Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Thu, February 16 2012 at 3:32 PM, Updated: Thu, February 16 2012 at 3:48 PM
A magazine that got its start in Tulelake in the early 60's is still going strong after 50 years.
89 year old Dan crawford lives at Crystal Terrace in Klamath Falls. He got the idea for 'Spudman' magazine back in 1962: "I started thinking about a magazine on the potato industry, that dealt with potatoes as a single vegetable."
Crawford started the magazine in a room above a Tulelake store with ten thousand dollars... "And I spent that, and then I hocked the farm, and we spent that, and then I sold the farm, and we spent that..."
Crawford was also a one-eyed photographer. "It never was a high handicap. I put my eye out when i was 13 years old, and I never missed it."
Crawford stuck to his dream, got some key advertisers...and 'Spudman' now has over ten thousand subscribers.
"It was a good magazine, and it sure treated me right - I raised two children up with it." Crawford noted.
And is Crawford surprised that 'Spudman' is still being published? "I wasn't as surprised as all the boneheads that told me I'd go broke in six months."
Journalism and potato farming have a few things in common, and Crawford offered this advice for those going into either field.
"They have to love it - it has to be a passion. Because there's sure no money in it, and the chances of success are rotten." Crawford chuckled.
But, with a lot of hard work, the harvest is worth it.
Crawford recently donated an archive of over ten thousand of his photos to the University of California, Davis.
KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's. He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.
Lyle's job history is quite colorful. He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand. A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer. In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.
Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience. "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain. Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".
When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.