A list: surprising tidbits…

Connie, shocked and surprised by her colleagues' revelations.

…about NCPR and the staff. In no particular order:

* NCPR serves a geographic area the size of the states of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut combined.

* NCPR does this with 15 full-time staff people and several part-timers.

* Before coming to NCPR in 1980 (and occasionally into the ’80s on a short term basis), Radio Bob worked as radio engineer on a cruise line ship.

* During her time as a majorette in high school, Sandy Demarest once burned

Clearly not Sandy--the baton isn't on fire.

all the hair off her arm while twirling a flaming baton.

* Barb Heller, host of String Fever, is a performer and guitar teacher…and she operates a hotdog cart on the streets of Canton during the summer (selling locally grown and processed meats).

* This story from Todd Moe: “The venue wasn’t palatial, but I’ve sung for royalty.  I was in a small Lutheran church choir in Minneapolis back in the 90’s.   During a royal tour of the U.S., Norway’s King Harald and Queen Sonja asked to visit the church. (Actually, His Majesty is the royal patron of the Norwegian-Lutheran Memorial Church)  During a midday service, the pastor spoke, the choir sang and the King thanked us.  Afterwards, “a little lunch” was served in the church basement where their Majesties insisted on shaking hands with everyone.   They seemed a bit stiff in the reception line. Yes, I mustered the courage to welcome them in my best Norwegian.  Later, over coffee and cake, the mood among the card tables and folding chairs lightened.  It became one of those charming moments — a King, a Queen and a room full of smiles.”

* Senior NCPR staff members have served on the Boards of virtually every key national organization in the public radio community, including NPR, PRPD (the public radio program directors group), PRNDI (the news directors group), AIR (the independent producers organization), and on key panels implemented by these organizations and by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

* Membership director June Peoples has read “Lord of the Rings” many many times–AND, she is a closet fan of “South Park.”

*  Jackie Sauter, Martha Foley, Shelly Pike, Barb Heller, Connie Meng and Sandy Demarest are all St. Lawrence University graduates.

* Connie Meng, our well-respected theatre reviewer, was the only faculty member at the University of Denver to have worked as a go-go dancer (in NYC, no less).

* Which NCPR employee is an ace at putting up sheetrock and wallpaper…and is skilled at letterpress typesetting? Dale Hobson, of course!

* Production Manager Joel Hurd’s  first audio job was at a studio in Times Square that was once used to record Jimi Hendrix.

* Adirondack Bureau Chief Brian Mann once watched all five “Planet of the Apes” movies in a single sitting.

*  Champlain Valley reporter Sarah Harris was born and raised in Texas. (However, we don’t think she rides horses or brands cattle.)

*  Y’all probably know this about membership director June Peoples, but just in case…she is a licensed and highly accomplished Zumba teacher.

* Program director Jackie Sauter LOVES disco.

* Sandy Demarest was voted “most talkative” in her high school senior class–and found a future in sales (go figure).

*  Radio Bob once kissed a girl who kissed Paul McCartney. (Note: Bob

This guy kissed a girl who kissed Radio Bob.

emphasized that he only kissed her once. Just once.)

* Announcer Jonathan Brown’s father was in radio for many years and Jonathan grew up hanging out in recording studios with walls lined with sound-deadening shag carpet, tapes spinning on reel-to-reel machines, and his father’s voice. So Jonathan loves sound studios. They’re like home.

* Web developer Bill Haenel, who studied jazz performance and film scoring at the Berklee School of Music and is an accomplished harmonica player as well as skilled in a variety of “folk” instruments, says that his main musical activity these days is avidly following “American Idol.”

* Barb Heller (who we all think of as the woman of a thousand talents) is a residential electrician who once traded a week-long houseboat vacation for wiring someone’s basement.

* Ellen Rocco has hermit tendencies, preferring to hang out on the farm poking around in the garden, bringing in hay and cleaning out the chicken coop or lamb pens, reading books, walking, and never ever talking on the phone…or microphone.

* Joel Hurd loves Jean Claude Van Damme movies, or any mindless, low-budget action flick. (Ellen admits to loving TV’s “NCIS” series–mostly because of Goth forensic lab geek, Abby.)

* All Before Five host and news reporter Nora Flaherty ran the bases at Fenway Park…and, her mother taught a college course on the Negro Leagues.

* Jonathan tells this tale on Radio Bob: “I once pointed out to Radio Bob that a control room temperature sensor hidden in the panel ceiling sometimes made the studio too hot or too cold. Bob checked it out, asked if I had any gum, and when I said I didn’t, he went down the hall and came back chewing a big wad of gum, which he then stuck to the sensor. The thermostat in the studio worked fine after that.”

* Joel Hurd once spent two weeks in Kazakhstan doing a radio story about an organization that travels the world doing heart surgery on children in underdeveloped countries.

* Underwriting director Sandy Demarest, and her husband David, were Fresh Air host parents for 12 years. (Years before that, Sandy danced on stage with the rock group, ShaNaNa, when they performed at SUNY Canton.)

* Web manager Dale Hobson can read printed material that’s upside down and backwards.

* Reporter Julie Grant had an opportunity to travel to Egypt with an Egyptian composer for the re-opening of the Alexandria Library.

* In 2003,  Joel Hurd went to beer school in Munich to learn about commercial brewing techniques. (Luckily, though Joel is still very interested in beer making, he hasn’t traded in his day job at NCPR to pursue brewing.)

* Morning host and reporter Todd Moe admits he’s drinking diet cola when he goes on mic at 6 am.

* Ellen Rocco dubbed voice tracks (mostly moaning and groaning) for some downtown movie producers in the late ’60s, including Andy Warhol.

* Bill Haenel’s favorite author is Louis L’Amour. (Ya gotta give Bill credit for admitting this to all those highbrow readers out in public radioland.)

* Dale Hobson has never been inside a Walmart.

* Ellen Rocco’s favorite comedy is “Best in Show,” but then she lives with a

Guy, no beauty contest winner, but I love him.

one-eyed crippled pug. (Ellen’s husband Bill’s favorite movie is “The Princess Bride,” and he does not love the pug.

This collection grew out of a simple question I asked everyone on staff: tell me something surprising, strange, or out of character about yourself. Obviously, we all have secrets we have no intention of sharing with anyone. But what tidbit about yourself always gets the “really???” reaction from people? C’mon, we told you some odd things about ourselves, now it’s your turn…

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8 Comments on “A list: surprising tidbits…”

  1. Hank says:

    I’m with you Dale; I’ve never been inside a Walmart either – and I hope to keep it that way!!

    So when Jackie (disco-lover) and Ellen (disco-hater) get together, what kind of music do they listen to?

  2. Mike says:

    Some great insights here, I also love the pug!

  3. Ellen Rocco says:


  4. Two Cents says:

    Jon-jon (JFK jr.) nearly hit me with while on his bike when i stepped off a curb in NYC.
    5 min. later he found me in Central Park and appologized!

  5. Ellen Pardoe says:

    I was a guesser in a carnival when I was young. “Guess your age, your weight, or the month you were born in…. Come on in! Win a Prize!”

  6. John Warren says:

    My father was a carny.

  7. Ellen Rocco says:

    Ooh, I love it–public radio meets circus and carnival. Sounds about right. Cool.

  8. Sandee M says:

    I met Weird Al Yankowich. He was on tour with Dr. Demento in the 80’s and after their gig at SUNY Potsdam the Dr, Weird Al, and his band went to The Rusty Nail. Dr Demento stepped into the dj booth and spun tunes and after getting my concert tee shirt autographed by Al & company I asked Al to join me on the dance flour…he declined, but I did convince him and a couple of his band mates to play fooseball. They horsed around mostly and I don’t think anyone kept score, but it was a blast and my favorite brush with fame!

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