Peaceful. Clean. Quiet.
Those are the words that Los Angeles radio station personality Stoney Richards used to describe Utah to a reporter during a break in his live broadcast from Deer Valley on Tuesday.But Californians who tuned into his mid-morning program on KLAC-AM heard about a much more exciting place as Richards told his listeners about a run down the Alpine Slide in Park City.
"Let me tell you about the bobsled run. I think we were going 10,000 miles per hour - from 92,000 feet up," he said, turning to engineer Chuck Clifford and asking, "That's accurate, isn't it?"
The Utah Travel Council is paying the radio station $50,000 to tell listeners in the state's biggest market just how much fun a trip to Utah can be. An estimated 1.2 million Southern Californians visit Utah annually.
This is the second year the Travel Council has paid to make Utah the featured travel destination in the station's "Theme Month" promotion, which has taken listeners as far away as Finland and as near as Arizona.
After four-hour broadcasts from the Stein Erickson Lodge on Monday and Tuesday, Richards and a three-person crew headed to Moab where they will broadcast from the Grand County Travel Office on Wednesday and Thursday.
Besides the four days of live broadcasts from Utah to Los Angeles, the money is buying the state 168 minute-long travel segments as well as 80 traditional commercials and 84 other mentions on KLAC-AM and its sister-station, KZLA-FM.
Richards said his job is to make sure the program doesn't sound like a paid advertisement. "We try to present it in a way that listeners say, `You've got it made,' " he said.
"I always have that fear that when I talk about a place like this, people are saying, `Oh, sure.' "
Richards said he had his own worries during his first visit to the state last year.
"I thought maybe there would be difficulty in getting a drink. And I heard, `You'd better take a suit and tie.' We got here and it was funky. I find people are very involved and very progressive."
He said what impressed him most during this visit to the state was an evening spent at the Sundance Ski Resort. "It was quiet. It was peaceful. There was creative energy up there."
It's the serenity of the mountains combined with the relatively clean air that are the best features Utah has to offer Southern Californians, not Sundance's ties to the film industry through owner Robert Redford.
"You've got to go real far to get away in L.A.," Richards said.