Opinion: Working Conference Weekend
Oct 1, 2022, 12:00 PM | Updated: Jan 4, 2023, 2:45 pm
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SALT LAKE CITY — My first job at KSL, when I was hired in 1990 by Rod Arquette, was to work weekends. I was on the air from 12:00 to 8:00 PM. Filling eight hours of programming, two days in a row, was a full time job. I had several regular weekly shows. Like Pet Talk, where a veterinarian answered listeners’ questions about their cats and dogs; Computer Talk, where a computer expert answered questions about the first PCs people were buying at the time for home use; Story Hour, where I read stories for children (and adults); and Making a Living, where I interviewed people from different professions to see what it was like to be a hotel concierge or receptionist or prison guard. I filled the remaining hours with newsmakers, politicians, and celebrities who were in town for the weekend.
Some of the weekends that I remember best and thoroughly enjoyed were conference weekends. Back then, I didn’t have any recorded programs from KSL hosts to play in between and around the four general sessions. I did all of those myself and most of them live. This need for guests who had something to say that was appropriate for airing in between sessions led to my making a lifelong friend – Cinda Morgan.
Cinda worked in public relations at Bookcraft Publishing, which was purchased years later by Deseret Book. Cinda would schedule wonderful guests for me for Saturday and Sunday at 12:00 and 1:00 PM. Once I interviewed the three amazing women who made up the presidency of the Relief Society at the time. I interviewed Elaine Cannon, Chieko Okazaki, Gerald Lund, Richard and Linda Eyre, and Paul Dunn.
My mother loved Paul Dunn’s books, just like thousands of others. When my sweet mama was in the hospital, before she received her kidney transplant, I was so worried I would lose her before I could get to her side in Pennsylvania. I called Brother Dunn and asked him if he might have five minutes to call my mother in the hospital and encourage her. He was at the airport when I reached him, minutes away from flying out of town. That did not stop him from calling my mother and praying with her on the phone.
I also interviewed a woman who later would be a regular guest of mine on A Woman’s View and, so surprisingly to her and me, would become my dearest friend in the world. Anita Stansfield, the best selling author of relationship fiction for the Latter-day Saint market, first came on my conference weekend show in 1991. As I write these words, I am planning to drive to her home in Utah County and spend conference Saturday with her. We are always buoyed and strengthened by being together.
Conference weekend was quiet at the station, but very special. Hearing prayers come over the speakers that played throughout the building is a unique experience. For those hours, I didn’t think about news or sports or anything except what was being said. All of us, regardless of whether we were members of the church or not, were uplifted by these weekends.
Oh . . . and someone (I don’t know who was responsible) catered a wonderful lunch and dinner for us. Turkey, green beans, mashed potatoes, Lion House rolls. Ummmmmm – I can almost taste them now.