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As We See It

2-minute interview: Chet Buchanan (aka the guy living on the scaffolding on Sahara)

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Spreading holiday cheer from 30 feet above Sahara Avenue.
Photo: Brock Radke

Friday, November 30, 2012 | 2:25 p.m. | Toy Drive at NV Energy, 6226 Sahara Ave.

So this is Day 2 of you living and working on this scaffolding. How many days will you be up here? Twelve days.

And how many years have you been doing this? This is 14.

Don’t you get a terrible cold every year? I don’t really have a rearview mirror, so I don’t think about that, but my fiancée was telling me I needed to get some cold medicine. I said, “What are you talking about? I don’t get sick.” And she said, “You were deathly ill last year!” I don’t know, I guess you get used to it.

It’s getting a little windy today. Wind is the natural enemy of Toy Drive. If it rains, you can cover everything up. If it’s cold put more clothes on. But wind makes us miserable.

There’s not much up here. I was expecting lots of gear. I like to be efficient. I like to get by with the minimum amount of stuff. Gym bag, air mattress, stuff for the bed, minimal broadcasting equipment, laptop—let’s do this.

I figured you’d have iPads and TVs and stuff, make it like a hotel room. The thing is, I don’t want it to be like that. I’m here to work for 12 days. A few years ago a guy came down ... my [Seattle] Seahawks were playing Thursday night and this guy comes down with a satellite dish, like, “I can’t let you miss the game!” But people would think he’s got it good, he’s got a dish. We used to have a motor home down there, kind of a green room for the celebrities that stop by, but people thought oh, that’s where he sleeps. We got rid of all that stuff. I don’t want it to look like we’re screwing around. We’re trying to get toys for kids.

You’re on a mission. Yeah!

Did you ever imagine this thing would turn into what it has? This is like a Vegas Christmas tradition now. You hope, but God, no. The first year, I was thinking, we’re 98.5 KLUC, so let’s do 9,800 toys. My program director said, no, it’ll be the 98K Toy Drive. We’ll get 98 thousand toys. I flipped. What are you, crazy? We’ll never do that! But the best part is, it’s grind, grind, grind, then I get to live out that last scene of It’s a Wonderful Life every year, when you realize how cool people are and how amazing people are. I well up a little just talking about it. You ask people to come and they come. What’s better than that?

I don’t know. That chicken they’re grilling across the street smells pretty good. How do you smell that all day? Aren’t you hungry nonstop? Yeah, I get used to that, too. You get smoked out once in a while, if the wind blows the right way. When they clean that grill at night, it’s not fun.

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