Sunday, October 3, 2010

Dueling Frequencies

I took my family to Beech Mountain this weekend for Autumn at Oz, the one time of the year they re-open the 1970s theme park Land of Oz (see my previous blog entry on this). They had a great time, of course. My daughter dressed as Glinda the Good Witch and my son the Tin Man.

The weather was great. It was a clear, blue-sky day with not a cloud in site. We were about to leave when I decided to take a scenic drive around the north side of Beech Mountain (my wife would claim I took a wrong turn). I was listening to my usual radio station, WNCW 88.7, which always has a great program called "Going Across the Mountain" on Saturday afternoons, the best and longest bluegrass program you can find on the radio. I wasn't paying close attention to the music, though, as I was driving around looking for the way down, er... I mean looking around. The DJ came on the radio and announced "You are listening to 88.7 WMMT in Whitesburg, Kentucky...." I had one of those "What the?!" moments like I had heard it wrong, but I hadn't.

Here I was on top of Beech Mountain, North Carolina, listening to a radio station broadcasting from Whitesburg, Kentucky, where my good friend Wiley Quixote (Jim Webb) DJs. I was just there this past July on the radio myself (see previous post). By the time I stopped saying, "Cool!" over and over the frequency started switching between WNCW and WMMT to the point that my daughter started laughing. It was Alison Krauss and Union Station vs. Gary Stewart singing "She's Acting Single, and I'm Drinking Doubles."

I was told by my friend Jim Web that at one time many folks could listen to WMMT in NC, but when WNCW started broadcasting in 1989 their frequency overpowered all of the listening range for WMMT in NC. I guess at this altitude, and being on the north side of the mountain, there are still pockets that are shadowed and still within range.

"Hey, Honey! It's 'Dueling Frequencies!'" I laughed. My wife wasn't as impressed. It would've been really funny if Eric Weissburg had started picking against Arlo Guthrie or something like that.

She wryly responded, "Let's just hope Jeb and Zeke don't jump out of the woods and see your 'purty' teeth."

"Jenny, we're on Beech Mountain. We're more likely to see Mr. Moneybags step out of his million-dollar chalet walking his Pomeranian on a Gucci dog leash. I'm more likely to be labelled 'deranged hillbilly' in this neighborhood!"

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