I have found that a great way to break the ice when you meet someone in radio is to ask them how they got into the business. It's a foolproof ice-breaker, and the stories that follow are always interesting, varied, and revealing. Most people initially got into radio to have fun – and many still are enjoying the party today. It may be a different party, but it's a party nonetheless.
So, to commemorate Valentine's Day, I sent out a “soft invitation” via social media to anyone in or out of radio to take us back to when they first fell in love with radio. The response has been overwhelming. Some of the names are famous. Others – I have no idea who you are.
This little exercise confirmed for me the love affair with radio burns brightly for thousands of people still working in the business. Others, however, have suffered break-ups, been dumped, are separated, or even divorced from the business. Still, their stories are noteworthy whether the romance has endured or has flamed out. For those of you in this latter group, I hope these stories make you feel good, remembering your happy days in radio.
From announcers to radio CEOs to an FCC Chairman to insurance agents, they're all here – and they're fascinating. I'm hopeful they might even be inspirational for young people looking to jump into the radio arena. No matter how big, famous, and powerful many of these executives have become, their stories bear a great deal of similarity. They were all kids when their passion for radio was ignited. My personal “romantic novel” is at the bottom of this long list of radio broadcasters.
Happy Valentine's Day to our growing reader base of JacoBLOG. Feel free to use our social media pages or the “comments” space below to add your story to this long list. If I missed or overlooked you, your “love story” can still be recorded in those places. Apologies to anyone who wrote something on Facebook or LinkedIn that didn't make it here. Truth be told, I ran out of “bandwidth.”
And finally, today also marks the 48th birthday of WRIF, my alma mater, and arguably, the most successful FM station in the history of Detroit radio. Nearly a half century later, they're still in the same format, rocking the Motor City, and a consistent ratings leader. I have worked alongside some of the most talented, committed broadcasters on the airwaves of Detroit radio from the 70s until today. Hearts and flowers to the entire WRIF staff – past and present. – FJ
“I’ve always loved music, all different genres, but what really made me fall in love with radio were the personalities. My biggest inspiration was Frankie Crocker, Program Director and PM Drive talent at WBLS.. When he cracked the mic, it was magic. Frankie was cool, sophisticated and funny. I also loved what Dan Ingram was doing at WABC and Rosko on the original WKTU.”
—Earle Augustus, Mike Evans and the Memphis Morning Show
“Radio is synonymous to hope, dreams, relationships, family, emotions, impatience, disappointment hardships and love. My Dad started our company in 1961. Having been born into the business, we shared many exciting (and not so exciting) times!
Not only were my brothers and I exposed to the day-to-day operations of radio at an early age, we also had the opportunity to visit stations during our family vacations, often spending hours at a time in stations' parking lots, impatiently waiting for a cool dip in the pool, a visit to the beach or whatever destination was before us as my Dad spoke with owners and their staffs about their business.
Radio quickly became part of the core of our family. Our Dad and Mom shared with us the love and many emotions that play an integral role in who we are today. It's a pleasure and a privilege to be in this business!”
—Caroline Beasley, CEO Beasley Broadcast Group
“The time I was growing up in the Detroit suburbs… Radio was Dick Purtan, JP McCarthy, Deano Day, Gary Burbank, Bill Bailey. You could stop anywhere on the radio dial anytime of day and hear incredible talent! So, at age 12 I decided I want to do that… 49 years later I still am doing morning radio, and still working on growing up.”
—Rob Bennett, Rob and Louise in the Morning
“Radio was my savior, guide, tastemaker and consummate communicator of sounds as I grew up as a child in the tough, blue-collar, steel and coal-mining working town of Wolverhampton, England. BBC Radio 1 introduced me to rock, disco, ska, punk, reggae, pop, new wave and beyond! Radio introduced me to global pop culture and beyond – it’s shaped and defined my musical being to this day!”
—Sat Bisla, Founder A&R Worldwide, host of international music show, “Passport Approved”
“When I was in middle school in the early 80s, I used to listen to the “Top 40 Station” while doing my homework at night. The night jock was Christy Ryan who is still in radio today using her real name Sybil at 105.9 Sunny FM in Orlando. My perception at the time in my youth was that she was a total rock star who actually lived in my town and who I could go out and meet in person at places like the Jaycees Haunted House at Northwoods Mall. I thought (and still do) that was the coolest “job” in the world.
The photo (right) is me broadcasting from a Super Bowl party in 1992 at KZ93/Peoria. It is a photo of the moment I met my wife that her college roommate took while I interviewed her as our halftime contest winner. Married 25 years this May.”
—Joe Calgaro, Program Director WAAF Boston
“My love affair with radio began when I was a kid and I discovered DJ's like Allison Steele, Ron Lundy and Vaughn Harper in the car with my dad that created a sense of community that was the bridge to the music. It was magic. I was obsessed. While it has certainly evolved all these years later, it is THAT feeling in some form that I try and recreate every day. I'm still obsessed! (and crazy…what other job would let me pull Billy Gibbons beard?!)”
—Terrie Carr, Program Director (and pet lover)/WDHA New Jersey
“Growing up I spent many hours alone in the backseat of a car while my parents argued in the front seat as we drove between Detroit and Toronto to visit relatives several times per year. I learned to tune out my parents constant bickering by paying attention to the radio. Loved music and loved to sing. But mostly I became enamored with the connection the DJs seemed to have with me. I was fascinated. I was hooked. The more I listened, the more I fell in love. After three decades of working in radio I am still smitten.”
—Cara Carriveau, on-air personality
“Around 10 years of age, I heard KRMG-AM740/Tulsa’s Chuck Adams and John Egan weave their fun personalities through very short song intros. Then, at 13, I discovered Drake-consulted KAKC –AM970. Listening to Scooter (Scott) Segraves and Steve Hatley sealed it! This introverted kid wanted to entertain on the radio.”
—Steve Clem, President, Perfect Mix
“It was a radio broadcasting class in the ninth grade, field trip to WHBQ, I got to meet Rick Dees –I was hooked.”
—Don Christi, iHeartMedia
“Back in 4th, 5th and 6th grade, everyone listened to DJ Ronnie Cash on WJET in Erie, PA. Nothing else! Why? He was the coolest! And, the very cool kids got Ronnie (pictured at right) to spin records at their Bar Mitzvah parties (when Jewish kids turn 13 years old). Yes, I had him at mine (in 1964) and yes it was the most awesome party ever! Talent matters just as it does today!”
—Marshall Cohen, media research guru
“The idea that you have a platform to entertain without the intimidation factor of actually SEEING the crowd you’re in front of. Being in a studio FEELS somehow safer and more insulated. As a person with some introverted qualities, I find that sometimes I’m the best version of my “social self” when I’m on the air. And it’s helped me open up in social situations beyond the studio. I still love my relationship with radio and hope to never be apart.”
—Dave Coombs, music/talk personality Syracuse
“My love for the medium was founded in my grandmother’s kitchen in 1968 when I was 7 years old. I can recall listening to AM 1330 KWWL-AM (Waterloo/Cedar Falls, Iowa) and hearing the new Tommy James & The Shondells’ “Crimson & Clover” and was fascinated by how Tommy was able to do that to his voice (hahaha) but was also enamored by the disc jockeys and what fun that must be to play “your favorite songs” on the radio. Of course as the years went by, that was also when I began to discover radio stations like 89WLS, “The Mighty 1090” KAAY/Little Rock, Beaker Street/Beaker Theater and the CBS Radio Mystery Theater with E.G. Marshall. I was hooked.”
—Michael Cross, Operations Manager/Cherry Creek
“As a teenager, listening for the HUGE concert announcement, then camping out for tickets and seeing radio stations there with us the whole night.”
—Keith Cunningham, Program Director, KLOS Los Angeles
“In the mid-90’s, I was part of the Mojo and Betsy show in Tucson. We learned of a young woman who desperately needed a kidney transplant, but because she didn’t have insurance, there was a lot of cash needed in advance to qualify her for the transplant list. We shared her story on the air and asked people to give what they could … and they did. She got the funds and got on the list. Our show literally saved a life. I realized then what a great honor and privilege it is to be able to call a community to action for good. Witnessing that regularly happen with radio makes me fall in love with it over and over again.”
—Jeff Dauler, The Jeff & Jenn Show, Star 94.1 Atlanta
“I have often said that a career in radio is like a marriage. It will try your patience but it will never bore you. I got into radio because my mother needed financial support with 4 other kids. I was 19. No child support for her… it was a different time. I loved radio as a teenager and was fortunate enough to have an aptitude for it. I still love it and feel that it is an incredible privilege to be entrusted with control of someone's multi-million dollar investment and the ears of millions of people.”
— Jeff Davis, Jeff Davis Productions
“I fell in love with radio at the age of six. Seized it at age 15 and have been living the passion out loud non-stop since in one market. When done correctly, radio has a connection like no other and I live and feed off it. Sure it has different bells and whistles etc. but it is still very much alive and I’m excited everyday to be a part!”
—Craig Debolt, PD, Salem Media Group
“My father bought my sister and I a boombox that I'd listen to everyday after school. My mother brought a tape recorder home one day from her office so for fun, I'd record mock radio shows. I'd play them back for my family and they were so proud of my little productions. At that moment, I fell in love with radio.”
—DJ Dimepiece “The Mixin' Vixen”, 107.9 The Beat (WBTF)
“I had a knack for character voices and dreamed of being on ‘Saturday Night Live.' I grew up listening to Scott Paulsen and Jim Krenn on WDVE in Pittsburgh. Their morning show was like SNL on the radio with comedy sketches, characters and parody songs/commercials. There was only one SNL, but radio was everywhere.”
—Drake Donovan, Drake Donovan Creative Services
“My big influence: Detroit Tigers baseball, the Beatles and the Motown sound. Keener 13 and the Big 8 CKLW.”
—Mike Ferris, Townsquare Media
“It started with a wire recorder. I and my high school buddies would record adlib skits on Dad's recorder. Bob and Ray were our model. At 16, I cut a tape and submitted it to the number one rock station, WHOO, Orlando. Three days later, I got a note in chemistry class. It read ‘Mr. Holbrook of WHOO asks you to call him.' So, began a 10 year stint, working my way through law school. But it began in 1959, when I pulled the vacation shifts while in 12th grade, and with the girls went from a ‘…jack to a king.'”
—Mark Fowler, FCC Chairman, 1981-87
“Radio and I have had a storybook love affair for over 40 years, through many stations, PDs and playlists. That love started when I was a little kid with big dreams who happened to have a working pirate radio studio in my bedroom! It was destiny that we’d be together.”
—Andre Gardner, Afternoon Drive Host, WMGK Philadelphia
“It was Jean Shepherd. No doubt about it.”
—Carolyn Gilbert, President/Owner/Supreme High Priestess NuVoodoo
“My first radio gig was a 8 hour Saturday shift on KVLU in Beaumont, TX. I took network recordings, ran shows on reel to reel and played carts in between. At 9:00 pm, I had one live legal ID. The first time I spoke into a hot mic, I was so nervous I was shaking. When I turned that mic off, I was bathed in sweat and my entire body was buzzing like I was filled with electricity.
It was love at first sight. From that moment on, I knew what I was going to do for the rest of my life. 33 years later, I'm fortunate to still be in love with my chosen profession – radio. ”
—Abby Goldstein, GM, WYEP/Pittsburgh
“It always amazed me that someone would actually pay me to work in radio!!!!!”
—Marty Greenberg, Former President, ABC Radio Owned FM Stations (and one my early bosses/mentors)
“I did a lot of odd jobs after I graduated from college. I painted a few houses… and I worked at a restaurant in the kitchen. I would always have the radio on. When the radio was boring, I would climb down a ladder and change the channel… or if I was cooking at the restaurant I would risk electric shock to change the channel with a wet hand.
I started writing radio commercials for a few restaurants and was invited to go into a radio station (Y 106 in Orlando, Florida) to do the voice-over work on the commercials.
When I saw the morning team going back and forth on the air I thought to myself… ‘… this is what I need to be doing.' I was already chatting and joking about the news of the day with my fellow cooks… I just needed to expand my audience. So, I started in Deland, Florida. My audience there may have been smaller than my audience in the restaurant kitchen…but, it was a beginning. I had found my spot in the world… on the radio.
That was 40 years ago… I've got at least another 20 to go.”
—Tom Griswold of the Bob & Tom Show
“I was a TV news Reporter and anchor (even was weekend weatherperson for a year) and started dating a PD and morning guy of the local radio station. He suggested I might do well in radio sales so I took an AE job at WLXR AM/FM in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. I fell in love with radio’s immediacy, its sense of fun, and its ability to draw a crowd and make an impact. And that radio guy is now my husband of 30 years. It’s truly a career that involves your whole family!”
–Kim Guthrie, President, Cox Media Group
“I got into radio to meet girls and get free records. And I got a lot…of free records. My entry into radio was an accident. Borne of a need to work and a need to create. I came from the world of retail menswear, by way of the club and concert business. I had little idea what the job of promotions director required but the brazen freedom of rock radio–with a local owner and an adventurous GM–was a potent intoxicant which I imbibed liberally.
Radio remains the most creative and accessible art form on the planet, despite its mishandling by greedy corporate humps who have no appreciation for its art or connection to the listener. They did not deserve to ‘date the prom queen/king' that is radio. Despite the heartbreaks and headaches of broadcast survival, I still love radio and delight in every personal and professional encounter that comes my way.”
— Doug Harris, Promotional & marketing wizard
“As a kid, my Dad used to listen to Larry Lujack on WLS and I vividly remember animal stories and ‘Little Tommy.' My Dad went nuts with laughter and I always thought it was so cool that radio could do that to someone. That’s when I knew radio had a special place in my heart.”
– John Holmberg, Morning monster, KUPD
“I fell in love with radio when I was a kid. My parents would drive my sister and I up to Pinetop, Arizona in the winter and they would play old
episodes of ‘Suspense' for us on cassette tape. This is where I found my passion for ‘theater of the mind' dramatic radio.”
–-Larry McFeelie, Program Director, KUPD
“My goal was to be a pro golfer on the PGA Tour. I thought I was pretty good, then I competed at the college level and realized I wasn’t. One day a friend of mine in my journalism class suggested I stop by the campus radio station at Bowling Green State University. They needed students to read the news.
From that day forward I was hooked. I started at WIOT, Toledo on weekends, and that grew into a full-time job while still in college. I’m fortunate to still love what I do after all these years.”
—Scott Jameson, VP Classic Rock/Operations KQRS-KXXR-WGVX
“My love letter to Radio goes back to my time growing up in Stamford Connecticut listening to New York Radio. I immediately gravitated to the magnificent appeal of all of the personalities in the market as they provided companionship in my wayward youth. I was fixated in particular on the great WNEW FM which was the soundtrack of my generation and which was this bigger than life brand jumping out of the speakers. To hear Scott Muni and his voice from the heavens will never be forgotten. I would in later years get to be a small part of the amazing air staff and I’m forever grateful to Charlie Kendall for the chance!”
—Buzz Knight, EVP Strategy and Innovation, Beasley Media
“My heroes. Dan Ingram and later on, George Michael at WABC. I remember as a small child wondering how they got the instruments set up so quickly for each new song.
Then it was 99X and the magic that came out of the speakers when they did the TOH. ‘WX-ello New York!' These guys made radio sound like they were having the time of their life. I met Jay Thomas one day after being invited to the studios. I was introduced and they said, ‘Jay this is Bob. He wants to get into radio.' Jay with his wonderful snark – looked straight at me and said, ‘Schmuck!!' And walked away. What a great day!!”
—Bob Lawrence, VP/Programming Saga
“In March of 1955, I was mustering out of Boot Camp in the Army and I heard a song on the juke box called “St James Infirmary Blues.” Right then, I decided that I wanted to be in Radio. And within 18 months out of college I was in Radio.”
—Jerry Lee, legendary radio owner/industry luminary
“Radio brought a sense of belonging growing up, DJs playing music that would help me understand who I was; who I was becoming.
And then ending up in radio brought a second gift: acceptance. The gift of being surrounded by talented radio friends who no matter how misfit the ‘normal' world would see us – we have each other.”
—Lori Lewis, social media queen
“I was fascinated with radio as early as I can remember. Figured out how to create a low power FM station when I was 10. Broadcasting around the block using mixtapes I dubbed from KGGO radio. I loved the way Joe Kelly's voice sounded. I still do a bad impression of him today. (sorry Joe) ‘DES MOINES' BEST ROCK 95 K-G-G-O.' Later I moved to Tucson, AZ from near Des Moines, Iowa and was a shy introverted kid in a much bigger city than I was used to. So the radio was my best friend. Clarke Ingram programmed the local station in Tucson, KRQQ and I was obsessed.
Charlie Van Dyke did this amazing LEGAL ID: ‘100,000 WATTS OF PPPPPPOWER, power, 93.7 KRQ-Q-TUCSON.' I used to call in doing impressions, jocks would put ME on the air and I recorded every appearance. I sent Clarke an aircheck of all the times I had been on with a note the read: Clarke, I've already been on your station 50 + times. You should just hire me! He said, ‘Call me when you're at least 16. Maybe you could be an intern.' I became known as ‘that radio kid.' 5 years later I was the late night jock on KRQ, working with PD John Peake, Tim Hattrick, Willy D. Loon, Mojo, and later Mike Elliot, Jimmy Kimmel, and so many more talented people. On air as ‘KiD' Marconi. Through many incarnations of my career, I've never forgotten those early years. It helps me now with my show on Westwood One (Rock 2.0). My love for radio will never die.”
—Marconi, on-air personality, Westwood One
“I fell in love with Radio – as a child actually, when I was the ‘weather girl' in elem school…because it was FUN! By the time I was a freshman in college, I had been hired at my first commercial station at age 18. I discovered Radio was just what I needed to help me overcome my shyness/introversion. I had the ability to speak to the masses while I was alone in a studio, speaking into a microphone, which later prepared me to speak in front of live crowds in person. This photo is from a hosting gig on a ‘Smooth Cruise' in 2006 while employed as an On Air Host at New York's Smooth Jazz, CD101.9 FM.”
—Amy McLane, on-air personality
“Radio was love at first sight for me. I grew up outside of Pittsburgh, PA. My father worked on the Pennsylvania Railroad for 45 years. We were able to ride the train for free because we had passes as his children. My older brother, Jim, and I would ride from Greensburg, PA to Pittsburgh and hangout on Saturday’s. Next to the train station was WHJB Radio. The station had a showcase window and we could see the morning man do his show. There was a speaker outside of the window and you could hear the station.
We’d stop and watch ‘Cowboy Phil' play music on huge turntables. Sometimes, during a song, he’d leave the studio and go into a back room. My brother told me that they played cards during the songs. Obviously not true, but it’s what he told me. I absolutely wanted a job that allowed me to play cards while the songs aired. I later started at that radio station when I was 15 years old.”
—Mike McVay, EVP/Content & Programming, Cumulus
“Martinsville, Va. (where I grew up) was the perfect place to listen to the big 50kw stations-WLS, WCFL, WABC. Always on my 8 transistor Toshiba radio, under the covers, after lights out. Those jocks were my friends, and made this small town boy just a little less lonely.”
—Barry Michaels, American radio personality
“My entire career began as escapism. My sisters and I spent a number of years in a children’s home in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. It was a miserable experience for us. But it is where I first heard top forty radio on a huge tube receiver in the dormitory. Somewhere along the line I got hold of a transistor radio which I was never without. I was mesmerized by Joe Niagra and Hy Lit on WIBG and Dan Ingram and Cousin Brucie on WABC. The magic they created with their excitement, humor and my favorite songs hypnotized me.
Radio allowed me, as an eleven year old, to escape to a different world and avoid the harsh realities of institutional life. That love has stayed with me. Even today, when I turn on the radio I give myself up to the creators, voices, music and stories I hear. When they are good….”
—Jarl Mohn, CEO NPR
“In this photo I was 16 and wearing a Queen ‘News of the World' t-shirt reading Mad magazine. I have been obsessed with music and radio for as long as I can remember. I knew from the moment I set foot in WIDR, the campus station at Western Michigan University, that I never wanted to do anything else. For over 30 years I get up every morning and look forward to going to work. It is a dream come true. ”
David Moore, Program Director, KSLX.KDKB Phoenix
“I fell in love with the power of radio as a child. The calming voice during severe weather, the radio playing over the family breakfast table and the energy of great personalities playing the hits all made me fall in love with radio. By the time I was 14, I was hooked for life and working at the local radio station.”
—Steve Newberry, EVP Strategic Planning/Special Projects, NAB
—Michael O'Shea, 50+ years of radio broadcasting
L-R: Cupid fires (age 13) homemade “radio station”), the arrow connects (WCVS/Springfield, the arrow embed (KLIF/Dallas with Gordon McLendon), love blooms (national PD/Golden West), lifer love (owner KUBE/Seattle), golden anniversary (Wine Country, CA – two Marconis)
“It has always been the people behind the microphone who sparked my love for radio, both before and after I joined the biz. Any music station can play the right songs and any Talk station can pick out all the right topics to discuss. But only great personalities set one station apart from another and inspire a love affair with their listeners that keeps you coming back day-after-day.”
—Al Peterson, Radio/media consultant, retired
“Sometimes your greatest love isn’t your first love…I started my love affair with radio because of my first love – flying. I had to earn money for flying lessons, so I walked into the local radio station and asked for a job. Thus began my 50 year radio love story!”
—Bob Pittman, Chairman & CEO, iHeartMedia
“3 things: I love music, and that was my point of entry. I love that every day is different – different people, experiences and opportunities. And I love the bond we have with the audience, the emotional connection we foster with both music and spoken word, and the impact that makes in the community. It's magical.”
—Dave Richards, VP Programming & Operations/Director Rock and Classic Rock, Entercom
““All Things Considered” host Susan Stamberg, the Grande dame of NPR, is my radio hero. News and features that don’t insult the listeners’ intelligence. No adverts. Liberals devoted to being as fair as they can. And mostly succeeding.
Broadened my world, and NPR still does. I have listened to Susan, Bob Garfield, Scott Simon, Nina Totenberg, Robert Krulwich and Ira Glass all my adult life. I’m always stunned to find people who haven’t heard of NPR.”
—Gary S. Rosenberg, Paragon Underwriters (and a former student of mine)
“As a kid riding around in the back seat of my parent's Mustang, I was entertained and inspired by the guy on the radio. He made me laugh and played my favorite songs. I knew that I had to be that guy one day!”
—Scott Rusk, iHeartMedia/Spokane
“My love affair with radio was firmly established at the tender age of 10 when I first discovered WKNR Keener 13 on my Channel Master AM transistor radio. From there, I was hooked on the excitement and creativity of the sound and its entertaining personalities. I participated in campus radio at Michigan State before my on-air debut in commercial radio as Dr. Steve Edwards.
I soon segued to general management assignments in radio, where I have spent the bulk of my career. I especially like the sage observation of the legendary Jim Davis (aka Big Jim Edwards) about our love for Radio: ‘It’s easy to fall in love with this business. Like all love affairs, it must be nurtured to grow. To a broadcaster that means: Always tell the truth; be there for your partner (listener/clients); be loyal; radiate positive feelings; don’t say things you will regret, and learn to communicate.'” (Source: RADIO WORLD – AUG 12, 2010).”
—Stephen Schram, Executive Director & General Manager, Michigan Radio
“It's simple for me. It was the music that me me fall in love with radio. And that love affair continues to this day with The Wow Factor.”
—John Sebastian, programmer/consultant/innovator
“I fell in love with radio because it was an art form powered by true human intimacy and authenticity.”
—LeeAnn Sommers, WGAR Cleveland
“There were many influences but when I was in late elementary school/junior high, there was a Sunday night show on WXYZ(?) produced by students at the University of Michigan that played folk music. It introduced me to a whole nuther world – Phil Ochs, Joan Baez, Simon & Garfunkel and Bob Dylan, both its music and its politics. I listened on a crystal set I’d built from a kit (I kid you not) alligator clipped to the heat vent beside my bed. The show was called Michigan Movin. It felt like I’d entered a secret world.”
—Sheila Sorvari, music & talk personality, Detroit & Houston
“My love of radio was rekindled through my local independent radio station (WXRV/Boston), thanks to their morning DJ, Rita Cary. She fostered sense of community with listeners who interacted with her via the station's Facebook page. She always responded to posts and gave us shout outs on Friday mornings when she played our requests. She was very knowledgeable about music and always served up songs with anecdotes about the bands that made you feel more connected to the artists. She not only introduced me to my favorite band (Scars on 45) but through her I met my friend Lynne has been my concert-buddy for the past 8 years. Sadly, the station replaced the wonderful Rita and I have not listened to that station since. (She's since moved over to our local public radio station (WBUR) which I listen to almost exclusively these days as we have no decent music stations left here in Boston.)”
“The magic of connecting to the local community, and hearing the flavor and entertainment of cities from far away grabbed my attention. Growing up in Tell City, Indiana, I loved basketball and radio. (Glad I chose the latter to pursue!!) WTCJ, WAKY, WLS, WGBF were great influences. Photo from hometown WTCJ, “The Juvenile Jock”.”
—Greg Strassell, SVP Programming, Hubbard Radio
“Radio is a powerful vessel to inform, to entertain, to comfort, to relate, to challenge, and to bond with my listeners. We are friends, we are family, we are here for one another and that relationship is so very unique. They allow me into their daily lives, their homes, their cars, their offices, and it is my responsibility to make them feel something special using my voice.”
—Angel Suttle, #Halo Effect, on-air personality Yo! 107.1 West Palm Beach
“My love for radio started when I was in the agency business and saw how powerful the medium was for my clients! But through the years, it hasalways been about the friends along the way. And willing to take chances ……like roller coaster rides at midnight with pals!”
—Julie Talbott, President, Premiere Networks
“It’s family lore that the first word I ever spoke was ‘Radio.' I was recording interview shows for soldiers in Vietnam on my grandfather’s Revere reel to reel by age 10. At 12 my mom took me to Dearborn to meet Bob Green at WKNR and my destiny was sealed.”
—Scott Westerman, cable TV exec, radio lover, & Keener 13 P1
“I always knew I was different. I tried the boring jobs, banking, insurance, whatever I could find. But I didn't find my home until I started in radio. Whether it was behind a computer, behind a camera or behind a microphone I found a place that I fit in. I found people just like me, people who loved what they did. I found an audience that accepted me for who I was. I found a passion and a goal. I enjoyed going to work every day. I don't work in radio now, but would go back in a heartbeat if the right thing came along.”
—Tracy West, former on-air personality
“The first tingle? On the living room floor, ears up against Mom’s hi-fi, waiting for Telstar by the Tornados to come up on WGR-AM. That song moved me. I was 6. In my teens, on CKLW & WCFL, hearing those groovy cats share amazing songs. Songs that moved me. I loved radio and began to dream one day, I could be one of those cats.”
—Bill Weston, Program Director, WMMR/WMGK Philadelphia
“My Bar Mitzvah was February 15, 1964 in Detroit, MI – the day before the Beatles' 2nd appearance on American TV. For the party, my mom asked me if I wanted to give the ice cream bar (for the kids) a name. You can see my choice, surrounded by all my female classmates. Winners of the Twist and Limbo contests received Beatle wigs. It had to be an omen – my love of music, specifically the Beatles. To work in an industry where I could live that dream has been a blessing.”
— Fred Jacobs, Jacobs Media