Co-hosting the Scandinavian Hour

What it’s like to share the mic with Doug Warne on the long-running radio program

Scandinavian Hour

Photo: Eric Stavney
Doug Warne, host of the long-running Scandinavian Hour, is passing the torch around.

Eric Stavney
Seattle

“Nå kommer Den skandinaviske time med det beste i skandinaviske musikk!” followed by “God morgen, God morgen … I’m your host Doug Warne, with lots of friends, with the best in Scandinavian music from all the Scandinavian countries.”

Every weekend on KKNW AM 1150, the rousing Norwegian rendition of the “Good Morning” song comes forth from the radio or over the internet to houses all over the world. On this particular morning, I’m fidgeting nervously in my seat as those immortal words follow: “I’m your host, Doug Warne, with lots of friends…”

Today, I’m sitting at my own microphone across from Doug, as he introduces me as the host of the show, and I want to pinch myself—is this real? Am I really co-hosting this radio program that Doug Warne and Ron Olsen took over from Svein Gilje in 1959, that has grown to have a global audience for the last 58 years? Yes, here I was spinning disks with the master, who generously decided some months ago to start sharing the mic with six other lucky co-hosts. His idea seems not to be passing the torch (like he might retire), but rather to pass the torch around, to let the program grow with new personalities and perspectives.

I look over to see Warne giving me the nod that it’s time to read the “Community Bulletin Board.” We take turns announcing the pancake breakfasts, lutefisk dinners, bazaars, pickled herring, rosemaling, and other events of the many clubs, societies, and museums in the greater Puget Sound region. I can tell Warne’s been to all these regular events, whether Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Finnish, or Icelandic, and the people there all know him, too. I happily read off events I’ve also been to, at the Nordic Heritage Museum and my own Sons of Norway lodge. It tickles me to be promoting happenings in the Scandinavian Community.

After we introduce a few more songs, I see on my script that my pre-recorded interview with Jim Nelson will be broadcast next. Whenever I think of Norwegian folksongs, I think of Jim and was able to connect with him when he came to town. I had him talk about the many places he’s worked and traveled as a music teacher, musician-for-hire, and modern-day bard. We talked about our common love of the seljefløyte, and that’s the part we broadcast—that conversation—followed by a recording Jim had made playing this traditional Norwegian instrument, the willow flute.

I first heard about co-hosting the show by donating to The Norwegian American—yes, this very newspaper. I proudly told my friends I got to co-host a show, but had to admit that I had “bought” my way onto the program. But then I heard about Warne’s intention to share the mic on an ongoing basis, and I was hooked.

I’m really looking forward to hearing the music that co-host colleagues from Iceland (Esther Lára Hansen), Finland (Sean McKee), Norway (Seth Tufteland and Bjørn Ruud), and Denmark (Ingrid Salmon) will want to play. And the Swedes out there in radioland needn’t worry—we’ve got you covered, too.

To qualify for this amazing opportunity, we all had to go out and sell radio ads. That’s not an easy task unless one is a born salesperson! Most of the sponsors I could think of have already been approached by Warne long ago and have regular radio ads on the show. But when Hovden Formal Farm Wear became a sponsor, I got a seat at the mic.

Warne rouses me out of my thoughts to announce a Finnish song, and I stumble over the pronunciation. Never mind that I looked it up and practiced many times. Thankfully, the show isn’t broadcast live! Warne graciously lets me try it again.

Recording the shows in advance (we do all four shows for a month in one sitting) means we don’t actually play the songs right after we announce them. Erik Krema (Operations Manager) and his amazing staff at KKNW insert the songs into the program after we leave the studio. That means that if I’ve made a goof in the script, I will announce Edvard Grieg’s “Hall of the Mountain King” and listeners subsequently hear a Sámi yoik instead. Uff da! But I’m getting better at this.

I look up as the “Farvel” song plays, the “On the Air” sign turns off, and Warne gives me the A-OK sign. Life just couldn’t get any better than this.

 

I hope you get a chance to turn on your radio or computer to hear us Saturday and Sunday mornings at 6 a.m. PST, and again at 9 a.m. PST on Saturday. Online visit 1150kknw.com and click on “Listen Live.”

If you have music you feel is underrepresented in our lineup, we would enjoy learning about it from you. If you have a community event you’d like announced, send in the form we will email you with the particulars, at least a month and a half before the event.

Write to us at scanhourkknw@outlook.com. We’d also love to help increase your business and record a personalized spot for you.

This article originally appeared in the Dec. 29, 2017, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

You may also like...