It was the winter of '55-56. Bill Wippel was behind the mic, DJ-ing at Yakima's KUTI.
It was mighty cold that day (minus 25 F., Wippel says) and a small herd of local mice decided they'd had enough of the Yakima winter so they invaded. The ran into the xmtr (transmitter) and, Wip says, "Their tails would get caught in the mercury vapor tubes, throwing us off the air."
They set mouse traps. The xmtr was next to the board with no glass between. As he read a funeral home Christmas greeting, a mouse trap snapped, decapitating a vermin.
began to laugh and had to tell listeners what was going on. Forty-five minutes later,
dozens of cars were lined up in front of the station, listeners offering
their cats to chase the mice to keep the station on the air!"
Wippel started his radio career in his hometown of Ellensberg as a DJ and whgile attending WSU,worked as an announcer at KNEW. After college, he worked around Eastern Washington and Idaho as a copywriter, announcer and DJ. He co-owned KOFE in Pullman for a time.
He came to Seattle in 1964 and started working as a newsman at for Martin Tobin, who was KOL’s news director in the early 1960s. He then moved with Tobin to Wally Nelskog’s KIXI in 1965.
While a beat reporter at KIXI, he worked with such on-air luminaries as Don Riley, Martin Tobin, Dave Ballard, Wally Nelskog, Rudy Perez, Bob Liddle and Dean Smith.
He won several journalism awards for reporting the King
County Courthouse scandal. "Had my life threatened by one of the officials
I investigated," he says.
After a stint as TV anchor in Tacoma (KTNT) and Green Bay, WI (WBAY); a GM job in the Tri Cities, he came back to Seattle as news director at KIRO radio just as the station launched its news/talk format in 1976.
Among his new hires was Dave Ross from WSB in Atlanta.
After three years at KIRO, Wippel went to Seattle's KCIS for 10 years as an announcer. Bill Taylor hired him to be as a broadcast information officer for the GOP HouseCaucus for the 1989 and 1990 legislative sessions.
Bill Wippel rounded out his career as director of community relations for the Union Gospel Mission. He now makes sure the facts are straight in the comment threads of many publications (including BlatherWatch) and is an announcer for the American Christian Network.