Everything oldies is new again on KSER

Danny Holiday played it all, favorite oldies, top-40 hits and classic rock. Buddy Holly and The Beatles, Roy Orbison and Ray Charles, the Everett-born DJ kept the tunes spinning.

His radio career stretched from the 1960s through the 1990s.

“I have played ‘Good Vibrations’ by the Beach Boys let’s say at least 500 times,” said Holiday, 65, who’s now retired and living near Stanwood. “I wouldn’t play that record today if the barn was on fire.”

That is, he wouldn’t play the version of the song familiar to listeners of the Seattle stations where he made his living, KBSG, KOL and KZOK. Holiday retired in 1998 from the night shift at KBSG. The oldies station recently went off the air, and its 97.3 FM place on the dial was taken over by a simulcast of KIRO (710 AM) news and talk.

The oldies station is gone, but Holiday is back. This weekend, the veteran of commercial radio plans to play the songs he wants to — including a lesser-known recording of Brian Wilson’s “Good Vibrations.”

Holiday has brought his “Rock ‘n Roll Time Machine” show to the Everett-based public radio station KSER (90.7 FM). The show started Sept. 7 and airs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sundays on KSER.

“What I’m playing are songs that mid-charted, songs you’re never going to hear again,” Holiday said Thursday.

Becky Passarella, KSER’s development director, said the addition of Holiday is one of several changes in the station’s lineup. The station’s news and public affairs director, Ed Bremer, will be heard at 8 a.m. weekdays in combination with a news show from Public Radio International called “The Takeaway,” featuring John Hockenberry and Adaora Udoji.

Holiday’s show filled a slot that previously aired classical music. The classical show was moved to an earlier time. Passarella said some programming changes are intended to boost listenership with more contemporary music. “It’s a pretty exciting new lineup,” she said.

Having an on-air personality from commercial radio isn’t a first for KSER. “We had Moskowitz,” Passarella said. “Music With Moskowitz” was a comedy and novelty-song program hosted by Robert Baron, aka Madman Moskowitz. The show aired on commercial stations before moving to KSER. Baron died in 2006.

Disc jockeys on KSER are volunteers, each showcasing different music genres. In this sorry season for Husky football, I’m hooked on KSER’s Saturday afternoon shows. Van Ramsey’s “Pull the String” is an irreverent celebration of surf and rockabilly, and “Frettin’ Fingers” with Jim Hilmar is packed with guitar greats.

After a decade away from radio, Holiday had help from Hilmar getting back in the swing of it. “In the control room, Jim took the time to break me in. All the people there are dedicated, or they wouldn’t be there,” Holiday said.

He needed no help getting back into music, a lifelong love.

So far, Holiday’s listeners have been treated to Ricky Nelson’s “String Along” and a two-part version of Ray Charles “What’d I Say.”

“I’m going in with what I believe to be a show people will enjoy,” Holiday said.

Born and raised in Everett until his family moved to Anacortes when he was in high school, his given name is Dan Thygesen. Like most disc jockeys of his era, he took a stage name. Holiday comes from the Holiday Ballroom, an old music venue in Burlington. “It was the first place I ever sang in a band and got paid,” he said.

He’s not getting paid, but Holiday is happy to be back on the air, if not in the radio business. At KSER, he’s taking listeners on a different journey.

“I call it unusual common rock ‘n’ roll,” he said. “I’m driving this bus. Every once in a while, I’ll pull off the road and play something you’ve never heard before, then get back on the road again.”

Columnist Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460 or muhstein@heraldnet.com.

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