Ron Moore and
The Varsity Show
by Mary Jane Dougherty
As in any story there is someone who does something extraordinary.
That is precisely what Mr. August G “Augie” Hiebert did back in 1953.
As President of Northern Television KTVA Ch 11 in Anchorage, Alaska. Mr. Hiebert came up with a “golden” idea for High School students.
His idea for “The Varsity Show” was for High School students to work behind the scenes and in front of the cameras during the school season every Saturday. Some of the local DJ's hosted the show over the years.
Mr. Hiebert came up with this idea because he wanted to help the youth get hands-on experience and a start in broadcasting. The “Varsity Show” was a live one-hour weekly teen dance program, and you had to audition for a particular job.
The show was broadcast during the school season every Saturday from The 1950s, The 1960s and into The 1970s.
Recently, I had the great honor and privilege of interviewing Ron “the Royal Coachman” Moore.
So, turn on your favorite tunes, grab a bottle of soda pop and your dancin' shoes.Anchorage Memories – Mary:
3,2,1. Take it away Ron, “The Royal Coachman” Moore.
I know you hosted the Varsity Show from the 1950s to the 1960s. What was your first job in broadcasting?Ron
As a sophomore in high school, I was asked to take information weekly about my school to Howard Miller, Chicago's leading DJ and one of the first in the country to play popular music.
So, eventually, Howard had me read those headlines on the air.
My first paid job was as a teenager in Anchorage on KBYR each Saturday afternoon playing popular records on Teen Time.Anchorage Memories – Mary:
Did you have a Mentor?Ron
I had great Mentors.
Howard Miller WIND Chicago. He gave me things to practice like reading news copy with a dice in my mouth until my jaw would drop off and then take the dice out and read again.
Even after I left Chicago, he had me tape broadcasts on KBYR, and he would review and send the cassette back with his comments.
Robert “Steamboat” Fulton: KBYR DJ, Salesman and Engineer.
Robert was an advisor for a teen club in Anchorage and heard that I had been interested in Radio, so he had the management at KBYR give me 2 hours on Saturday to do Teen Time.
He would be in the studio waiting to bail me out if I ran into trouble.
Augie Hiebert – My first job for Augie was as the only adult on The Varsity Show, and it became my first experience with Television.
Years later (1970) he hired me as a consultant to re-direct KBYR's programming into a successful Top 40 Format.
A year later, he hired me full time as Station Manager. That was followed by Manager of KNIK-FM, News Anchor KTVA Eyewitness News, Muzak Manager, Manager of Alaska Video Center and Radio Shack, Sales Manager KTVA, Vice President Northern Television and in 1985 named me President and GM of NTV, Northern Television.
Augie was like a second father to me and supported my broadcasting career all the way. Anchorage Memories – Mary:
Do you remember your first show or the song you introduced? Ron
Teen Time on KBYR Radio in 1954 (Wasn't owned by Augie at the time) but I became Manager and eventually President of the station.
The theme song was Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum by Sauter Finegan.
One of the first songs I played was Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White by Perez Prado.
I was the first to play Rock and Roll in Anchorage, including the first to play Rock Around The Clock and Elvis and The Beatles.Anchorage Memories – Mary:
While hosting The Varsity Show, were there any blunders?Ron
There were many, as you well know, being live and with teens doing most of the show.
Early on we had all the records from the radio station in an actual Juke Box. And more than once I would really build up a hot new single and when I pushed the button on the Juke Box the wrong song came up.
One December I was in a head on collision in my Corvette on Northern Lights Blvd when this drunk came across the road. It put me in the hospital with broken ribs, and bruised right side of my face and The Royal Coach totaled.
When I was released from the hospital, the owner of KFQD was there and said he had called Augie to have me do The Varsity Show the next day so, the media would calm down about a local DJ being involved in a head-on collision in a Corvette.
They spent the entire show shooting me leaning on the Juke Box turning my left side to the camera. Oh, Well.Anchorage Memories – Mary:
What would you like to say to Mike Ray who also hosted?Ron
Mike, the above dedication in hosting The Varsity Show wasn't my fondest memory. Some of those memories stem from seeing men like yourself that played a key role in the show and becoming very successful broadcasters and businessmen.
There were others that chose broadcasting or a field closely related, but you managed to make it a big part of your life and that is gratifying to me.Anchorage Memories – Mary:
What would you like to say to Jerry Rose (Peter Bie) who also hosted?Ron
Peter, I hope you know how much I admired your on the air style and personality.
Your knowledge of music and promotion were second to none and I relied on you always to get the job done. Examples of how I turned to you regularly would be the hours (upon hours) we spent, after hours combining the KNIK control room, because it was in stereo, and the production room to produce the first and then updated History of Rock N Roll.
They sold out every foot of blank take in Anchorage.
Your days in News and now your life in the Ministry are all signs of the professional and sincere person that I always admired. God Bless.Anchorage Memories – Mary:
Do you have any advice for anyone wanting a career in Broadcasting?Ron
Broadcasting as a career today is still an exciting prospect, but the days of being a DJ, Salesman PD, Voice Over, Engineer, GM are gone.
You have to specialize.
The internet has revolutionized radio with thousands of podcasters.
Television is still open for local and network talent, especially in News, Sports, and Weather. Anchorage Memories – Mary:
This was indeed an honor and a pleasure to interview Ron “The Royal Coachman” Moore from The Varsity Show.
I hope you all had fun going down memory lane and knowing that “a bit of golden” can go along way.
From the author, “If you have a dream, pursue it. If you have an idea, run with it. Keep on dancin!”
BONUSGet your FREE Varsity Show Book
With a foreword by Ron Moore, you'll love this look back at Anchorage's live teen TV dance show.
Click here for your free Varsity Show Book