Steve Smith Archive: Les Cole

Jason,

Ken Bertrand worked at KGMI in Bellingham. I believe he was the news director, not sure on that but one of their main newsmen. I do not have a photo of him, but you could probably copy the one at facebook. Again, this is March 1972. I worked for him for awhile at KBFW in Bellingham, after his KGMI days. I think he ended up in communications at the state legislature and retired from that. He is in the Seattle area.

Ken Bertrand mp3

As a young tradesman, Les Cole had been a stained glass artisan in Seattle-Tacoma. He fell from a ladder, probably working on a window at a church, and shattered his hip. A career change was essential. I think it was in the 1960’s, he went into broadcasting. He worked at KTNT, KMO and KOMO. In 1970 he arrived in Bellingham as program director of KOQT, a station coming back on the air after bankruptcy. That lasted a short time and then he resigned. Not long afterwards, he became news director at KBRC, an established 5kw station, in Mt Vernon’s Skagit Valley. This 1972 newscast, slightly scoped, is a great example of the way a well-crafted newscast could integrally tie a radio station to its community. Cole worked at KBRC for a few years, then he became an announcer at KVOS TV in Bellingham. He was at KVOS until he retired and Les passed away several years ago.

The photo was taken in 1998. That is me to the right, sitting with Les, who had become a personal and family friend, at my father’s 100th birthday.

Les Cole-KBRC mp3

1 2