One Obvious Key to Success

Coming up with original ideas has been an important part of my life. As a radio programmer, graphic designer, writer and musician – coming up with new, innovative ideas has paved the way to my successes. Why then do I have a cat named “Kitty?” Why not “Fluffball,” or “Dandelion?” The reason is she adopted us. She walked out from a horse barn and followed me and my dog Roy home.  We had seen her before, calling her “Kitty” or sometimes “KittyRead more

Plates of Many Colors

In mid-October and early November an ever increasing number of snowbirds return to their winter habitat, flying and driving south to escape the winter chills of Ohio, Illinois, Canada, and other cold places. There are those who divide their time fifty-fifty between their northern haunts and the warmer climes. There are others who come south for just two or three months. They are spotted most often in November and December. By January they tend to take on more of the traits ofRead more

Brainshowers Returns!

Pour the champagne! Break out the confetti! Call your local news outlet. Starting tomorrow watch for an updated repeat one of our all time favorite posts – timely and funny. Then, down the line, join our site for a periodic, yet ongoing stream of unconscious and sometimes thoughtful, even poignant meanderings of redoubted broadcaster, artist, writer, and musician… me, Bill Vancil. Thanks to all who’ve requested we resume this time-consuming. yet sometimes germane blog. We have resisted the temptation toRead more

Memorable Ride from the Temple

The Masonic Temple in Davenport, Iowa has been the venue for many concerts over the years. It’s an ominous building, looks like a government structure, concrete top to bottom. Some claim that today it is haunted. A lot of the concerts back in the 1960s were promoted by the owner of KSTT, the radio station where I worked as program director, so I emceed many of the shows, introducing people like Johnny Mathis, Steve and Eydie, Andy Williams, The Mamas and TheRead more

Friends ’til the Record Runs Out

In mid-1968 I left my job as program director of KSTT radio in Davenport, Iowa to take a similar job at a station in Washington, D.C. It didn’t take long for me to know that I did not want to live there. I returned to Davenport and took a job selling mutual funds. That didn’t work out, mainly because of my selling technique. “You don’t want to buy any mutual funds do you?” just wasn’t a good approach. So, afterRead more

Man’s 18-Millionth Greatest Invention

On the list of man’s twenty-million greatest inventions, this ranked number 18,004,600. It’s called clam shell packaging. You know the kind. Hard plastic, pressure-wrapped around almost anything from thumb tacks to hair dryers. Without proper tools, it is virtually impossible to open within a reasonable amount of time without hurting yourself, or breaking into an uncontrollable sweat. Great minds have tried to figure out why such packaging is necessary. If it is to prevent theft, wouldn’t someone just steal theRead more

From Lucy to Sheldon and Beyond.

It is hard to believe that well over half a century has passed since Ozzie and Harriet and I Love Lucy were on TV every week. That was in the ’50s. I watched them, as a young child of course. Today, one can be of any age and be familiar with shows of any era, thanks to cable re-runs, DVDs, and old people talking about them. Let’s move up a decade. There was The Andy Griffith Show,Read more

Getting Pasted at the Pharmacy

Aquafresh, Gleem, Colgate, Crest, Aim, Pepsodent, and. . .there are so many more. Endless rows, shelf after shelf, box after box, lining the drug store and supermarket aisles. How many different kinds of toothpaste can there possibly be? And, how many different variations? Whitening, decay preventing, sensitive, gel, mint, mint gel, striped, fluoride, and so on. Toothpaste has been around for more than a hundred years, yet somehow the different brands keep coming out as “new and improved.” How many timesRead more

Career Detour: Through a Scary House

In 1968 there was a brief interruption in my radio career. I left my job at KSTT to sell mutual funds for a company called Investors Diversified Services (IDS). After a few months of trying to sell funds, I found the training boring, the job generally uninteresting. As a result, I didn’t get many people to invest. It didn’t take long to realize I should have stayed in radio. However, there was one shining moment in as a mutual fund salesman thatRead more

Play That “New” Jingle Again

My neighbor had been complaining for weeks that his golf game kept getting worse. Shank to the left, shank to the right. Chip from the rough. Putt, putt, putt. Then one morning, when I stopped over for coffee, he announced “I had a great game yesterday, with my new clubs. . .” His old clubs were perfectly good. And, the set before that as well. But, sometimes golf clubs just stop working. The whole set. No good. Enter the new andRead more

Shades of Early Learning

Many people remember a favorite grade school teacher, one they liked the most and often paid attention to. I would venture that if you’ll think back, and decide which teacher was your favorite, you would find it was one who also influenced your life more than others. I was trying to  remember the names of all my grade school teachers. I remembered most of them. Taking this a bit further, I tried to remember what the classrooms looked like, and recall certain events,Read more

Conquering the Catalinas

From our home in Marana, near Tucson, we have a view of Mt. Lemmon, the highest point in the Catalina Mountains – over 9,000 feet. Since we moved here nearly three years ago, we have talked of driving up to Summerhaven, a small town near the summit. Andrea and I started the assent once a couple of years ago, but part way up we both became a little shaky about the curving roads with seemingly steep drop offs. We didn’tRead more

Two Troublesome Times

During the first three and a half months of 2010, I never lifted a snow shovel, scraped a windshield or tossed salt on the driveway. I spent the first 106 days of the year in the University of Wisconsin Hospitals Transplant Clinic. I had been in desperate need of a new liver. I got a good one, followed by an extended period of physical therapy. Now, nearly six years later I’m doing fine. In a number of ways, having a transplantRead more

Contest Winner’s Secret Revealed

Cabbage Patch dolls and Compact Discs were introduced in 1983, the year Magic 98 in Madison, Wisconsin debuted with morning man, Pat O’Neill. He’s still on the air at Magic and during that more than thirty year span he has said an estimated 12,600 times, “Be the ninth caller.” Contests are an important part of any successful station’s format, and Pat has run a lot of them. What triggers listeners to dive for their phone and call? It could be a triviaRead more