KOMO Air Patrol Strikes Back

Tribute to a Seattle Radio Legend 


Here's a classic Larry story. It was sent in by Joe Coburn, another great Seattle radio voice who is proud to list Larry as his mentor. 

It was in the early 70's -- 72-73 prolly -- and KOMO was the only  station in town with an airplane reporting traffic.  Teddy Garlatz,  Sr. was the pilot.  A very nervous fellow to have such a job.  KJR,  KING, KOL, KIRO all listened to the 2-way conversations between Teddy  and KOMO to embellish their reporting and none of them acknowledged  the fact.

So, one day, Larry calls up all the stations and asks them to make a contribution toward the upkeep of the plane and pilot.  They all declined.

(minor chord here -- impending doom stuff)

Now, Lar and Teddy work out a signal.  Larry gives a key word to Teddy who then provides a bogus traffic report, just over the two-way.

KING immediately went on the air, "Bulletin, Bulletin, Bulletin -- a tanker truck carrying 40,000 gallons of fish oil has just overturned  on the West end of the I-90 floating bridge and has traffic backed up  all the way to Mercer Island!"  KOL Constant Information (Jack Morton  on mornings at that time) reports the same.  KJR Instant Information  (Frank Thompson and Emperor Smith) is hot on their heels and KIRO goes wall-to-wall 'fish oil.'  Even Buck Ritchie over at country KAYO threw  in a blurb.

KOMO said nothing.

It didn't take too long for the truth to come out but by that time the damage was done.  Pat O'day went on KJR with an open apology, KING reported the story, KIRO never mentioned it again and Morton  pronounced KOL as 'The Pirate Radio Station' claiming not only to have  stolen it's traffic reports but the records they played and even the  clock on the wall.

KOMO said nothing.

The real fun started with the legal entanglements as KOMO and KOL had  the same lawyer.

It was one of the greatest moments in the history of Seattle Radio and Lar had just dreamt it up and done it.  He was in so much trouble.  He just smiled and ordered another martini at Vito's.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.