Chris Stevens KBHR 570 AM

Northern Exposure is an American comedy-drama television series that ran on CBS from 1990 to 1995. My favorite character was Chris Stevens (played by John Corbett). “A philosophical ex-convict who works as the disc jockey at KBHR 570 AM. Between songs, Chris offers comments on events in Cicely and on more intellectual and controversial subjects.”

The Chris character was the DJ we all wanted to be. Okay, “I” wanted to be. Fortunately, I was smart enough to know I couldn’t pull off those long, zen monologues without John Corbett’s wonderful voice and delivery, and a room full of writers. There are a few “Chris Stevens tribute videos” on YouTube that painfully illustrate the folly of those who tried.

My buddy Bob Hague (also a radio guy) told me of an acquaintance that “went bonkers” because Chris never wore headphones in the series.

My father was a Radio Operator (?) in the Navy during WWII. Based on the little he told me of that experience, it was Morse Code rather than than voice transmission. After the war he went to watchmaker school until he figured out he could get paid (GI Bill) to go to the Pathfinder School of Broadcasting (Kansas City).

I recall him saying the the “announcers” didn’t wear headphones because they were in one studio and the engineers (who did wear ‘phones, suppose) were in another. I believe this was common and the reason you’d see announcers from that era cupping a hand behind one hear (holding copy in the other) in order to better hear the golden sound of their voice.

When pop got hired at the little station in Kennett, MO, he was shocked to learned he’d have to “run his own board” and that necessitated wear phones. But I remember (as a child) seeing him or one of the other announcers being on the air without headphones.