Poorman’s Radio Days: An Amazing Story of Radio Changing Lives

Poorman and Andrew Beeker. Photo courtesy of Poorman.

Klondike Karl Nelson grew up in the San Fernando Valley and has worked for the City of Beverly Hills since 2002. He’s in charge of the mail room. His job is to sort and send the city’s mail. Once a week he delivers agendas and council packets to the mayor, city council members and commissioners. Klondike thinks that’s really cool. He likes his job.

Andrew Beeker grew up in Ludington, Michigan, and is now “El Presidente” of Klondike Air Conditioning & Heating. Since 1989, his family owned heating and cooling business has been providing Orange County residents with great customer service on professional HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) projects. Just like Klondike Karl, Andrew really likes his job.

Thus begins an amazing story of how fate has linked Klondike Karl and Andrew together in a life changing way forever. The common thread between them is music and radio, and that’s where I come in. We take you back to the start of this saga in 1983. That’s when I first met Klondike Karl. Klondike is a character. He’s big, he’s burly, he’s loud, and he’s jolly. He’s also a KROQ “one hit wonder.” I had been on the air at KROQ for barely a year and a half when I received a package in the mail from Klondike. It was a VHS tape (remember those) of The Klondike Karl TV Show. As close as I can remember, the TV show was a half-hour program mostly about Klondike taking massive bong hits. Within the show was one original song titled “Time is a Ticky Talk.” It was ’80s new wave all the way with influences from King Crimson and Talking Heads.

Poorman and Klondike Karl . Photo courtesy of Poorman.

Klondike Karl was the singer and Casio player in the video, and his buddy Danny Schneider was on guitar. “Spacin” Scott Mason (R.I.P.) and I instantly loved the song, and we started playing it late Sunday nights on KROQ. The rest of the KROQ air staff also picked up on it. Klondike Karl became a one hit wonder “Roq star” on KROQ. What was really great is Scott and I would visit Klondike at his “home” in the San Fernando Valley. He lived in the upstairs of a video store. We became instant friends and would take massive bong hits with him on a regular basis, listening to “Ticky Talk” blasting on his speakers. Soon we discovered Klondike slept in a hyperbaric chamber a la Michael Jackson in the center of the room. It was freaky and fun!

Unbeknownst to us, Andrew Beeker’s older brother Chris had moved to Southern California from western Michigan in 1975. He settled in Costa Mesa. In 1984, his younger brother Adam came to visit Chris for a week around Christmas. He instantly was a big KROQ fan and became enamored with my late night Sunday show with Spacin’ Mason. Adam recorded my show on cassette tapes and brought them back to Andrew in Michigan. On the tape was Klondike Karl’s “Time is a Ticky Talk” being played and hyped up by us. Andrew grew up singing and playing guitar in bands in his hometown of 10,000 residents, Ludington, Michigan. He was living in Grand Rapids when he received the cassettes and instantly became a huge fan of Klondike Karl after he listened to them! They didn’t have anything like that on the radio in Michigan. In fact, Andrew changed the name of his punk band at the time from the Deadbeats to the Klondike Surfers. The band altered their style to surf punk in honor of the Southern California vibe.

They started throwing mid-winter beach parties while five feet of snow was outside and the temperature was 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Inside, they turned up the thermostat as hot as it would go to simulate summer heat conditions. Everybody showed up in swimsuits, and they even had a tanning booth. The Klondike Surfers covered “Ticky Talk” while playing these gigs on the cold winter nights in the Midwest.

In December 1985, Andrew moved to Costa Mesa to join his older brother. His dream was to start an air conditioning and heating company. He decided “when I start my own air and heating company, I will call it Klondike Air.” In 1989, Andrew’s dream became a reality. He named his newly formed company Klondike Air Heating and Cooling Experts. It’s been around ever since, serving Orange County for 30 years. Andrew’s older brother Chris now works for the company. By the way, this is not to be confused with the Klondike ice cream bar.

The story gets even better and more unbelievable. I lost contact with Klondike Karl somewhere in the late ’80s to early ’90s. Klondike Facebook friended me about five years ago and said I didn’t accept his request for about a year. He thinks I might have been in anger mode at the time. Luckily, I eventually did accept him as a friend, because a month and a half ago, through a crazy twist of fate, Andrew Beeker and Klondike Air became a sponsor of my radio show, Poorman’s Morning Rush on 101.5 KOCI.

We were doing a KOCI fundraiser party at Campus Jax in Newport Beach, and Running Down a Dream, Andrew’s Tom Petty tribute band, was performing. He plays the Tom Petty role as singer and rhythm guitarist. As they were breaking down, I jumped onstage to make some announcements. He came up to me and said, “I have a great story. There was a tape from the early ’80s of you and a guy named Klondike Karl.” He proceeded to tell me the story, and I told him I knew Klondike Karl. We got together a few days later, and Andrew signed up to become a sponsor. I messaged Klondike and told him Andrew’s story. On Oct. 24, Klondike Karl called into my show, and I texted Andrew to call in. They spoke for the first time live on the air a few minutes later, almost 35 years to the exact month the cassette recordings of KROQ were made.

Andrew mentioned on the air that he was doing a live gig at the Harp Inn in Costa Mesa on his birthday, Nov. 22. He invited Klondike to perform “Time is a Ticky Talk” with the band. Klondike accepted. He hasn’t performed live in more than 10 years. They both told me how they felt about this meeting.

From Klondike Karl: “I can’t wait to play with Andrew! Amazing story! Glad to help him out. He sparked me! I sparked him! It’s a win-win. I was really stoked that someone in Michigan was inspired by ‘Time is a Ticky Talk.’ I was really impressed by the whole thing.”

Andrew is equally excited! “The whole thing is surreal to me, because I’m finally meeting the two people (Klondike Karl and Poorman) who have heavily influenced my business and my love of West Coast music. Klondike was very surprised. He didn’t think that any other band in the world had covered his song, let alone a bunch of guys in western Michigan!”

This is definitely a feel-good story. Since their on-air reunion, I have probably played “Time is a Ticky Talk” on the radio at least five times, and Klondike Karl is reenergized to start performing again. I even had my own 30-year reunion with him on Nov. 16 in a garage while I was working at an estate sale in Burbank. He showed up on a motorcycle and was the same Klondike, just a bit bigger and grayer. The only thing that changed is we didn’t do any bong rips!

10 Replies to “Poorman’s Radio Days: An Amazing Story of Radio Changing Lives”

  1. I am sitting here in disbelief of what a beautiful story and how accurately you got the details of the story perfect from our short phone conversation the other day Poorman! I never thought I would be meeting two of my favorite icons from the 80s and 90s, let alone being in an article about how this all happened? It’s all true, the winter surf parties, playing Klondike Karl…..It goes to show that you never know what can happen or who you will meet in your life time. Feeling very grateful on the eve of my 60th birthday.

  2. Jim, thank you for a great story. Andrew and I are enjoying reading it and sharing! Really sweet of you for taking this story and running with it. It is indeed a great birthday present for Andrew!!!

    xo Sunny Beeker
    Mrs. Klondike Air

  3. Such a fun story, brought back a lot of great memories. I can totally relate because I also moved to the beaches of OC from a neighboring state of Andrew’s (Ohio) around the same time in the early 80’s and became an avid KROQ & Poorman fan. I remember Klondike Karl’s Ticky Talk song, ended up in the broadcast industry doing business years later with the late, great Scott Mason when he was Director of Engineering at CBS Radio LA… AND… had a new heating/AC system (which I love) installed by Klondike Air in 2018! Crazy coincidences! Reading this and listening to Poorman on KOCI-FM today seriously brought back a lot of fun nostalgia. I have always LOVED radio, grew up listening to CKLW (The Big Eight), a Windsor/Detroit AM station that blasted out 50,000 watts of Motown & Rock n Roll in the late 60’s early 70’s. ??

  4. Great story it wants to make me cry ? from Jeff in Huntington Beach I m glad your back on the Radio poor man I remember when you where on kiis fm 102.7 I was like wow and I was even down there one time when you where on the air but I m glad your here in Orange County doing Radio on A small little station 101.5 koci fm we need to put a bigger transmitter and make it like kiis fm or kfi from Jeff keep up the good work my friend ????????

  5. What a great story! I too was a fan of Poorman in the eighties. Loved his show on KROQ. Been a resident of Costa Mesa for 22 years now and Klondike Air does our city proud. Happy belated Birthday Andrew! Truly sorry I missed the gig at the “Harp”, I’m sure it was a blast. Will be listening to the Poorman again. Thanks for taking me down Memory Lane!!

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