Breaking the Guinness Book of World Records for consecutive hours on air was the goal Spencer Abersold had on Aug. 20, but by Aug. 28 when he announced at 2:14 p.m. that he had broken the record, he was focused on the people who helped him along the way. He announced at 12:30 p.m. on Aug. 29 that he reached his own goal of 200 hours on air.
Guinness must authenticate the KGHP station manager’s attempt before it is officially deemed a new record.
Abersold, aka “The Walrus,” said the support was overwhelming. He set out to break the record in an effort to bring attention to the community radio station. The station, which is broadcast from the campus of Peninsula High School, depends on the Peninsula School District for funding. Though it is safe for the 2010-2011 school year, the station’s future is uncertain. Budgets have been cut, and Abersold is concerned, but was overwhelmed by the support of volunteers who came in to support his attempt to break the record.
“It’s been great, and the people behind this, the kids who were here for me, and I’m really talking about 10 to 15 each night supporting me and holding my hand,” he said tearfully.
Though his goal of raising $200,000 was not met, and the preliminary numbers were showing about $5,000, Abersold said it was still a success.
He passed the record of 183 consecutive hours on air, and said that number was irrelevant to him. His number was 200, and he was determined to keep going.
A bit emotional, but in a good mood, Abersold said his training prior to embarking on the journey to break the record helped condition him for the sleeplessness.
“I took a night job at the Tides Tavern, and then would come in here and work all day,” he said. “I saw a hypnotist, Ann Silvers, a specialist in hypnotherapy.”
Silvers taught him to get to sleep quickly, he said. Guinness guidelines allowed for 90 minutes of sleep each day, he said, and the hypnotherapy made the 90 minutes feel like a good three to five hours of restful sleep.
“It was suggested to me by a friend whose wife had done it for labor while having a baby, because she didn’t want to have any drugs for pain,” he said.
He took those short naps in the student newspaper office, and at all times he had at least two witnesses charting when he napped, and telling him when he could go to the bathroom.
“That was the worst part,” he said. “Waiting for the bathroom. I had to ask, I couldn’t just go, and I was timed, so I had to rush.”
Organizing the event took the most time and effort, but he said the actual work was not bad.
“It was a huge success. The community came together and really rallied together. And I’m so grateful to everyone. I’ll spend the rest of my life to pay everybody back for all their support.”