Tuesday, June 09, 2009

plate off

Paul Oscar Anderson passed away on Friday. Like many, I learned of his death from Knoxville Radio History 101. During his radio career, he was on the air at dozens of stations from Knoxville to Portland to Los Angeles.

When I first moved to Knoxville, Don Barrett of LARadio.com put me in touch with Paul. We exchanged emails and had several phone conversations while he still lived at home. His health continued to deteriorate and he moved into a nursing home.

I went to the Highland Memorial Funeral Home last night to pay my respects. Paul's widow Bobbie told me that radio was his first love. As a child, he would play with a microphone instead of a toy gun like the other kids. She also said she had heard that a radio station in California was going to do an on-air tribute to Paul that morning.

The service began as four men wearing white aprons processed into the chapel. They recited the Last Masonic Rites and placed an apron on Paul's coffin. I think they called it a lambskin. The light blue casket had the words "Going Home" on the inside of the open lid.

Paul's daughter Teresa sang one of the songs at the service. In his remarks, Preacher Guy Milam of North Knoxville Baptist Church said "our paths lead not to, but through the grave." Another song included the lyrics "though your sins be as scarlet, they will be as white as snow."

When I got home from the funeral I powered up my old laptop to see if I had saved any of the emails Paul and I exchanged. Here are a few of the things he wrote to me in 2003 and 2004:
Hey Frank,
Thanks for the note. It seems that the best and brightest broadcasters at least came through the South and Midwest. I'm sure that you were one of them. Thanks the offers of goodies, Frank, but I am a diabetic and on a very strict diet. I have myriad other medical hassles which keep me homebound.

Sorry about WOKI. I knew a number off your compadres, including Johnny P. It saddens me to say it, but broadcasting, especially radio, is a ball-busting, low paying job, which takes and rarely gives. I say that after having worked at 37 radio/TV stations over a period of almost 40 years. I let the job take four wives and my self-respect. I wound up in a treatment center for boozers at The Hazleden Foundation in Minnesota. I am a native of Knoxville and have been back home with my childhood sweetheart for almost 29 years. I worked at almost every station in town. Ask Phil Williams about my work here. Despite it all, I still have goose bumps when I think of radio. I really miss the mic, although I have been retired eleven years.

Let me know what's happening at WOKI now -- if you know -- and what your plans are. If I can be of help in any way, let me know.

The best,
POA (Paul Brown)

What a pleasure talking with (AT) you this morning. I could tell within a minute that you were a real broadcaster, kicked in the stomach enough, and been around the horn enough times to have earned the title.

I apologize for talking so much. It is rare that I get to talk to anyone who knows radio like you do. Once in a while I hear from Neil Ross, Tom Murphy, Buzz Barr (KISN) and a couple of others.

If we don't get a chance to meet in person, don't forget me, and remember that I am praying for you. I feel that you will be glad that you were booted at WOKI. You sound like you have the experience and smarts for ANY market.

I know it doesn't often work like this, but I never sent a tape or resume in my long and checkered career. I got the program director or G.M. on the telephone and that worked for me. I really hope for you the very best. I know right where you are. I was there a great number of times and always came out better off than I was when the travails descended upon me. I know that you will do well.

God bless

Hey Frank,

I had already read in the local scandal sheet that you had connected. And then, you were on the LARP. I just cleared my e-mail, some of which was a week old. I had 73 when I got busy this morning.

Hang in there, pal. Instead of moving every time I was offered a bigger market and a couple of bucks more than I was earning, I would have been dollars and serene times ahead had I stayed put. Can't tell yourself the truth when it WOULD have set you free.

You are smarter than I. Good luck to you and your family. If I can ever be of service, please call or write.

God bless,

I am just going through my old e-mail and ran across one you sent when first I was out of the hospital. I have just now returned from another open heart operation, and the addition of a defibrillator to my pacemaker. I am hanging on -- barely. I now have diabetes (the worst of my ailments, I feel), prostate cancer, heart failure to the point that I stay in bed most of the time. No energy. I fell perhaps a couple of dozen times, leaving me with several visible skull fractures. Other than a couple of other minor ailments, all is well with me. I am too damn mean to die.

Speaking of which, I thought of the good guys who were with me in the sixties at KISN who have passed in recent years. Tom Matthews, Don Kennedy, Bobby Simon, Whitey Coker, whom I spoke to just a couple of days before his throat cancer took him away. (God, I loved him.) I guess we are too tough to buy the farm just yet.

I am 73 last October. I don't sweat it, since I have not control over when and where I will go. I am ready whenever the Big Guy calls. I have lived a hell of a life, so I can't complain if I go today. I have done everything I thought I was big enough to do. Can't ask for more in one life.

God Bless,

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Anonymous 101 said...

Great stuff on POA!

Blogger Claudette Au Lait said...

Very good. Very deep. Directly from your heart. Look like he was a great man.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are there any airchecks of POA online? Would love to hear an old newscast or snippet of a talk show.

Blogger Frank Murphy said...

Click on the link for Knoxville Radio History 101 in my first paragraph. It takes you to a short aircheck of POA.

Blogger Viscerally-O said...

Hi... I am one of POA's grand-daughters and I just wanted to say that it has given me peace in my heart to read these posts. I feel honored to see how much he is loved. If anyone out there has any old broadcasts, emails, letters, pictures, stories.. our family would just love to get our hands on such treasures!


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