Thursday, December 21, 2017


Attention Spark News Readers:

Our blog is going on a holiday break.
This is our last post of 2017. New posts will 
return on Wednesday, January 3, 2018.
Thank you for reading my blog.
I do it for you. Ken.

Back in 1985 I had just married my wife, the lovely Linda Carter. We were living in Rapid City in Black Hills of South Dakota. She was a news reporter at the local NBC affiliate and I was working on the air at KTOQ-AM, a commercial Country music station owned by Tom Brokaw and his high school buddy Tom Kearns. The company was called Tom-Tom Communications.

2:00pm Drunk on the Air begins
KTOQ decided to do a Drunk on the Air promotion on New Years Eve to persuade people not drink and drive. 

The sponsor was a local liquor distributor. I was chosen to be the drunken host for the live radio broadcast.

On my insistence, the liquor distributor provided me with a large bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue Label whiskey. 

The event was supervised by a South Dakota State Trooper.

The Trooper has me walk the line
I began drinking “heavy” Scotch and Water cocktails around 2:00pm. At first I had no problem correctly saying tongue-twisting phrases. 

After a couple of hours I began to slur my words. 

By the time the event was nearing it’s end I had consumed eight and half mixed drinks from my jumbo-size ASU party cup. I was wobbly – a good example of a person who should NOT be driving.

Just before 6:00pm a reporter and video crew arrived from the local TV station where my wife worked. They were there to do a live shot for the local news. The station had taped me earlier in the day, so the premise of the news story was “before and after.” Everyone assumed that I would be proof that drinking and driving don't mix.

I give a speech on live TV, the Trooper isn't smiling
But, it didn’t quite turn out that way. Just prior to the live shot, when the TV crew turned on the bright lights, I suddenly became as sober as a judge. The Trooper put me through standard sobriety tests on live TV. I walked the line almost perfectly and I appeared to be in complete control.

This wasn’t the message we were supposed to be sending. When you watch the video note the disapproving look on the Trooper’s face. The reporter chuckled about my amazing “you don't look drunk” moment. The reporter asked me on live TV what I had learned from the experience. I said:

I learned that when I feel I am okay to drive, my blood-alcohol level may actually indicate I am intoxicated past the legal limit.

That is also my holiday message to you today.  When you are drinking at a holiday party keep in mind that when you feel okay to drive you may actually be intoxicated. Play it safe during the holidays and we’ll meet each other again in 2018.  Ken.

Here is the event as seen on KEVN-TV December 31, 1985:

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