By Rick Kaempfer
I've really enjoyed Kim's pieces about her heartfelt 9/11 memories. My own memory from that day isn't, I suppose, what you would consider poignant, but it certainly was memorable. I spent my 9/11 morning on the phone, speaking to Eddie Munster.
At the time I was working in radio as the executive producer of the John Records Landecker show on Oldies 104.3. Our newscaster Richard Cantu (now on ABC Network News) had reported that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center, but at the time, we had no idea of any other details.
So, I turned on the television in the studio during a commercial break, and started dialing the phone. We had scheduled a "mystery guest" segment with Butch Patrick. While I was talking to Butch, I got a glimpse of what was happening in New York. That was no ordinary plane that ran into the tower. Butch was watching it too.
"Are you watching this?" he asked.
"You know," I said. "I think maybe this isn't the best time for a mystery guest segment."
He agreed. I hung up the phone, and mentioned to Landecker that I canceled the segment.
"Let's go with coverage of the plane crash," I said.
Moments after we turned on the microphones, and involved all the different elements of the show, we all witnessed the second plane flying into the building live on the air.
Our weatherman Brant Miller exclaimed: "My God, we're at war!"
Landecker and his co-host Leslie Keiling saw it happening and described it to the listeners. The listeners that normally would have turned on the news/talk station stayed with the program.
Even today Landecker is stopped by people who were listening to the show that morning. They feel a personal connection to him because of the real emotion he and the rest of the show members displayed on the air.
Leslie later said: "I now have a glimmer of understanding about sharing a foxhole."
I felt that way too.
In fact, the next few weeks felt that way.
But now that's it been a decade since it occurred, I have to admit, the first thing I think about isn't that shared community moment of angst.
The first I think about is how strange it was to be talking on the phone with Eddie Munster during the most tragic day in American history.