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February 22, 2005

spin the dial

Last night, I sat in my kitchen and spun the dial on my shortwave radio, trying to find a numbers station (the Spooks mailing list and rec.radio.shortwave both said that E10 had been loud and clear on 6930 over the weekend and I missed it) when I came across a really cool little tune. It sounded like something I'd heard years ago from Voice of Russia, or Deutsche Welle. Though I was really hoping to hear a different tune, (like The Lincolnshire Poacher or Cherry Red), I left my radio tuned to that frequency and imagined that it originated in some obscure station on the other side of the globe . . . because that's why I listen to SW: there's something undeniably romantic and mysterious and wonderful about tuning in a broadcast from thousands of miles away. I don't know many people who listen to SW, and I don't personally know a single DXer, so I feel like I'm part of something that's sort of below the radar (er, via the ionosphere.)

Anyway, the song continued for several minutes, and I still couldn't figure out what it was. I don't have a current WRTH and I didn't want to walk all the way to my office to google the frequency, so I just listened. When the song ended, a woman's voice came on . . . and all my romantic images were shattered. It turns out I was listening to Los Angeles wacko Dr. Gene Scott's SW broadcast. The woman announced that Dr. Scott had died earlier in the day, and urged listeners to get to the phones and send in their money. After a minute or so of this, the tune started up again.

Yeah. The cool music I'd imagined coming from some former Eastern Bloc country was actually coming from my own city, from a guy who was part of the background noise of my childhood.

For those of you who didn't grow up in LA, Gene Scott was a staple of UHF television. He was a televangelist, who (in)famously rambled for up to twelve hours at a time, about all sorts of crazy shit. The camera often framed him from the chin to the top of his ever-present Indiana Jones hat, giving him this look that was equal parts creepy and kind of cool. As far as hucksters go, he's no Robert Tilton, but for pure entertainment value, not even Wally George could beat this guy. You damn kids today probably don't watch UHF television, but when I was a kid, my friends and I would stay up late at night and watch this guy through the static on channel 56 or 62 or whatever, and just wonder what the hell was going on.

The freaky thing is, just a few days ago I wondered aloud when Gene Scott was finally going to shuffle off this mortal coil. Which brings me to the moral of this story: my thoughts control the future, so watch ouut.

Or maybe a better moral is: even if you don't find the numbers station you're looking for, spinning the dial in your kitchen is a good way to spend an evening.

. . . and that's not a euphemism.

Posted by wil at February 22, 2005 09:34 AM
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» End of an L.A. era * from L.A. Observed
TV minister Gene Scott, part of the scene in downtown Los Angeles for decades, has died of cancer. The AP story says that Scott, 75, was a "shaggy-haired, cigar-smoking televangelist whose eccentric religious broadcasts were beamed around the world." W... [Read More]

Tracked on February 22, 2005 06:01 PM

» Gene Scott dies from The Crusty Curmudgeon
Wil Wheaton chimes in on Gene Scott's passing, and I find myself resonating with his reminiscences. For those of us who have spent a lot of time listening to shortwave radio, Scott was an Institution. [Read More]

Tracked on February 22, 2005 09:23 PM

» Gene Scott Is Dead... from ISOU
Damn! I grew up watching that nutcase. I have to give it to him, he was a smart one. Check out Wil Weaton's piece about accidently hearing about Scott's death over short wave. If you don't know who Scott was,... [Read More]

Tracked on February 23, 2005 04:02 PM

» RIP, Dr. Gene Scott from Kevin's blatherings
I was looking around teh Intarweb the last couple of days, and ran across a few references to the death of Dr. Gene Scott (his website apparently has not been updated yet). I first ran across Dr. Gene way back [Read More]

Tracked on February 23, 2005 09:26 PM

» DR. GENE SCOTT from Deliverance
I saw this headline about the death of Dr. Gene Scott and it brought back some memories. I used to watch his L.A. based show back in the eighties when my brother-in-law had one of those huge satellite dishes that [Read More]

Tracked on February 25, 2005 08:39 AM

I was surfing looking for new DVDs coming out and came across a pre-release of a special 2 disc collectors edition of Stand By Me Dunno if everyone already knows that it was coming out or not but its release date is 22nd March., incase ye are intrested

It’s an Irish website but there’s free delivery anywhere in the world. I nearly buy all my dvds off them so they are safe enough to order from. Pity I just bought the 1 disc copy 2 weeks ago.
Click here for dvd website

Click here for my blog

Posted by: Noel Burke [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 22, 2005 04:22 PM

sorrz i know that had absolutely nothing to do with ur blog entry but just thought id let ya know. the whole evangalist thing is kinda a totally foreign thing to me (or anyone in ireland for that matter). We're bout 99% cathlic in the republic of ireland so other religions arent really high profile media wise.

Posted by: Noel Burke [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 22, 2005 04:25 PM

well I remember Gene Scott and the FCC monkeys - all sorts of stuff on short wave thats bizarre isn't there ?

Posted by: mermaid [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 22, 2005 04:44 PM


Wil is a DXler! My maaan! We're the same age, so I am excluding myself from the "damn kids". SW was the coolest thing I could think of back in the 80s. I guess you and I and a few preveleged others know what the REAL meaning of "reading the mail" is. And bouncing off the moon and all that. Wil, if you read this, and by golly you better, write some more on your SW experience and if you still transeive. I find that with the internet much of the romance of DXing is gone, but I remember a time when I hooked my computer to the SW transeiver and, well, "chatted"... did you ever do that?

Other than that, keep up the posts and live long and procrastinate. Tivos on standby for that CSI, as well as your next book. Can we hope for a WW novel!?!


Posted by: Alec Corday [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 22, 2005 04:44 PM

Yep, when I first got to L.A. my friends said you gotta listen to this guy.. So I did off & on for around 17-years..


Keith (Xgaming) Dick

Posted by: Keith Xgaming [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 22, 2005 04:46 PM

I used to do the same thing with my dad's CB radio when I was a kid. On a good clear night, if the atmosphere was JUST right I could skip a signal all the way out to the west coast. I think the magic of things like this are wasted on today's youth because when were kids, the world was a MUCH smaller place.

BTW I have NO idea how to use your e-mail system, and I've long since given up trying. I just wanted to congratulate you on your poker game Sunday night. Will we be getting a "Players comentary" for your hands? I would REALLY like to know how you felt, now that you know you STOLE that first (televised) winning pot from Levar. Man, is he a creepy and intense player! I don't think I could sit down with him, he's just TOO F-ING SMOOTH! I don't know HOW you didn't get rattled by him!

Keep up the great work. I hope Sketch is feeling better.

Posted by: KALEL38 [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 22, 2005 04:52 PM


My hallicrafter is still in storage - it's been a few years since i turned it on. And i think i've forgotten my morse code.

My grandfather had a handfull of SWRs at his house, which I loved to play with and listen to. Seems like more people drifted to the 2m bands and higher, though, so stuff down on 40m & 20m just seemed to fade away.

Dammit, Wil, quit doppelgangering me! Next thing you know you'll be listening to "Honest Bob and the Factor-to-Dealer Incentives" and playing 4-string banjo along with your Flogging Molly CD.

(ok, I'm pretty sure you listen to FM, but I don't think there's anybody on the west coast that knows about http://honestbob.net/ )

Posted by: ak_hepcat [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 22, 2005 04:53 PM


hmm... is that a word from some former Eastern Bloc country? I'll have to keep watch for it.

Posted by: Alan [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 22, 2005 04:54 PM

Eventhough I couldn't relate at all to the story, I laughed out loud at the end.

About the WPT, maybe by your standards you didn't get great cards, but the ones you did get you played well. You came in third!

Geek fact: that 4 7's LeVar had, it's the same hand that Professor Hawkins beat Einstein with in "Descent".

Posted by: Ana Marylee [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 22, 2005 05:18 PM

I thought Gene Scott died years ago! I have no idea where I thought I'd heard he died, but I swear I thought it had been at least 10 years ago. Shows just how much I paid attention to that guy. I always thought he was a wacko.

Channel 56 still plays his telecasts.

Posted by: lomara [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 22, 2005 05:18 PM

Hey Wil,
Suddenly I'm able to post to your site yeah!!! Can't wait to see you on CSI!
I'm so pleased you got a jucy role it's about time they realized your talent as an actor and brought you back!
I love late night radio but I'm sure I don't get the frequency you're talking about in Canada.
Take care

Posted by: 1cutebird [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 22, 2005 05:27 PM

My husband has been a fan of Gene Scott for years, for the same reasons you were (watching his shtick on cable as recently as a couple of months ago). He was truly sad hearing the news. I told him I was certain that his people would continue to run the old videotapes -- the man looked like the living dead anyway.

Posted by: Donna Mills [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 22, 2005 05:36 PM

Hi, I too love radio. Short wave, and even police scanners. I remember back in 1966, when I had to live up in Port Angeles Washington for a few months, The Mamas & The Papas California Dreamin was a hit. On Sunday nights after the church programs went off the air I could pick up radio KLIV of San Jose Ca. It made me cry to listen to the music and news from home.

Posted by: joann [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 22, 2005 05:44 PM

First comment here :) I hadn't heard of this Gene Scott until his death.. Must not have been a big influence around the midwest.. Not like Pat Robertson (700 Club / CBN) or Billy Graham anyway. Btw.. If you're looking to talk DX/Shortwave, there's a cool site over @ http://www.radio-info.com


Posted by: Adam [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 22, 2005 05:55 PM

I will always remember the throne, and the "666" monkeys. He was the 666 monkeys because he would hit the symbols 6 times before flipping around. Scared the s... out of me.

Posted by: DocOLov [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 22, 2005 06:24 PM

boo... I am sorry to hear about Gene Scott. My brother and I had countless hours of amusement courtesy of him. I loved his straightforard approach to collecting money... no love gifts, no explanations of how it would be used (since it isn;t your money... it's God's money!), you couldn't claim it on taxes so he wouldn't have to worry about the gov't butting in... it was so refreshing! ;-)

Posted by: NoisyParker [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 22, 2005 06:27 PM

Great entry. There is a lighter spirit in your writing these days - due to Sketch's recovery, and a truly fulfilling acting job?

Kudos to you, Mr. W. You deserve it.

Love the site,

Posted by: siamesemeg [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 22, 2005 06:32 PM

cool! your thoughts control the future?!? that's wicked! think now, if you could just make the lottery numbers be 5 34 2 40 10 22 that would be a great help. thanks!


Posted by: mainja [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 22, 2005 06:36 PM

It's funny you mention Robert Tilton... I just saw his new scam, er, ministry... A Get-Rich-Quick book about how to become rich through the love of Christ, or something. Tilton is still my favorite, but he's followed closely by Jack Van Impe and his lovely wife Rexella... He is able to speak for 30 minutes and can provide you with a biblical quotation reference for every phrase he utters during the entire half-hour. I can only imagine his day-to-day life... "I'd like a double cheeseburger, 1 Corinthians 11:4, and a large diet Coke, Exodus 8:12..."

Posted by: rayeverettchurch [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 22, 2005 06:42 PM

Um, Wil, can you think me into winning the lottery or at least having some rich relative decide to give me $100,000? And think me into having an international bestseller? I'll be your best friend if you do... ;)

Posted by: Thumper [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 22, 2005 06:54 PM

So I'm a bit taken back by the ol' goats passing. I kinda thought he'd be around forever! I guess not. Wil, what are you listening to numbers stations for anyway? That's not geek that's lame with out the decoder book! Pirate stations are much more fun to listen to too, but you already knew that. If you want your ultimate geek membership card however, you need to get your ham license. 145.440 MHz during the drive times in L.A.

73 dude.

Posted by: kf6hqc [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 22, 2005 07:06 PM

Hey! As a kid I was really into DXing and I even got cards from lots of stations. My prize was a card from Radio Australia. I used to listen to Radio Nederland's Happy Station every Sunday night - is it still on?

I haven't had a SW radio in ages. I keep telling myself I need to buy one but I end up buying more computer stuff (like a Mac Mini) instead.

This is what I like about your blog - you keep showing more of your geeky side ;)

Posted by: mike3k [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 22, 2005 07:23 PM

Pamela enjoyed this story...she used to be heavily into DXing on the AM broadcast band. From Santa Barbara, armed with a Walkman and a Select-A-Tenna, she picked up stations from as far away as Connecticut and Hawaii. (Around here in winter, just using my car radio, I can sometimes pull in KNX from Los Angeles, as well as stations from Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri, and Texas.)

When I was younger, I used to listen to shortwave using my father's old Hallicrafters S-38B...these days, the only SWR we have is a Sangean portable that's kind of crappy, but I still "spin the dial" on occasion. Cool story!

Posted by: Erbo [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 22, 2005 07:31 PM

Wil -

Fell asleep peacefully with Gene Scott and his marathons.......Now pause with me and think of it: A GENE SCOTT M A R A T H O N!! I'm talking MORE than the thousands of tapes he must have burned in the years at Channel 56, over a period of a week (save for MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE and the odd Z-movie, they got nothing). All in all, maybe he topped a million tapes. A favorite Urban Legend has him having a vault like Scrooge McDuck somewhere with every "donation" made intact.

I think the guy had his own Hunter Thompson (RIP)
type of integrity, and though nobody I knew knew what the hell he was talking about, it was nice, cheap (way cheap) video eye-candy.

Now Wally George.........

Posted by: fimnoir [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 22, 2005 08:03 PM

Wow. I haven't thought of Gene Scott in ages. The first time I saw him was years ago on our old satellite system - one of those spider-webby dishes so big it needed its own zip code - and since there wasn't any curling on CBC that night (yeah, curling, so sue me), I surfed on. Came to this really insane guy sitting on a beach wearing a straw fedora, some truly bizarre eyewear, and smoking a cigar while spouting off about matters biblical. There was a rather plush young thing in a bikini hanging out nearby. It was just surreal enough to be mesmerizing, and I asked my then-boyfriend if he knew who the hell that guy was. He did, and the guy was Gene Scott doing a location shoot from somewhere tropical (I forget where in the Caribbean he was). I never made a point of seeking him out, but would always stop to watch when I came across his program. He was a riot.

Posted by: Carolina Red [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 22, 2005 08:21 PM

repeat after me: "i wonder when Jessie will win the lottery, without even having to buy a lottery ticket?"
thanks. :)

Posted by: Jessie [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 22, 2005 08:52 PM

Hey Wil. I like your site. You're glowing with ubernerdiness (coming from me, that's a compliment).

Posted by: Superhappyjen [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 22, 2005 08:59 PM

I spent many late night evenings in my late teens and early 20s listening to my Sony 2010 shortwave radio. I listened to DW and the BBC, and super powerful AM broadcasters from all over east of the Miss., but one of the coolest was listening to the Coast Guard and US Navy. I heard some fantastic rescues in terrible weather on the Atlantic off the East coast of the US, and also heard some of the clear channel (pre-digital encryption) Sky King communications broadcast on the hour to the B52 bombers flying on alert. I probably have a log somewhere with freq's and message traffic I tracked. Thanks for bringing that back. That was fun stuff.

Posted by: Mike W. [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 22, 2005 09:57 PM

Hey, Wil, since your thoughts control the future, could you please think about me, getting obscene amounts of money for doing absolutely nothing but sitting around eating junk food, playing Xbox, and watching TV? I haven't figured out a way to make money at it yet.

Hmm... reading that makes me wonder. How the hell do I not have a boyfriend? Meh... too lazy to try and figure it out...

Posted by: LolaGabanna [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 22, 2005 10:12 PM

Back in the days of high school ('84-'89), I had a cool multi-band radio that I used to listen to BBC world news and a variety of other nifty spots on the dials. Channels that were entirely morse code were lots of fun to practice with, others just (to my ear) random noise...

Then I moved to Ottawa, and the parental units didn't want me to take the radio with me, and that was that. Whenever I'm out and I see one, I always stop to look at them, remembering the past, and then reminding myself that my bills don't pay themselves. :-/

Soon... After I get a PowerBook so I can do my video editing work out of the home office.

Posted by: AmiNTT [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 22, 2005 10:14 PM

O.O Wow. My Daddy introduced me to shortwave when I was little. We'd take the SW out on camping trips, and I thought it was the coolest fucking thing in the world to listen to the radio out in the middle of nowhere, long after even the AM gospel and farm stations faded into static. Of course, a lot of the things we picked up weren't even in English, which made it even cooler, but I've been a SW listener for most of my life. It just goes to prove that, though technology advances, some things just never get old. And yes, I remember (and watched) UHF television. The reception was better after dark for some reason. Daddy used to say it was because of the mountain we lived in the shadow of, there in the lonely desert of Arizona. (Yes, we have mountains in Arizona. Big ones. With telescopes on them so no one can camp on them anymore above a certain elevation. Assholes. But I digress.)

And about your thoughts controlling the future...be careful with that. It seems every time I think "I'd like another kitten", one always shows up the next day. (And I have three cats because of it!) And I've learned you can't use your powers for self-advancement. I've thought "I'd like to be debt free" a thousand times, and although that's progressing steadily, it never happens the next day like the kitten thing does. Oh well. That's what makes life fun!

Continuing Mojo to the Fat Boy,
The Goddess of Justice and Vengeance

Posted by: Aylaleia [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 22, 2005 10:31 PM

Bummer to hear about Doc Scott. I sent many a night watching him scream, yell, and scribble all over his whiteboard. He talked about everything from King Tut to images of god on burnt toast. Sometimes he got so far off the edge he would walk away and leave the camera pointing at a chair for an hour.

So far, on his website there is no mention of his death but we can still watch him "live"

Posted by: Seth car [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 23, 2005 01:36 AM

And here I was thinking I was the only one who road the "short waves". I remember getting my grandfathers radio and listening to the BBC world service during the Falklands war.....mmmm that was a long time ago wasn't it?

Take care Wil.

Posted by: BSeanD [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 23, 2005 02:15 AM

And here I was thinking I was the only one who road the "short waves". I remember getting my grandfathers radio and listening to the BBC world service during the Falklands war.....mmmm that was a long time ago wasn't it?

Take care Wil.

Posted by: BSeanD [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 23, 2005 02:16 AM

And here I was thinking I was the only one who road the "short waves". I remember getting my grandfathers radio and listening to the BBC world service during the Falklands war.....mmmm that was a long time ago wasn't it?

Take care Wil.

Posted by: BSeanD [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 23, 2005 02:16 AM

Hey sorry for the multiple post guys. Not sure what the heck is going on.

Posted by: BSeanD [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 23, 2005 02:18 AM

Have you heard about the Conet Project? A whole bunch of recordings of numbers stations that is some of the most surreal stuff I've ever heard, and sits forever on my wish list (along with the OED two volume edition) waiting for my life to become flush with cash.
My father just recently gave me a short wave radio that was gathering dust in his garage, and it really is intense fiddling around with it. You never know where the sounds are coming from - a few nights back I was guessing it was a Scandinavian country - perhaps a talk show about politics? Or a discussion on the invention of the electric toaster? I have no idea. I fell asleep to these incredibly curvy accents and dreamt about...well, I dreamt about Mom cooking spaghetti, so I guess the station didn't actually impact my dreams! But, still, it's seriously entertaining stuff.

Posted by: s_stringer [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 23, 2005 05:54 AM

Hi, Wil!
I don't know how long after a post you check the comments, but for what it's worth, don't worry. I have personally killed Jerry Garcia, Joey Ramone and at least two other people you've never heard of. I am notorious (within the confines of my little group of friends) for being the Angel of Death. All I have to do is wonder how someone is, and reflect (aloud) on how long they have left. And then the answer is invariably, "Not that long, now." So, it's not just you.
Chin up!

Posted by: serafina [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 23, 2005 06:54 AM

[M]y thoughts control the future, so watch ouut.

You might be more correct than you realize. Check out this

Posted by: utoddl [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 23, 2005 07:15 AM


Maybe it's just a sign of our generation (doubt it...my classmates were just as bad as those damn kids), but I'll admit to being a shortware listener and go you one better...my favorite receiver is regen! Nothing enhances the romance of an evening at the shortware like then growling and whining of a regenerative receiver...makes the entire house sound like a bad sci-fi flick!


Posted by: N9UXU [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 23, 2005 10:25 AM

Simmilar story sort of ,I listen to the Voice of Free China in Taipei, or so I thought In reality I pick it up from a bounce transmitter off the coast of Florida . Bummer. I also have listened to stuff in languages I dont understand and all sort of odd music ever since I was about 10 when I dug an old zenith worlband out of the attic. Maybe part of the mystic is that to get good stuff you have to be up late into the night. Well for a 10 year old that was it. By the way did you like that movie Frequency?

Posted by: jasonrelliott [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 23, 2005 11:42 AM

hey, wil.

so, do we pray to you, or is paypal okay?

Posted by: drow [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 23, 2005 12:19 PM

This is sort of off topic, sort of not :)
I was listening to your reading of Just A Geek...I really have to buy that, I love Dancing Barefoot.
I too began a blog, nothing as grand as yours, mine is to keep up with family and friends and to take quizzes and just have fun. I took a quiz for my "blogger twin" and it was you. As I explained in the post in my blog, that must be why I had sucha HUGE crush on you as Wesley...(OK...I went to a convention just to meet you, posted about that on the soapbox once...Funny Pants Anonymous...Also *blushing beat red* I did things like send you tapes, instead of just plain old ordinary fan mail, of me playing the piano for you and such...aren't we glad we grow out of such things, well, most of us anyway...)
below is a link to the entry of me as your "blogger twin"...hopefully my real life twin won't be too upset. Heck, she wants Riker anyway...I think she is willing to take on both Marina and Genie Francis to get him to *evil grin*
Me, on the other hand, will be very happy with my hubby and two girls and leave you and your wife to live in peace of one less fanatic fan out there...

Posted by: Katryn [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 23, 2005 12:47 PM

For some humor at Robert Tilton's expense, check out this tasteless flash movie: http://crazy101.com/taf/swf/vd_02.swf

Posted by: Seth [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 23, 2005 02:39 PM

Ha! My friends and I were big Dr. Gene Scott fans as kids, although I remember thinking he lived in Dallas since they used to run hour-long shots of a ranch he owned where beautiful women rode horses all day. His blackboard-fu and ability to interweave theology, history, linguistics, and cultural studies was masterful, as were the crazy diagrams he made to illustrate them. We always joke about his habit of just lighting a cigar and sitting there with a closeup on his face. Occasionally he would say "that's it! I'm not talking until you call with more money!" and then it would go back to him smoking in silence. That is golden stuff.

Tilton was another favorite of mine, although strangely I can only find him on BET anymore. I was on his mailing list, and so used to get all sorts of cool packets of holy water, "seeds of prayer," and even a friggin poster with red dots all over his body that you were supposed to touch while you prayed.


The Other Wil

Posted by: TheOtherWil [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 23, 2005 03:29 PM

My thoughts control the future, too. A couple years ago, my roommate and I were flipping channels on the TV and Mr. Roger's Neighborhood came on. We looked at each other and giggled.

"Wow, I haven't seen this show since I was a kid," I said.

"Isn't he dead now?" asked my roommate.

"No, but he's really old."

The next morning, he was dead. To this day I am wracked with guilt over killing Mr. Rogers.

Posted by: Rena [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 23, 2005 03:38 PM

I remember in the '80s, knocking around on the computer until 9:00 PM or so and then retiring to the kitchen to watch a rerun of ST:TNG every night on the TV antenna while eating a grilled cheese. Then, I'd catch Arsenio Hall and then Morton Downey Jr. Now there was a wack! I loved his rage. It was many, many years before DishNetwork, DirecTV and Primestar were available in my rural Kansas area.

Speaking of Kansas... I just finished "What's the Matter with Kansas?" that is featured on the homepage of Wil's site. Being from and living in Kansas I believe I can speak from an insiders point of view on this book. I am very familiar with the nutjobs that are mentioned in the book. In a couple of cases I know the politican or his/her family well. This book is DEAD ON! Frank (the author) slips into a little hyperbole for dramatic effect once or twice, but the truth is always there. There are places that are as bleak as he writes about.

Wil lived in Kansas about the same time I was in college. I wish I would have known that at the time because I would love to have had a beer with him in those days. I don't believe Wil's experience in Topeka, KS was all that pleasant. I like to think I could have changed that.

There are pockets of liberal thinkers in Kansas but our voices are drowned out by the din of all the praising going on around us.


Posted by: whoisdan [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 23, 2005 07:19 PM

I never really listened to short wave, but have had some rather interesting weather-related experiences with AM and FM. Once, when I was in junior high, I was dialing through the spectrum during a really crazy electrical storm, and was able to recieve a broadcast of a talk show from MO.

I've also picked up really distant signals, but at the time I had no clue where from. All I knew was A) it was fuckin' cold (blizzard), and the guy on the air was most certainly not speaking any language I recognized.

I'll have to look into radio of all kinds down the road here. Always found it interesting, just never took the time to look further into it. Damn Internet...

Posted by: Eric in PA [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 23, 2005 07:49 PM

Wil -

Just wanted to say that your weblog is a neat idea. I like you as an actor, and this is the first time I've looked at your blog since I recently heard that you had one. It's neat to get to know more of "the real you".

And you're the only other person I know of who has listened to Deutsche Welle! I used to listen to Deutsche Welle online every so often, as well as other online stations from around the world - it's good to get other perspectives on things!

Posted by: Eric in Beaverton, OR [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 23, 2005 08:11 PM

I remember Dr. Gene, I used to see him on Channel 38 up here in the Bay Area.

It's been a long time since I heard a "numbers station" too, if you don't count Wilco's album "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot".

Posted by: Kevin [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 23, 2005 09:09 PM

I remember flipping to Gene Scott when I was little. Even back then I knew instinctively that there was something phony about him. There's a sucker every second! Hopefully, St Peter has put him in his place!!!!! Or do I mean Satan???????


Posted by: Scott T [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 23, 2005 10:36 PM

I remember flipping to Gene Scott when I was little. Even back then I knew instinctively that there was something phony about him. There's a sucker every second! Hopefully, St Peter has put him in his place!!!!! Or do I mean Satan???????


Posted by: Scott T [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 23, 2005 10:36 PM

Damn! Sorry! I keep doing that!!!

Posted by: Scott T [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 23, 2005 10:38 PM

We need a post about the WPT! You really did good, except for maybe one hand where you fed the blonde way too many chips with a bunk hand I thought you played right on. Staring down Levar on that bluff was awesome... he sorta annoyed me by taking it a little too seriously and playing the ego card. Even if it was a tactic, just made him look haughty.

Anyway, make with the behind-the-scenes dishing! (please)

Posted by: genem [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 24, 2005 11:16 AM

You don't CONTROL the future you goon! :P

You just have a gift for sensing it ;)

btw sw is so cool. I am not the least bit surprised that you use it.

Posted by: NephraTari [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 24, 2005 11:51 AM

Hey Wil,
Since you like shortwave so much, have you ever considered getting your ham radio license, and actually talking on shortwave? It's a lot of fun, and the intro-level license doesn't even require morse code knowledge anymore. Drop me an email if you're interested, I can hook you up with the info.


Posted by: zildjian [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 24, 2005 01:23 PM

for anyone reading this without shortwave radios, who'd like to hear what numbers stations sound like, the fine folks at Irdial Records have released The Conet Project (a 4 disc collection of numbers station recordings) online. you can download them from the Internet Archive at:


Posted by: housepig [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 24, 2005 05:25 PM

Hello Wil - I've been reading your blog for years now and finally have a comment. I had no idea you were into shortwave. I am an amateur radio operator W2XBS is the call, and I am the coordinator of a ham radio news program (and podcast) called This Week in Amateur Radio. Many folks around the country volunteer there time to make this program happen each week. (We're in our 12th year now). Just recently, we started a shortwave program on WBCQ on 7.415 mhz. I thought I would through an opportunity your way. If you would like to talk on a monthly basis or so on whatever topic you like, I would be happy to include you in our shortwave broadcast. All you would need to do is send us a wav file. If this
sounds interesting, feel free to get in touch with me. Please visit our web site at www.twiar.org for more info. For now, 73 as they say, and keep up the webs best blog! More later! George - W2XBS

Posted by: w2xbs [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 24, 2005 06:58 PM

While I haven't thought of him anytime lately, I have wondered what happened to Gene Scott a time or two over the past 15 years or so. I watched him from time to time while in High School (Class of '87!) I even played the part of him in a skit at church camp one summer, complete with hat, a cigar made from a tree limb, and a shaving cream beard.

Posted by: slbentley [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 27, 2005 02:31 PM
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