Community asset passes prematurely at age of 63
KLYC Radio, longtime family friend and noted community contributor, died earlier today at the age of 63. It was all too soon.
The offspring of Jack and Phil Bladine of the News-Register family, KLYC was born on June 18, 1949, under the less-catchy call letters of KMCM. A product of the post-war Baby Boom, it was ushered into an expectant and hopeful community by then-mayor R.H. Windishar.
Assigned the AM frequency of 1260 kilohertz, the modest 1-kilowatt enterprise was McMinnville’s first and only commercial radio outlet. It served that role with distinction under a series of owners, and operated since 1990 under the leadership of the late Larry Bohnsack and his wife, Laurel “Stella” Bohnsack.
Dick Mason, a veteran of 35 years in the radio business, had been hoping to assume command. But after seven months of tilting with the Federal Communications Commission, he gave up and pulled out.
An engineer familiar with the station’s inner workings attributed its demise to old age.
The station’s long, slow slide was exacerbated, he lamented in a report, by a paucity of upgrades, improvements and enhancements over the years. Those might have kept it fitter for the rigors of its trade, thus still worthy of FCC certification, he suggested.
The benedictions came quickly online, but not on KLYC’s website. Larry didn’t have one, or even believe in that sort of thing, as he relied on a booming baritone to do his communicating face-to-face, over the phone or on the air.
On the News-Register’s website, one reader commented, “I’m so sorry to hear the news.” Another contributor agreed, writing, “Have lived in the area for 20-some years, and have thoroughly enjoyed the radio station. Feel this is like losing a member of the family, and that Eve (Fuller) is a best friend. You will be greatly missed!!!”
And another note: “This will be like losing an old friend ... And what a shame to lose local sports. I’m not sure that everyone truly realizes what a great asset to our county we are losing. This is sad news ... .”
The loss makes McMinnville the largest city in Oregon without a commercial station.
Bonanza, Brightwood, Brookings, Brownsville and Burns all have one, as do Cannon Beach, Canyon City, Cave Junction, Central Point, Chiloquin and Condon, according to an FCC list featuring more than 325 entries.
But not Mac. Not any more.
KLYC is survived by two other licensed local stations, Calvary Chapel’s 96.3-FM and Linfield College’s 90.3-FM, both of McMinnville; longtime co-owner Stella Bohnsack and longtime staffers Eve Fuller and Lars Patrick, all of McMinnville; the News-Register, longtime partner in the cause of keeping the community connected; and would-be rescuer Dick Mason, of Paso Robles, Calif.
The station was preceded in death by Larry Bohnsack, who would be deeply saddened to learn of its untimely demise. After all, it was his baby.
Memorial services were held earlier this morning, with Eve Fuller presiding. The final send-off came at 12:60 PM, as 12:60 AM would have been challenging for many of its dedicated followers to manage.