Todd’s Take: ‘That Man’ Found In the Yakima River Was MY Friend Joe
Radio broadcasting is a unique profession in many ways, not the least of which is the people one encounters that become like family. The first person I ever met at my first job in the fall of 1989 was “Jumpin’ Joe” Langdon. We became, and stayed, friends to this day.
I lost my friend yesterday.
As I was leaving work on Tuesday, a story was breaking that a car had been found in the Yakima River in Kittitas County and a body had been discovered inside of it. While I thought that was certainly a tragic story, little did I know that just a few hours later I would get a message from my goddaughter, Joe’s daughter, Tasha, that it was my oldest work buddy — and one of my all-time best buddies.
Joe took me under his wing professionally when I was just 18. He worked the 7 p.m.-midnight shift and I followed him on the graveyard shift on KXDD (104.1-FM) and KUTI (980-AM) here in Yakima. Joe showed me the ropes and all of the audio production tricks he had learned. I’m in debt to him for the skills he gave me to this day.
He then “cultured” me on the finer things that he enjoyed like the wit and musical artistry of “Weird” Al Yankovic and Huey Lewis & the News. Joe saw Huey perform in concert over 50 times. I was subject to mixtapes of their songs (along with country band Southern Pacific and Rick Dees radio stunts) on one of our many road trips together to see our beloved Washington Huskies football team play.
Joe didn’t simply like something. He LOVED it with every fiber in his body and I know he loved me.
December 29th is what he deemed – and we annually celebrated – as “ToJo Day”. It was the day smack dab in between our birthdays. This year’s is going to suck.
I miss you already, my brother, and I hope you knew how much I truly did love you.