Here is some long-winded information about the program to give you a sense of who we are and what we do.
Since the early days of radio in the Pacific Northwest there has been a Scandinavian music program on the air over various stations. 2009 marks the 50th year our weekly broadcast of the current Scandinavian Hour. Until the fall of 2000 the program was heard on radio KBLE 1050 AM in Seattle.
After the sale of KBLE, the program moved to KXPA, 1540 on the dial and was heard in the Puget Sound region from 7:00 to 8:00 pm Sunday evenings as an experimental time. In the summer of 2001, the program was moved back to Saturday mornings as an accommodation to their thousands of listeners.
The program is now on KKNW 1150 AM, from 9:00 to 10:00 Saturday mornings.
On various stations from the twenties and thirties to the early fifties, the host of the weekly Scandinavian program was Gustave Backman. In the middle fifties a Norwegian journalism student at the University of Washington took up the task at the suggestion of his Seattle relatives. Svein Gilje conducted the program until he finished college. Others who hosted various Scandinavian programs over the years included Frederich Lie, Auden Toven, and the Happy Swede from Lundquist Lily Company.
Gilje had a program for a few years but found when he graduated from College that his chosen profession as a newspaper man did not fit well with radio so announced the demise of the program in the summer of 1959.
One of the listeners to that program, Doug Warne, who had recently returned from a year at the University of Oslo called to tell station management that it was unthinkable to leave the large Puget Sound Scandinavian population without their own radio program. The Station manager said unfortunately for the station there was no person on the staff who could or would continue. That's when Doug found himself volunteering. Not only did he volunteer his own services, but he volunteered on behalf of friends Ingri Stang and Ron Olsen whom he informed that weekend that they all had inherited a new community service, the Scandinavian Hour. He says now that back then he figured Olsen having six whole albums of Scandinavian music and that Stang being the daughter of the Norwegian Consul in Seattle they all had what was needed for a few months of programming.
Keeping to the tradition of the past, the Scandinavian Hour broadcast not only music of all the Scandinavian countries but announcements about various activities in the Scandinavian Community. After various configurations, Warne and Olsen have worked together at keeping the program alive and well for over forty years so that all Scandinavian clubs and organizations can have a single outlet for community information.
The Scandinavian Hour has been a weekend program and has been aired variously on Saturdays, well as Sundays, both mornings and afternoons. Warne and Olsen first appeared on KNBX and then switched to KETO and then were on KXA for many years. The program is currently heard every Saturday morning from 9:00 to 10:00 over KKNW1150 AM in Seattle, Washington.
Scandinavian radio shows have played to enthusiastic audiences in the large communities of first, second and even third generation Swedes, Norwegians, Finns and Danes concentrated in New York, Chicago, Minneapolis, Seattle and Portland. The longevity of the Scandinavian Hour in Seattle was matched by several programs in the New York area with well known hosts Hans Bergren and Walter Erikson. After their deaths, programs continued with the aid of Erikson's daughter. Portland, Oregon has a large and active Scandinavian community and the local Scandinavian Radio show host, Bob Johnson, celebrated his 50th year on the air a few years ago. Stig Stenhøj, a Dane from Studio City, California produced a weekly news and music program in the 80s"s for the California Scandinavians.
On the Seattle program, in addition to the traditional waltzes, Scottishes and hambos most listeners remember from "old time" dances both here and in the old country, Warne and Olsen have featured newer recordings collected on regular trips to Scandinavia.
U.S. census figures indicate that there are several hundred thousand first and second generation Scandinavians in the Seattle area and Olsen and Warne worked hard at selecting music for each Saturday show that attracts a large number of them. Warne says it is most difficult to select "typical" Scandinavian music since what someone identifies as "typical" is often determined by what year he or she or their relatives left the old country. The music popular at that time of departure is the music they
want to hear and Washington has had large groups of immigrants each decade from the 20's up until the 80's. Even today there are a few Scandinavians coming.
Musical styles and selections on the program must cover a huge time span. Fortunately, the music collection has grown from those original six albums. With four or five thousand LP's, singles, CD's and tapes, the job is not to have the music people want, but to find it each week and play a wide enough variety that almost everyone can find a favorite on the program.
U.S. census figures indicate that there are several hundred thousand first and second generation Scandinavians in the Seattle area and Olsen and Warne worked hard at selecting music for each Saturday's show that attracts a large number of them. Warne says it is most difficult to select "typical" Scandinavian music since what someone identifies as "typical" is often determined by what year he or she or their relatives left the old country. The music popular at the time of departure is the music they want to hear, and Washington has had large groups of immigrants each decade from the 20's up until the 80's.
Even today there are a few Scandinavians immigrating. Musical styles and selections on the program must cover a huge time span. Fortunately, the music collection has grown from those original six albums. With four or five thousand LP's, singles, CD's and tapes, the job is not to have the music people want, but to find it each week and play a wide enough variety that almost everyone can find a favorite on the program.
Scandinavian clubs and organizations receive free publicity for their activities on the “where to go and what to do” Scandinavian Hour Bulletin Board by sending in the information* two to three weeks early to:
The Scandinavian Hour 2125 1st Ave # 2303 Seattle, WA 98121
The program each week is paid by commercial sponsors in the greater Puget Sound area who value getting their message across to a loyal and appreciative audience says Warne who handles most of the advertising. Until his unexpected death in April of 2008, Olsen handled the music each week. Now Doug Warne does the music as well as the advertising and bulletin boards. He is joined each week by various members of the Scandinavian Community who come by to co-host the program.
Since the very beginning, both Olsen and Warne have had other professions and the program has been an ongoing community service. The program is run like a business and so pays its own expenses but neither of them could have lived from radio.
As experienced producers, Warne and Olsen have also been asked over the years to produce other ethnic and specialty programs, including the German Hour, the Slavic Hour, the British Isles Hour and various travel and food or wine programs.
At Christmas each year the program produce a series of two-hour special Christmas programs with music, vignettes and special greetings of, for and by Scandinavians. In 1999, the series ran for seven days prior to and including Christmas Day. Christmas is the hardest working time of the year for the program.
Both Doug Warne and the late Ron Olsen graduated from Ballard High School as sons of Norwegian halibut fishermen. Warne learned Norwegian at the University of Oslo and Olsen learned it at home and at the University of Washington. Each traveled to Scandinavia many times over the years visiting relatives, friends, record houses and government offices. Warne and his late wife Lena were married in her hometown Eskilstuna, Sweden in 1967. Olsen was married in 1977. Both families have children but doubt that any of the kids will "volunteer" to take over the program once they look at the length of time required as volunteers..
Current spot advertisements on the Scandinavian hour are about 100 words and run $45 per weekly insertion. All advertisers and products are personally checked out by the program host or family.
*Now there is also an interactive form on this website which clubs may complete online and email directly to us to announce their organization's events.
Music, News and Interviews for the Scandinavian Community