you come up with your on-air name “Les Snow”?Les Snow:
My given name is Gene Miner and I had just gotten on air at KBYR.
We had not yet come up with a name, as another announcer’s name was Gene Shedlock.
Because they couldn’t have two Genes' on air, in a conversation one afternoon, someone said they hoped we would have less snow this winter… Bingo, I had my on-air name “Les Snow”.
The next spring, Jack Frost was on air promoting my on-air show.
He was unable to remember my last name so to give him time to think he said Lester (pause) (pause) Peter Aloysius (pause) Snow. The full name stuck and over the next 25 years I was known as Lester Peter Aloysius Snow.Anchorage Memories – Mike and Mary:
Do you still listen to the radio?Les Snow:
I do. I listen to a Christian radio station in Tampa, Florida.Anchorage Memories – Mike and Mary:
What would you like to say to all your radio show fans from your radio days in Anchorage?Les Snow:
I absolutely loved every minute in Alaska and all the wonderful friends I made over the years. God bless each one of you.
Your friend in Broadcasting… Lester Peter Aloysius Snow.