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Tuesday, March 3, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 29.0° F  Mostly Cloudy
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Missing voices

Sometimes you just need to get away. That can be a hard thing to do in an area as bustling as the Madison environs. But we've got our hidden gems, as well as our well-known getaways, and in this issue contributor Denise Thornton clues you in to some of the less frequented, less prominent locations in her cover story, "Where The Wild Places Are."

One of the factors that can lead you to wanting a place of solitude is the passing of old friends, even if you haven't seen them in a while. In the past week I've heard of the passing of two such acquaintances, erstwhile colleagues, whose names you might or might not know, but if you've been in Madison any length of time, you'd know the voices.

One person was Jim Packard, the announcing voice of the popular public radio show Whad'Ya Know? Packard was the foil for humorous host Mike Feldman on the quasi-quiz program. I knew Jim in the early '70s, before Isthmus, when he was the station manager for a now-forgotten radio station. It broadcast an automated format from a studio in Poynette on WIBU Road. We briefly did the voices for a silly serial there, the only local programming on the station. He toiled itinerantly in local radio until catching on with WHA and then Feldman, achieving sonorous ubiquity and professional success.

The other guy whose death sent me into reverie was Carl Ames, a local advertising creative and voice talent who ruled the airwaves in the '80s. You could tell an Ames commercial by the wry humor and animated delivery. He crafted very vivid vocal scenes and always gave you a little lift at the end. I think he sold a lot of Buicks.

I hear that Austin, Texas, promotes itself as the "Live Music Capital of the World." Well, maybe Madison should start calling itself "Radio City." It can claim 9XM (now WHA), among the first to broadcast in this country, and world-class radio talents like Jim Packard and Carl Ames. They set the standard and never abandoned the medium.

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