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"Barney Keep" Was Honorary Mayor of Portland

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  • Started 7 years ago by Craig_Adams

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  1. Craig_Adams
    Radio historian

    Yet another Portland Radio fact, lost in time, was the instance when KEX morning personality Barney Keep was honorary Mayor of Portland.

    This all started Tuesday March 6, 1956 when it was announced in The Oregonian's "Behind The Mike" column:
    LUCKY YOU ! You get to vote for your favorite disc jockey again --- provided he works for KXL, KEX, KVAN or KPDQ, that is ... the unctuous gent who has the most contributions to the Easter Seal Fund sent in with his name on the envelope gets to be Mayor for a day, March 28.

    On Wednesday March 14, 1956 readers of the column found out who they could vote for:
    Here's the list of local deejays who have volunteered to participate in "Mayor for a Day" competition in interest of promoting this years sale of Easter Seals: Shorty Hecox and Ken DeBord of KVAN; Moon Mullins, Keith Griggs, Don Wilkinson and Mark Fidler of KPDQ; Bob McCarl, Don Porter, Ric Thomas and Larry Caramella of KXL, and Barney Keep and Bob Adkins [Addie Bobkins] of KEX. One receiving most contributions, mailed directly to "Easter Seal Fund, Portland, Or." with name of deejay written on front, through March 24, will be made honorary Mayor.

    On Thursday March 15, 1956 a statement from a candidate:
    Barney Keep of KEX competing in that Easter Seal contest to become deejay "Mayor for a Day," has announced a campaign slogan: "Vote for Keep. He needs the graft. Will replace city council members with lovely models."

    On Friday March 16, 1956 yet another candidate statement:
    During recent Spring days Barney Keep KEX deejay candidate for Mayor has been worried about birds in the Park blocks. "We must do something for them," he says. "They look so bedraggled. In fact my whole campaign is strictly for the birds."

    On Wednesday March 21, 1956 votes were being tabulated at Easter Seals Campaign Headquarters:
    Ric Thomas sounded sad Tuesday morning over his chances in the Easter Seal "Mayor for a Day" contest, but his spy at headquarters hadn't given him the latest results. Here's present rating: (1) Barney Keep (KEX); (2) Ric Thomas (KXL) and (3) Bob McCarl (KXL).

    On Saturday March 24, 1956 time was running out:
    This weekend is the last chance to send votes to Easter Seal headquarters in the deejay campaign for Mayor for a Day. Votes will be counted Monday morning. Deejays from four stations participating --- KEX, KXL, KPDQ and KVAN.

    On Thursday March 29, 1956 Barney shown holding a stack of an estimated 200 45rpm's. Column picture with caption below:
    Barney Keep, KEX deejay who won the Easter Seal Mayor-for-a-day contest, exchanged tools of trade with Mayor Fred L. Peterson Wednesday. Keep traded his records for gavels.

    On Friday March 30, 1956 the reign of Mayor Keep and morning deejay Lovable Fred is retold:
    "THE HOURS this Keep keeps!" exclaims Mayor Fred L. Peterson as he spins another platter over KEX at 6:30 a. m. Wednesday. Mayor and Barney had traded jobs for a day, because the deejay won Easter Seal Mayor-for-a-day contest ... Meanwhile Barney had plans of his own. He presided over a City Council meeting with luscious model Pat Carmen seated on his lap. Pat was "the new look" that Barney had promised voters at City Hall ... Keep called roll on several major issues before council, then introduced the fluoridation and E-R resolutions which he had promised constituents during his campaign. Briefly, they went this way:

    Fluoridation --- "Everyone should move to Florida during January and February."
    E-R Center --- "Should be suspended by dirigibles so that it can be moved all over city and keep everyone happy."

    With these important items off agenda, he reminded council that California is trying to divert the Columbia River, suggested they offer the Willamette so we will have neither East nor West side.

    While the City pulled itself together after these rude shocks, Barney and Mayor attended the Ad Club luncheon. Jack Fitting introduced Mayor as "that old deejay, Lovable Fred, from radio station KICK." Jack continued, "I don't know whether to make it Mayor Peterson or Mayor Keep." "Just say Keep-Peterson-Mayor," replied his honor ... Barney pointed finger at KXL's Bob McCarl. "There sits the Joe Dobbins of the deejays," he said.

    Posted on July 31, 2013 - 04:14 AM #