Hello classmates, I hope this finds you well!
After graduation, I worked the summer in Brainerd at Brainerd
Woodcraft. It was while working there I decided that particular
kind of work was not going to be my career choice.
Go back a moment to the spring of 1972. That is when I first
talked to the Air Force Recruiter. I really wasn’t ready at that
time to make a decision, so I didn’t enlist. However, I was
still going over the visit in my mind.
In August of 1972, I went back to talk to the recruiter. Much to
my surprise, the guy I talked to earlier in the year had moved
and there was a new recruiter. We chatted, and I enlisted and
left for active duty before the end of August.
Since enlisting, I’ve been to San Antonio, TX, Denver, CO, and
In 1973, October to be exact, I married Pat Laughlin. Together,
we’ve seen the Panama Canal Zone, Minot, ND, and Recruiting Duty
in Minneapolis, MN.
While serving in Mpls, Pat and I were blessed with two children,
two boys, 23 months apart.
Since then, the family has seen places like Grand Forks, ND,
Kelfavik, Iceland, Dayton OH, and for me, the hot sands of
Desert Storm at Dahran, Air Base, Saudi Arabia.
We retired in 1992 after 20 years, and moved back to Brainerd to
start our new “civilian” chapter of our lives.
While stationed in Iceland, I was able to start the learning
process of being a “disc jockey” on the radio. I met some folks
from Navy Broadcasting at the USO, and they told me to talk to
Petty Officer Swanson. I did and I have been “doing” radio off
and on since.
When we moved back to Brainerd, I went to work at a radio
station in Crosby, MN for Steve and Margaret Hasskamp. I worked
on the air there as an on air personality working the night
shift Monday – Thursday 6 pm to midnight ~ On Friday and
Saturday 6 pm – 2 am. I sure did love being on the air. I worked
there for about 8 months. It was Margaret that gave me my
“radio” name. I walked in one night, about 15 minutes early for
my shift. She was filling in for Tom Lang and I stood in the
doorway of the studio. She was literally in the middle of a
break, talking on the radio, paused, looked my way and said “The
Killer Whale of radio is here”. The nickname stuck.
We moved to Minneapolis in April of 1993. Pat was working as a
caretaker for a property management company and I went to work
for a computer company, working in their warehouse. We lived and
worked in Minneapolis until 1995.
Pat was working at Wendy’s in Golden Valley part time, and was
given the opportunity to be a manager at a new Wendy’s in
Bemidji, MN. In Bemidji, I worked at a radio station, a grocery
store and a computer/office products company. In 1997, Pat was
asked if she would be interested in being the GM of a new
Wendy’s in Fargo, ND. She was and we moved to Fargo.
I was basically looking for radio work when I got to Fargo, and
wasn’t having much luck. So, I helped Pat while the building
that would become Wendy’s was being remodeled. I got a call from
a Gary Weber, and finally landed a job at Kool 96.7 in West
Fargo, ND. Kool 96 was a small station with not much power,
but, I’d like to think we were small but big in the sense that
Gary knew how to “DO” radio. That was probably the most fun I
had while in radio! Thanks for the opportunity Gary!! By the
way, Gary and I are still friends today! Eventually, Pat left
Wendy’s and went to work for Krispy Kreme Donuts in Fargo. I
left Kool 96 after the station was sold and worked at several
jobs including owning my own mobile DJ business.
I was on line at a radio type web site and saw an ad for a
morning guy. The ad didn’t say where it was located, but gave an
e-mail address and a phone number. I sent an e-mail asking where
the 402 area code was located. I got an e-mail back stating it
was in Nebraska. I thanked them for the answer and went back to
work preparing for a wedding I was scheduled to work. I received
another e-mail from this guy asking me if I had a resume and a
demo I could send him. I sent the resume, but forgot the demo.
Twenty minutes later, he called me and asked me to send my demo.
I did, and he called me back and scheduled an interview in
Nebraska City, NE for the following Tuesday. It was one of those
small world deals during the interview. The General Manager was
Sandra Overton. Sandra and her late husband Mike had lived and
worked in Brainerd for a group of stations that used to be
located in the old Coast-Coast Hardware Store building on the
corner of 6th and Laurel Streets! Sandra’s daughter,
Pam, graduated from Brainerd High School.
I got the job and moved to Nebraska City, NE, in 2004. Pat
joined me about 6 weeks later, as she stayed in Fargo to pack up
the house and wait for the movers. Pat worked at Wendy’s in
Percival, IA and at Cargill Meat Solutions in Nebraska City.
We left Nebraska and moved to Fergus Falls, MN in April of 2007.
I went to work for Lakes Radio and Pat went to work for Casey’s
General Store as the GM. Before I got to KBRF-AM, I had to come
up with a “radio” name. The Killer Whale would not have fit the
format, so, with Pat’s help, I became Brian “Andrews”. I worked
for KBRF and Lakes Radio until September of 2011. I resigned and
became semi-retired. Pat is now working at the bakery at
Wal-Mart and I am a house husband? Not sure if that’s the right
term or not, but I do some house work, laundry, dishes and such.
Yes, I know, I am leading a glamorous life!
Our boys, Daniel and Nathan are now grown men. Dan is 30 and
going to college in Minneapolis, and Nathan is now 28 and living
and working in Fargo, ND.
I have been truly blessed in my life. I have a great wife and
best friend in Pat, and two wonderful blessings in the kids.
I thank God every day and every night for ALL the blessings he
has given my family and me. It hasn’t always been easy, but
those times made us stronger.
Life is good, God is GREAT!
I hope this finds you all well, and for the classmates that have
passed, I hope to see you again someday.
God Bless & Keep the Faith
Brian “The Killer Whale” Whale
P.S. I want to let folks know that during my playing days as a
Brainerd Warrior, I DID hear the fans, I DID hear the
cheerleaders, and I DID hear the bands. I want you all to know
what a difference you made when I was playing. I still get goose
bumps when attending a game and hear that national anthem. It
takes me back to the days at BHS!!! Thank you all for being a
part of my life then. Sue Holden, thanks for listening at that
bus stop in Minneapolis when we lost to Duluth Central!
I also want to thank my former teachers and coaches for
everything you taught me in the classroom and all the life’s
lessons. Especially one Clark “Corky” Johnson. He taught me
never give up. He also talked me into playing basketball my
junior year! Little known fact. Coach, years after playing for
you, I had to use all you taught me to hang on, never quit to
reach my 20 year mark in the Air Force. I learned a lot from my
mom and dad growing up that’s for sure, but I really do thank
God for putting Corky Johnson in my life!
Again, Bless you all!!