RAMBLIN' ROD ANDERS – POPULAR RADIO HOST TO TV FAME

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  • #15662
    Craig_Adams
    Participant

    Today November 26, 1933 Rodney Carl Andersen, later known as Ramblin’ Rod Anders was born in Portland to Theresa Elise Graves and Carl L. Andersen. Rodney had a older brother: Stanley W., and a younger brother: Roger Herbert. Rod graduated from Benson High School and Lewis & Clark College.

    Rod began his career in radio broadcasting in the 1950s, singing and playing music on Saturday mornings for KTIL Tillamook. Anderson stayed with KTIL until he was drafted into the armed forces, where he served as a radio repairman. On September 17, 1955 Rod’s first son Vincent Anthony Andersen was born and the family was living at: 10016 N.E. Hassalo St. In 1957 Rod’s first daughter Karla Eileen Andersen was born.

    In 1958 when his tenure was up in the armed forces, he returned to radio, filling on-air positions at KFLW Klamath Falls. In 1959 Rod landed a job at KUIK Hillsboro. Then to KXL but it was at KPOJ where Rod Anderson, shortened his name to Anders in 1962, using the nickname Ramblin’ Rod Anders as his disc jockey name, where he’d sometimes play his guitar and sing songs on the air. In November 1962 Rod’s second son Robyn Patrick Andersen was born. Rod’s Sunday show became so popular KPOJ moved him immediately to weekday mornings on April 1, 1963. On April 26, 1964 Rod’s third son Dana Kory Andersen was born and the family was living at: 44 S.E. 202nd Ave.

    KPOJ ad: “Who feels like singing so early in the morning? Ramblin’ Rod Anders does! And…if you get up with the chickens, Rod knows how you feel…SLEEPY! 5:30 to 10:00 A.M.” In 1964, Rod heard of an opening at KPTV. Addie Bobkins host of “Popeye’s Pier 12” was leaving for a job at KPTV’s sister station KCOP (TV-13) Los Angeles. Rod auditioned and won the job. The nickname Ramblin’ Rod Anders stuck and on September 7, 1964 Ramblin’ Rod became the new host of “Popeye’s Pier 12” 5:30 to 6:00pm weekdays on KPTV.

    On January 12, 1970 KPTV ads began showing “Popey’s Pier 12” had changed its name to “Ramblin’ Rod Anders’ Cartoons” or “The Ramblin’ Rod Show” and a new time 4:30pm to 5:00pm. His show was the last of its kind, an all-local cartoon show. Thousands of Portland parents have videotapes of their children appearing on his show. He’d typically invite about 40 children, ages 3 to 12, to the program.

    Anders said his rapport with kids was intuitive. “I don’t consult with child psychologists or anything,” he once said in an interview. “But they probably ought to consult with me.” For years, Anders did his show live, which occasionally brought surprises. A child might be too shy to talk or get scared and cry or suddenly stand and ask for the restroom. “Kids are terrific people,” he said. “Very forward. Very honest.”

    Rod had a unique sense of making a kid feel important. Wearing his trademark sweater plastered with buttons, he’d pin their’s on his sweater, promote their clubs, organizations and award prizes for their smiles. In addition Rod was an ardent supporter of the Muscular Dystrophy Association and served as a host for the local broadcast of the Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon on KPTV for 31 years. On April 2, 1984 Rod’s father Carl L. Andersen died at age 80 in Cloverdale.

    In August 1997 “The Ramblin’ Rod Show” ended and Rod Anders retired. There were many local children’s shows in the early 1960s, but Ramblin’ Rod outlasted them all.

    On May 10, 2002 Rod Anders “beloved” figure and former television host of the popular Ramblin’ Rod children’s cartoon show broadcast for 33 years died Friday evening after a stroke earlier in the day. He was 69. Witnesses said Anders was attending an open house Friday for a new Volunteers of America of Oregon Inc. thrift store on 182nd Street in Gresham when he became ill. Paramedics took him to Portland’s Adventist Medical Center, where he passed away.

    “He loved what he did,” said his son, Vincent Andersen. “He was in excellent condition. It was a real shock. He was the last of an era.”

    “Rod Anders’ show was the last of its kind, an all-local cartoon show,” said Bruno Rudolph, promotion manager at KPTV. “He was very beloved here at the station. He was really a show that helped define KPTV for many, many years. Rod had a unique sense of making a kid feel important,” said Rudolph. “He always treated the children almost like adults.

    Rudolph said Anders was the same friendly man on the air or off. “He is always very personable,” he said. “He would come in to do a telethon for us on a yearly basis, and he always had a handshake and warm smile. . . . He is one of the nicest people I have ever met in this business.”

    References: The Oregonian & Wikipedia.

    #15671
    semoochie
    Participant

    He once bought a guitar from my dad or vice versa. I always thought it was when he was working for KLIQ but you didn’t mention them, so it must have been another station but I’m pretty sure it was before his kids’ show.

    #15792
    Dxer1969
    Participant

    Excellent job, Craig! Thank you so much for the effort and all of the detail! Rod Anders was the man to us kids!

    #35260
    jimheim
    Participant

    Rod was also an avid pilot. He took my son and I up one afternoon in his Maule. While cruising the Columbia Gorge he spotted his brother at a log scaling station on the shore. He landed on a sandbar and went over for a short confab. That was my inspiration to learn to fly, a passion of over thirty years.

    #35273
    Andy Brown
    Participant

    Welcome to PDXradio Jim. I was a young kid out of college with two and a half years in Pennsylvania radio when I moved out here in spring of 1976. You hired me my second day here when I drove up to Mt. Scott and you happened to be working at the KUPL installation. You gave me a brief history of Portland radio and set me up with some part time work. Good to know you’re still kicking around. Many of the radio engineering guys from back then are no longer among the living. Some are. I went from KUPL to KVAN to KMJK to KATU to free lancer. Thanks for stopping by.

    #35315
    jimheim
    Participant

    Andy, I remember you. Glad to know you did well. I retired (inadvertently) in 2001 and now live with my wife on a small horse farm in North Carolina. I do contract work for a couple of small-market AMs since getting engineers to small towns is not easy. Just got my CSRE last month and try to stay active. And I design small computer systems to automate some of the station’s functions (like changing power). Keeps me busy.

    #35384
    Andy Brown
    Participant

    I still remember the sign in the back of the KUPL phasor cabinet. “Should we fuck it up ourselves or call a consultant?”

    #35417
    jimheim
    Participant

    Timeless advice!

    KPOJ’s three towers blew down during the 1962 Columbus Day storm, after several years of hard work to stabilize the pattern. Herb Davidson (long-time chief engineer) had just left for a well-deserved vacation only to learn of the disaster. He told me years later that when he got to the site, all he could do was cry. I would too.

    For many years he had a photo of the fallen towers on the wall above his desk. The caption read, “It can always be worser.” And it always can.

    #35485
    Andy Brown
    Participant

    Here’s Craig’s writeup of the Columbus Day storm and its effect on broadcasters in the area.

    http://feedback.pdxradio.com/topic/broadcasters-cope-with-columbus-day-storm

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