A Tribute to Les Brown
Longtime engineer and volunteer Les Brown dedicated many years to serving the people of Western Alaska on the midnight airwaves. His last prerecorded shows played out a month after his passing. For a last hurrah, KNOM aired a tribute to Les during his usual 12-1 a.m. show time. It featured highlights and memories of his time at KNOM, background on his life, and prerecorded stories from Les.
Listen to the memorial show below.
This hour-long tribute show that originally aired on KNOM, Jan. 14 and 15 has been edited for copyright purposes and may not include the same content as the original show.
Photo at top: Engineer Les Brown in KNOM Radio’s Studio C, August 2011. Photo: David Dodman, KNOM.
i listen to the midnight oil show very often when i get home after work. the music eases my end of day to start another with music. thank you
Thank you for offering this to the world. Les is one of the most memorable characters that I have ever met.
The Les Brown radio story that I find myself repeating most often starts with something to the effect of: “I know with a high amount of precision what the internal temperature of a raven is.”
One of the features of computer automation is the ability to announce a current temperature, even when the station is running on automation and no one is there to read a thermometer. To make that happen, there is a temperature probe mounted on the FM tower next to KNOM, connected by wire to a thing inside which in turns talks to the computer. The announcers who wanted to use this feature (Tom Busch and Les) recorded themselves saying every conceivable temperature that Nome might experience, and the computer then finds the correct temperature at the moment it is requested, and plays that audio file.
So Les was listening to his own voice-tracked show early one chilly winter morning, and heard a recorded version of himself saying “it’s 94 degrees in Nome.” This got him worried that, at best, the system was malfunctioning, or at worst, the radio station was on fire. So he rushed over to the station, and after thankfully seeing that the building was not on fire, he looked up on the FM tower towards the temperature probe. There he saw a raven, all fluffed up and snuggled in right on top of the probe. He then gave the raven some privacy and went about his day. Raven is ever the trickster.
May the legend of Les Brown live on.
It was nice to hear the tribute to Les Brown on KNOM. He was such fun and so thoughtful. He had stories for everything. It’s hard to compress 50 years of what he did for KNOM into 26 minutes (or even an hour in the original playing). I’m hoping you will be able to have more stories and vignettes of Les Brown interspersed into your radio shows in the future. We need More Les Brown, or maybe just More or Les Brown stories. He had that Golden baritone voice that made listening to him a joy especially at night, if that voice didn’t put you to sleep, nothing would.