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In a scene reminiscent of the wizard commanding Dorothy, I had been sent away by college administrators to get a broadcast license. Armed with a photocopy of an FCC regulation, signed by the FCC as having been accurately copied, the next step was to convince administrators it was what they had expected, and of course it was not. But success was in my sites and I had every intention of becoming the station manager of Orange County's newest radio station, KFJC.

H. Lynn Sheller was the president of Fullerton College. He stood ruler straight, for a 63 year old professor, his white shock of hair slicked back, and the lines creasing his tanned face as practiced as his posture. I was afraid of his eyes. Deep, piercing blue, I was certain they had witnessed many student's attempts at chicanery. But his smile was disarming and he welcomed me into his office. We chatted for some time. I learned this was to be his final year and he looked forward to tending his avocado trees. We talked of his early years on the family farm in Iowa and how, for the first fifteen, he had lived without electricity, gas, or a car. He was one of only a handful of people from his rural community to attend high school, and proud to eventually have earned a doctorate in literature from USC. He asked what I had brought him.

I understood successful magicians add flourish to seal their tricks: a pretty girl, flaming rings, doves flying from hats. I had also noticed few question official papers behind glass, like a diploma, or medical license, hanging on the wall. I handed him the newly framed photocopy authorizing a broadcast station of not more than a half Watt in power. The FCC seal was the hook. My gamble was an Iowa farm boy did not know a half Watt from a whole one–or 250 whole ones–despite the PhD hanging on his wall, behind glass too.

I reminded the members of the radio club it's often better to ask for forgiveness than permission; comforting words to the two climbing the student center roof to install a 300 foot long wire to serve as antenna. Ed Robbie, our new chief engineer, flipped the silver toggle on the Fender guitar amplifier, checked the two vacuum tubes glowing atop an inverted aluminum baking dish, and I dropped the needle on a 7" 45 rpm copy of the Hollies hit, Bus stop, and KFJC 95 AM, was on the air. All 250 watts of it, blanketing a good deal of Fullerton California.

Tomorrow, Mr. Thompson goes ballistic.

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Paul McGowan

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