Bits 'n' pieces: Spinning gold from his apartment

By Scott Hewitt, Columbian social issues & neighborhoods reporter

Published:

 

If you're driving around Stockford Village -- that's 99th Street just west of Interstate 5 -- try spinning your radio dial all the way up to AM 1700.

"Spinning the dial" may sound antiquated but it's probably right, even if your digital radio doesn't have a dial. That's because AM 1700 is the modest home of oldies station Classic Car Gold. It's a low-power station owned and operated by Gerald Gaule, and it broadcasts right out of Gaule's apartment in the Teal Pointe development of West Hazel Dell, a couple blocks north of Bortolami's Pizza.

How low is low power? So low that you can't leave the neighborhood without losing the signal. Gaule is basically broadcasting to his apartment complex.

"We follow all the rules and we have an FCC license," he said. "Pirate stations give stations like ours a bad name."

Gaule has been doing radio since 1975, when he tried his hand at disc jockeying at a country music radio booth at the Clark County Fair.

"I did so good, I was asked to come back," he said.

He wound up working at radio stations from Longview to Eugene, Ore., he said, and in the early 1990s started his own outfit. He also got involved with the OMNI Media Network, an all-Internet radio service that offers news, public affairs, arts and more for visually impaired people.

"I ended up creating a radio network for them with a bunch of different streams," Gaule said. "It was tough but it was a labor of love." To make a real living, Gaule got busy doing the background work that makes radio make money -- recording commercials, voice-overs and public service announcements. He still does these -- for pay or pro bono, depending on the client.

Gaule is now back in the Vancouver area for the first time in decades and broadcasting oldies (meaning music from 1954 to 1979) and more from his pad at Teal Pointe. He said he's sending out several streams for OmniMedia, and recommended that the best way to listen in is by vising the OmniMedia website, omnimedianetworks.org, clicking on "listen" and then scrolling down to stream No. 7, "AM 1700 Classic Car Gold Vancouver."

Truth be told, The Columbian tried this several times and got no place. So, until further notice, we're back to that old-fashioned way of listening to the radio: by spinning the dial.

Call Gaule's request line at 360-550-6840.

Bits 'n' Pieces appears Fridays and Saturdays. If you have a story you'd like to share, email bits@columbian.com.