Mike Ray and
The Varsity Show

by Mary Jane Dougherty

Michael Dougherty (Mike Ray)

Michael Dougherty (Mike Ray)

The following is from an interview by Mary of Anchorage Memories with Michael Dougherty of Anchorage Memories, known as Mike Ray when he hosted The Varsity Show.

Anchorage Memories – Mary:

How about this for some Varsity Show trivia?

So happy for me to be married to Mike, which made this interview fun and easy.

We recently celebrated our 51st Wedding Anniversary.

This was a great honor and privilege to interview Mike Dougherty (Mike Ray).

So, turn on your favorite tunes, grab a bottle of pop and your dancin' shoes.

Anchorage Memories – Mary:

Rehearsal is over Mike Ray, Action!

I know you hosted The Varsity Show from The 1960s to 1970. What was your first job in broadcasting?


In 1965, when I was at East High School, I auditioned for and became part of the camera crew on The Varsity Show on KTVA Channel 11 in Anchorage.

Anchorage Memories – Mary:

Did you have a Mentor?


Yes, I had several. KTVA Engineers Jeff Bowden, Dick Goshorn, Frank Butte, who was a really accomplished photographer and cinematographer, and Ron Moore. They helped train me during the summer of 1965 for the Varsity Show camera crew.

The training was hard, but I loved every minute of it because I wanted to be a professional television videographer.

Later on, in 1980, I won an Emmy Award for my camera work and I owe that in part to Jeff, Dick, and Frank for working with me.

Anchorage Memories – Mary:

Do you remember the first time you hosted the Varsity Show, or the first song you introduced?


One Saturday, Ron Moore was not available to host the show. So, the producers decided to choose four teens from The Varsity Show crew to each host 15 minutes of the show.

They selected 3 people who did the live commercials on the show to host the first 45 minutes.

Then, much to my surprise, they picked me to host the last 15 minutes of the show.

Remember, I wasn't part of the on-camera show crew. I was behind-the-scenes as part of the camera crew.

But when my turn for “15 minutes of fame” arrived, my time in front of the camera came off really well. I even had to do a live interview with four cheerleaders from East High.

At that time, I had no idea that I would one day be hosting the show.

Anchorage Memories – Mary:

While hosting The Varsity Show, were there any blunders?



One Saturday I came to the studio and was informed that I needed to do a live car commercial.

So, we rehearsed the car commercial before the show went live and as we rehearsed, I wrote what I was supposed to say on the palm of my left hand.

Why I didn't use cue cards I'll never know.

Then, when it was time to do the commercial, I quickly looked at the palm of my hand.

But I had perspired, and the words had come off my hand. I quickly began ad libbing, but what I said didn't match what we had rehearsed. The show director was not amused.

Anchorage Memories – Mary:

What would you like to say to “The Royal Coachman”, Ron Moore, who also hosted The Varsity Show?


A great big thank you, Ron, for giving me the opportunity to work with you in the Chicken Coop, high atop the Bun Drive-In on The Coke Show. Your smooth delivery, and the way you handled all the elements of the show, made an impression on me.

And my time working on the Coke Show with Ron, and Jerry Rose, helped my broadcast career.

Anchorage Memories Mary:

Do you have any advice for someone who wants a career in broadcasting?


Be a sponge. Learn everything you can. Stay Humble and work hard, very hard.

And always remember that it's always about the audience.

Anchorage Memories – Mary

This was indeed an honor and a pleasure to interview Mike Dougherty (Mike Ray) from The Varsity Show.

I hope you all had fun going down memory lane.

From the author, “If you have a dream, pursue it. If you have an idea, run with it. Keep on dancin!”


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With a foreword by Ron Moore, you'll love this look back at Anchorage's live teen TV dance show.

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