Radio breakfast companion ends 55-year run: KNOX’s Jim Bollman retires, looks forward to sleeping in after not taking sick day since 1957A fly buzzed the control board, a hearing aid buzzed his ear, a mysterious cough persisted and the studio temperature grew uncomfortable because of a malfunctioning air conditioner. But, in short order, Jim Bollman had matters under control early Tuesday morning, just before the start of his last day as “the morning man” at KNOX-1310 AM.
By: By Ryan Bakken , Forum Communications, The Jamestown Sun
GRAND FORKS — A fly buzzed the control board, a hearing aid buzzed his ear, a mysterious cough persisted and the studio temperature grew uncomfortable because of a malfunctioning air conditioner.
But, in short order, Jim Bollman had matters under control early Tuesday morning, just before the start of his last day as “the morning man” at KNOX-1310 AM.
Bollman slew the fly with a clap of his hands, adjusted his earpiece, magically shook off the nagging cough and ignored the studio’s rising temperature as he went on the air at 5:59:30 a.m.
No surprise there. The 77-year-old has a reputation for dependability built on working 55 years in radio, the last 45 of them in Grand Forks. The last sick day he used was in 1957. He once suffered a softball injury that broke several bones in his face, but instead used vacation time to recover, keeping intact his sick day-free streak.
“We never have to be concerned about that (6 to 9 a.m.) time period,” said Jarrod Thomas, KNOX operations manager. “When you have a legend working the mornings, it gives you a lot of comfort.
“People know what they’re going to get from Jim. And they like that.”
Getting the basics
Listeners repeatedly get sports scores, time-and-temperature, weather forecasts and brights from Bollman and information every 15 minutes from News Director Doug Barrett.
“He’s a professional and I will miss our conversations,” Barrett said. “(Morning) listeners want to know the previous night’s scores, what their kids should wear on the way to school and any other information that can jump-start their day.”
Starting today, Bollman’s role will be taken over by current KNOX announcer Denny Johnson.
Bollman has spent most of his work days in Grand Forks in the same studio at KNOX. But he also worked part-time in radio while he sold insurance for a few years. And he went to KCNN when that station held the radio rights to University of North Dakota sports. At both stations, he was the play-by-play announcer for football and basketball while also being the morning man, resulting in long and odd hours, but a familiar and cozy relationship with listeners.
“Jim has a clear, resonant, deep tone — a classic radio voice,” said Scott Swygam, a former radio colleague. “He’s a guy who can be heard from across the room without him talking loudly. And when you’re listening to him on the radio, you feel like he’s talking directly to you.”
Bollman speculated that Tuesday morning’s nuisance cough was a result of conversations during a heavily attended open house thrown in his honor Monday. The event made for a lot of talking “with some people I knew and some people I didn’t know.”
Although many people know Bollman, some only know him by his voice and its comfortable morning presence in their homes. But, starting today, he will no longer need to set his alarm clock for 4:30 a.m. Maybe he will anyway.
“Maybe I’ll still set my alarm for 4:30, just so I can have the satisfaction of turning it off and going back to bed,” he said.
Ryan Bakken is a reporter
at the Grand Forks Herald, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.