30 years of KJHK: Dave Grissom

Dave Grissom worked on KJHK from fall of 1978 to the spring of 1980, participating as a disc jockey, a news staff member and doing sports play-by-play. Grissom was also the news director for the station during the fall of 1979. He is living in Austin, Texas and is now a systems analyst for a regional health care provider.

How you were involved in KJHK?

I was a newscaster, did sports play-by-play and eventually had a 2 to 6 a.m. shift at the station. I worked on sports play-by-play with Kevin Harlan, who currently does sports play-by-play for CBS. I was also the news director during the fall of 1979. At that time, the Iran hostage situation was taking place and was at the top of everyone's minds, and I had to deal with that as the news director. Our policy was to start off our newscasts with big stories and at the time, we were leading off with "today, nothing happened regarding the hostage situation". There came a point where I had to evaluate whether or not "no news" should dominate our newscasts even though people were interested in the situation.

What are some things you experienced or learned during your time at KJ?

Working with KJHK was a lot of fun, mostly because people took the station very seriously. We were always recognized as a good station and really valued in the community. We were also recognized as being a good station. The New York Times used to make a traveling guide for people traveling across the country and the only college station they recommended was KJHK. It was great to participate in a well-respected station, especially when it was just in its beginning stages. Working at the station was a great experience and really taught me about communicating with other people.

Any memories you'd like to share with us?

I was involved in something referred to as the "Waterloo incident" in the fall of 1978. I was in the newsroom when another student was preparing her newscast. I had thought it would be funny if I prepared a phony story and presented it to her to see if she would run it. I wrote up a story about 15,000 people dying in Waterloo as a nuclear reactor exploded. She realized it was a fake story and so she and I had a good laugh about it in the newsroom. Unfortunately, I forgot to throw the story out so the newscasters following her ran the story on the air and all hell broke loose. We had the FCC wanting to pull our license and they ended up watching us very closely for about two years. I was suspended for the rest of the semester and ended up being news director the next fall.


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