Retired — but not quite: Radio personality Ole Olson hangs up full time after 48 yearsIn his 48 years with radio station KSJB Ole Olson has seen and done a lot. He’s seen thousands of Class B basketball games, remembers in detail the blizzard of ’66 and even helped deliver two babies, all while behind the microphone.
By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun
In his 48 years with radio station KSJB Ole Olson has seen and done a lot. He’s seen thousands of Class B basketball games, remembers in detail the blizzard of ’66 and even helped deliver two babies, all while behind the microphone.
Now as a semi-retired radio personality, Olson, whose real name is Norman Kidd, will have more time to reflect on his decades of radio in Jamestown.
Olson still recalls March 2, 1966, barely making it to work, people knocking snow down with jackhammers and shoveling it away from their windows.
It was during the blizzard when Olson got a call while on air from a family at a rural farmhouse, with a wife in labor. Olson got in touch with a doctor and relayed the information back to the farm — not just once, but on two separate occasions with different couples.
“It was an interesting career,” Olson said. “I still miss it in a way.”
He officially retired from full-time radio on Sept. 28.
Every winter Olson called about 100 Class B basketball games, which he will continue to do along with the occasional fill-in shift and remote broadcast.
“One of the biggest things that I liked the most was doing Class B basketball,” he said.
Basketball also provided an opportunity to “get off the clock” for Olson. A midnight return home after he called a Class B game meant he wouldn’t be on the air come 5 a.m.
“There’s a lot of it I’ll miss,” he said. “I’ve just enjoyed it so much during my career.”
Olson has even been wined and dined in Nashville, Tenn., when country music record executives were pushing their new songs. Olson was music director at KSJB from 1967 to 1984, and was in touch with numerous record labels.
“The more reports they could get a station playing it the better chance a record could become a hit,” he said of record companies.
KSJB switched from a rock format to a country format in 1968. One of the biggest changes Olson recalls is how the country genre has changed. He called new country music “semi-pop.”
Olson also dislikes how stations now use content from a satellite service instead of local disc jockeys.
“Some of it I think is great, and some if it I don’t think is that great at all,” he said of changes in the radio industry.
Now in semi-retirement, Olson no longer has to “live by the clock,” as time is an important factor for a DJ who manages a schedule of songs, advertisements and more on air.
“Basically you’re owned by the clock and you have to work around that to fit your personality in there somewhere,” he said.
Even though Olson plans to keep working at the radio station part time, he’s looking for something to fill the rest of his time.
“I’m still going to look around and find something to do a couple days a week, just to break up the monotony,” he said.
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by email at email@example.com