And So, We Trudge On

Published 7:55 am Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Commentary by Dr. Don Newbury

Church marquees all over Arkansas touted the Razorbacks in the 1969 season’s so-called “game of the century.” Many messages something like: “Football is only a game. Eternal things are spiritual. Nevertheless, beat Texas.” (The Longhorns and the Razorbacks were ranked #1 and #2 nationally.)

UT prevailed, 15-14, thanks to a couple of fourth-quarter touchdowns. It took years for Arkansas fans’ breathing patterns to be fully restored, and for life grips to reach pre-game condition.

Only days have passed since the Dallas Cowboys’ heartbreaking loss to Green Bay, and many tears remain undried. It’s difficult for non-fans to fathom how the hardest-of-core Dallas backers are finding it difficult to carry on with usual workday assignments. For them, not much matters these days.

They might not truly perceive the impact of current real-world news. Perhaps it would be helpful–particularly to spouses indifferent to football–if they break news gently, and not too much at once.

Starting points might be on topics considered obscured, like puddles in great oceans of concerns of life as we know it. For example, who can imagine the future without Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus? After the month of May, this “big top” will fade to memories of what once was.

Less gentle is the news that FM radio is under threat, albeit in Norway. FM (frequency modulation, just so you’ll know I’m not totally wood-headed on this topic) was a big hit in the US–20 years ahead of the Norwegians–but now, they think new digital technology will make FM obsolete. Is everything ‘going digital’?”

It’s easy to conjure negative images about “what if’s” should the US take a hard stance on FM radio. Shucks, in the 1950s, FM radio gave us reason to “save up” money to buy transistor models that picked up both AM and FM signals.

Never mind these newfangled “digits” may offer better quality. I dunno.

I always wonder what younger folks are listening to with their “ear buds.” I’ve no clue as to the sounds’ origin or content. Mostly, I just smile, with my silence a lame admission that whatever they’re hearing doubtless is more welcome than what I might have to say.

Do you remember when transistor radios were BIG? No, not in size; they were small, but BIG in popularity.

Cleburne’s George Marti, who died about a year ago at age 95, was a broadcasting legend, longtime mayor, a grand visionary and much more. When he added an FM station in Cleburne, TX, he was aware many listeners didn’t have FM receivers. So, he handed ‘em out to locals who stopped by the station.

Establishing the Marti Foundation which made higher education possible for hundreds of Johnson County citizens, he “put his money where his faith was.” An inventor who made remote broadcasts possible, he made a fortune, most of which he gave away.

The world needs more folks like Marti, a man who had a clear view and understanding of the “big picture,” much of it through radio.

Don’t worry. They say it will be decades–maybe longer–before FM radio is abandoned in the USA.

Now. I hope this helps, even if I’ve dipped into once-upon-a-time topics. Have I gotten our minds off football?

We old-timers remember our parents limiting use of home radios. “Turn the radio off, or you’ll run the ‘battry’ down.” My dad (and many other fathers) could spell “battery,” but verbally, it always came out “battry.”

Late comedian Grady Nutt (Remember him on TV’s Hee Haw?) told about the old fellow who bought a radio for a single reason: to hear the Grand Ole Opry every Saturday night. Upon initially tuning in Nashville Radio Station WSM, he pulled the knobs off the radio.

I’m at that place, desiring access to limited technologies. Knobs can be pulled off the rest.


Dr. Newbury is a speaker in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Inquiries/comments to: Phone: 817-447-3872. Web site: