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Marvin Baker
Marvin Baker

Upside Down Under -- A Party of Parties

Marvin Baker
 August 7, 2022
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A party of parties… 

What happens when a group of 20 somethings with nothing to do get together? They have a party. That’s what a group of us in Edgeley did on March 16, 1981. But this was no ordinary party.  

Yes, it was 41 years ago, but I still think about this party a lot and all the positive energy that made it a success.  

The first unusual thing about our party was that it was held on a Monday night and it was limited to a guest list of 10. You can about imagine the reactions when everyone found out we were having a party on a Monday night. Once everyone got through the stigma of “Monday,” they all agreed it would bring a bang to the end of winter. 

Instead of just getting together, we took it up a notch and used our creativity to do something that some of us still talk about today.  

Back in those days, there were a number of us who were considered audiophiles so what we did was “pool” our home stereo equipment to create a massive sound system, something that was loud and would come in handy later. 

What some of us did was to create a 3-hour script for a fictitious radio station that was designed just for this night. We used my old CB call letters KBNG. Everyone involved was given a copy of the script, two tape decks recorded the audio, and the fun began. 

Your’s truly opened the show and I still remember the opening song very well. It was “Hey Nineteen” by Steely Dan. That set the tone for the rest of the night and all the others embraced this crazy idea that we carried out on just another Monday night in March. 

But it wasn’t all just music. We had one individual who was still in high school but had a terrific radio voice. He became our news announcer, and it was his job, leading up to the party, to create a satire news program that would make everyone laugh.  

He didn’t disappoint. 

He later went to college, worked at several radio stations in Fargo and then moved to Rapid City where he became one of the most successful on-air personalities in the Rapid City market.  

We had another high school student, classmate of the news announcer, who had a seriously dry sense of humor and a monotone voice. We used that to our advantage. He became the “reverend” for that night and provided satirical spiritual information that nearly put us all to sleep. He too, did his job very well. This young man went on to spend a successful career in the Army. 

One guy, who was one-third bigger than all the rest of us, was the nicest guy you’d ever want to meet, yet he was quite timid and didn’t want to speak into a microphone. He was part of our group and had to be there so he became “Lurch,” the doorman. Lurch had strict orders from the rest of us to not allow anyone into the building other than those on the guest list of 10. 

Sadly, one of the people from that night was recently deceased. He was one of four people who pooled our stereo equipment to make this such a memorable night. He brought Marantz equipment to the table. This guy was somewhat of a loose cannon of a comedian, but at the same time would give you the shirt off his back when things got serious.  

I guess that’s why I think about March 16, 1981 a lot. We lost Kent Meidinger last year in October at age 55. He was a successful businessman and always retained that sarcastic wit about him that added so much to KBNG that night. 

Fast forward to now. We’ve all done a lot of different things in the past 41 years… gone through college, got married, sometimes more than once, taken exotic trips, been through the military and retired.  

I can’t speak for the rest because I’ve lost track of nearly all of them. But I have to say that of all the things that I’ve done and seen in my adult life; none of it comes close to the creativity of that night and how we pulled off a three-hour “radio show” that should have been aired somewhere. 

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