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KUER change hasn't tuned out Pack

Although music is gone, radioman still has lots to do

Gene Pack, who has worked at KUER (FM-90.1) since the station's inception almost 41 years ago, is best-known for his classical-music knowledge. However, he is also one of KUER's most versatile employees, and despite the demise of his long-running classical-music program two weeks ago, Pack is still at the station, working at numerous other tasks.

Pack, now 68, said he still doesn't see his retirement in sight. "I'm going to remain at KUER. . . . But you never know how things will work out."

He won't be doing as much voice work as he used to do, but he will still be heard on KUER from time to time. He'll also be doing a lot of behind-the-scenes production work, including producing and airing an arts calendar, which will probably air weekdays about 2 p.m.

"I'm not just going to be sitting around," he said. In fact, many of KUER's departments have been competing for his talents. As perhaps the station's most versatile employee, he may now be the utility man for FM-90.1.

"But I'm not sweeping the floors — at least not yet," he joked.

With a golden voice, similar to that of the late Dr. Rex Campbell, Pack has a legacy as old as the station. Only Len Allen, with 53 years at KLO, has been on local radio longer.

Pack admits that his powerful voice is recognized wherever he goes — banks, restaurants, etc. "It happens quite often."

Pack signed on with KUER in June 1960 when the station started, though in those days, its block-shaped and weak transmitter, sitting on top of Kingsbury Hall, could reach only about a mile. In those early days, KUER was more of a campus-oriented station, airing lectures and university functions as its bread-and-butter.

Today the station's transmitter is on Mount Vision in the Oquirrh Mountains and can even reach into surrounding states because of a translator system.

Pack also did his classical-music show in those early days, and he said he will miss playing his musical passion, a casualty of the station's latest evolution to more NPR news programs.

Born in Salt Lake City, his great-grandfather, John Pack, was a scout for Brigham Young and is featured on the "This Is the Place" monument. Pack said he has strong roots here.

He also has firm family roots in radio. His father was a chief engineer at KSL radio, back before even Social Hall Avenue broadcast days, in the Union Pacific Building.

Pack attended East High School, working there in a radio-production class, and he earned a degree in speech at the University of Utah.

"I've gotten to meet a lot of great people," he said of his four-decade radio career.

He's also a big movie fan, likes gardening and participates in local theater.

STATION FOR SALE KIQN (AM-1010) was listed for sale in the "Business Opportunities" classified ads last weekend in Salt Lake's two daily newspapers. You don't see ads like that very often.

KIQN, news/talk, is headquartered in Eagle Gate at the southwest corner of State Street and West Temple.

A station NOT for sale, though is KSL (AM-1160). Rumors surfaced again last month about Bonneville International's hometown station being on the block, the latest of many such rumors over the past decade. Bruce Reese, president and CEO of Bonneville, said he's not aware of any plans to sell the station.

KKAT (FM-101.9) — Thanks to the station's "Christmas Wish" promotion last year, the Stohel family home in Magna is being rebuilt after a fire destroyed it last June. Station officials learned of the disaster in December and asked for listeners to volunteer to help rebuild the home at about 3000 S. 9100 West. A groundbreaking on the rebuilding process was held March 21.

Despite some outrageous radio contests and personalities, events like this prove radio can still serve the community.

STATION SCHEDULES — More than 30 years ago, the Deseret News published comprehensive schedules for all radio-station programming. Today, that's not feasible simply because we don't have the space, but the Internet is a great source. The best Web site to go to is www.saltlakeradio.com. Click on "schedules" on the left side.


Deseret News radio editor Lynn Arave can be reached by e-mail at lynn@desnews.com or by phone at 237-2168.