Pat O�Day, the Program Director who led KJR to
greatness remembers Lan Roberts�..
Lan's star shot into the heavens during a time when radio was like the exploration of space. Television had destroyed radio taking away its stars and it's programs. Gordon McClendon, Todd Storz, and a few others had given the industry new hope with "Top 40 Radio" but it was still a fledgling child learning to walk. It was in this environment that dreamers like Lan, mindful that radio was best when it fully employed the theater of the mind, came forward to create a new media universe.
KJR Seattle, like Chuck Blore, McClendon, Storz, Bartell, and other leading stations and operators, gave talented people like Lan their heads and watched them, and their audiences grow. In this environment, Lan Roberts totally excelled! How funny was he?
What was his impact?
Every 15 minutes he provided something that made you giggle or laugh out loud. To him, a radio show that didn't evoke laughter or at a minimum, many smiles an hour, was nothing. He fully employed the third dimensions of radio and constantly took you on trips out of your auto, home or office, into his fun world.
Lan used multiple voices, all of his creation, to cast a never ending comedy. Always short, too the point, never detracting from the all important music, rather, adding to it's potential. Such creations included "The Breakfast Pig" who would wake you up. The Breakfast Pig was a female voice, with a laugh that clearly indicated a hard, loose, likely intoxicated woman, and with a bar room type piano playing in the background, would say, "O.K. lets get started" and then giggle. If there were ever a lurid, offensive, suggestive, shocking giggle, this was it! Yet, nothing vulgar or even borderline was ever uttered. Your imagination did it all!
A character he would voice, Phil Dirt, was clearly an Okie. Phil, you were led to believe, had a roadside sock stand on the outskirts of Seattle. Phil had the voice of a hick, and was sought for traffic information in front of his sock stand. Phil generally differed to his wife, Rae Dean, who he admitted weighed nearly 300 pounds but Phil would say, "Lan, I always prefer big woman who I can give a lotta love!"
Lan and I would team up and produce serial adventures. The Return of The Lone Ranger and Tonto, is an example. Lan played Tonto who in this series, was not all that impressed by the mask man and often accused his companion, The Lone Ranger, of having a fixation with sheep!
Lan wasn't just a "one town" kind of star. When I purchased a radio station in Honolulu, Lan had retired to live there and agreed to come back on the air. Within one year a 20th rated radio station climbed to #1 and it's catalyst and morning drive star was Lan Roberts. His humor had such quality he was able to overcome that distance between the culture of the Hawaiian Local, and a Texas/Seattle guy from the mainland. Why? because his understanding how to use the medium we call radio, was so complete, the joy of listening to his show overcame all obstacles.
God how I loved him! It was my great joy to aid and abet his always enjoyable adventures in the ether waves. Lan Roberts listeners, from Seattle to Hawaii, still can't get him out of their heads.
Now, that�s a star !!!!!