During my senior high school year (1949-50) my class was selected to participate in a study being carried out by Dartmouth College to test a new method of measuring career field aptitude known as The Kuder Preference Test. (G. Frederic Kuder 1903-2000.) After a week of written tests and a battery of personal interviews, they shared with us in written form findings, which it was promised, would give us a broad field of career goals which should guide us in those directions for which we should aim in our ongoing education and planning. I was surprised when in my case they requested a personal meeting with their combined staff at its completion. (What could I have done wrong?) They explained that I was unusual in that they could predict with a high degree of confidence and in great specificity that I should be a radio writer, producer and broadcaster. Although admittedly an aficionado of radio, having grown up in the “golden” days of that medium, I laughed inwardly at those academics’ obvious ramblings.
Forty-one years would pass before unexpected circumstances found me behind a microphone – first writing and then voicing radio commercial messages. The first edition of Provident Living aired soon after as a “talk show” on the old KUTR signal, and then for five years on KALL Radio in the Salt Lake Market. Writing, producing and voicing my own weekly program became a natural “second” career track and radio became a love of the first order.
Even before we made the move to Southwest Utah, I made a pitch to program manager Steve Miner, and with only a few modifications, the first iteration of Provident Living – Home & Country hit the airwaves from Cedar City’s KSUB in the closing days of 2002. Now in our 13th year on 590AM, at the 4:00 PM hour every Monday the ear phones go on and I’m back in my radio home, listening to the melody titled Nantucket by David Arkenstone, an admired acquaintance playing in my headset; my theme music since the very beginning.
In the “Talk Show” world each program is a combination of preparation, high hope, and pure serendipity, with the final script written by an invisible (and unpredictable) audience. The adrenalin “rush” that precedes the “on air” light and inevitable “letdown” that begins during my homeward transit through the Black Ridge are all part of the addiction I have found to be a part of what makes each week new, different and exciting.
Monday, March 23RD, 2015 however was to be a unique day for both myself and the young lady I had invited to “co-host” the show with me. It would be a “first” for me since I had never shared that responsibility with anyone, nor had eleven-year-old Priya Kumar; in fact the only microphone the 5th grader from Colorado had spoken into was in the principal’s office where her elementary school’s announcements originated. What made the occasion special for both of us was the relationship which brought us together: Priya is my Great grand-daughter from whom I am separated by 71 years of earth life and some 600 miles of travel distance, but with whom I am connected by DNA and love.
Priya was assigned the program’s introduction and opening remarks, followed by some of her own stories and poetry (including haiku) along with answers to a barrage of questions from callers and studio staff, all with an infectious level of charm and aplomb; and a wide smile which never left her face.
For her great granddad, Provident Living – Home & Country #633 was an event of never-to-be-forgotten pride and absolute delight.
Side by side behind the twin mikes of Cedar City’s KSUB Talk Radio, veteran broadcaster Al Cooper shares host duties with 11-year old Priya Kumar, his Great grand-daughter. Al Cooper Photo