I owe it all to Arthur Murray. That's where my parents met. Arthur Murray made it all possible. After meeting on the dance floor, my future Dad invited my future Mom out on a date...to see a lunar eclipse! Pretty good show for a first date I'd say. Here's a scan of the actual slide of the eclipse my Dad took on that date!
I guess my radio career actually began in kindergarten. that's when I asked my Dad how talking came out of the radio. He told me there was a guy in a little building outside of town broadcasting signals into the air that we could hear on the radio. I remember telling all my friends at school about this and they all thought I was nuts. Then when I was about 9 or 10, our class took a field trip to WCCO radio in downtown Minneapolis. I was very impressed with the studios and the big clocks and all the equipment. Even today I can still see the studio clearly in my mind. Then along came a TV repairman to our humble abode. I was amazed with his collection of tools, parts, tubes and doo dads. From then on out I told my mom I wanted to be a TV repairman. This is actually documented, as Mom kept one of those books where you keep track of all your kids special moments..you know..names of their teachers, what you ate for lunch, when you had the measles, and what you wanted to be when you grew up. Year after year my book says TV or radio repairman.
I also became a record freak when I was about 4. That's when I learned how to work a phonograph. Dad would bring home 45's from his store, and eventually I discovered my Mom's 45's put away in a basement closet. But I liked playing the 78's best because I didn't have to put those fussy little snap in spindle adapters in them! First record I ever bought? "Beep Beep" by the Playmates. 39 cents in GC Murphys Department Store. I still have it. It hangs on the wall in my home office. As soon as I could play records I was always looking for an audience. Thank heaven my parents had the wisdom to provide me with a sister, so I could make her listen to records with me. I'd play DJ while she listened.
Me making my sister listen to my records. Nothing beats a captive audience.
Of course, now I have about 20,000 records. All speeds and sizes, and much to the irritation of my family I have the complete history of recorded sound in the dining room. Edison Phonograph. Victor Talking Machine. Wilcox-Gay Recordio (yes..we make our own 78's here). And *please* don't read this and call me to see if I want to buy your old records. I have so many I don't *buy* any now. BUT...if you're planing on throwing them out, call me and I'll save them from the landfill. I never throw out a record. That's why I have so many. My theory is that every record made has significance to someone, somewhere, and you never know when someone will come looking for that recording. Of course, I'll probably never be able to find it!
When I was about 11 I was heavily into experimenting with electronics. Building kits from Radio Shack. Setting up shortwave receivers and sending reception reports to foreign stations. I also discovered walkie talkies, and started playing radio announcer reading the weather, making up commercials and playing records over the walkie talkie to my sister who was listening on the other walkie talkie upstairs. A career was born.
It didn't last too long, as I moved into Jr High and High School,
and discovered cars and girls. Radio tinkering went on the back
burner. Shortly before high school graduation I got my first
taste of the "radio biz" taking a part time job at WAYL-FM in the
Twin Cities. "The Beautiful Wayl" (as in Whale) with beautiful
music. My job here was basically watching a wall of huge reel to
reel tapes take their turns playing, putting on a new one when one came
to the end, and doing a station ID, time and weather. This was
the definition of laid back programming!
When I graduated high school I started college with the intention of being a music teacher. 6 months of college and I decided higher learning was not for me. This was the 70's. It really was "higher" learning if you know what I mean. I dropped out of college.
I still had an intense interest in music, electronics, and the idea of being a radio star someday. There was a new community radio station getting started in Minneapolis...KFAI-FM "Fresh Air Radio" When they started it was a 10 watt FM station located in a church. I helped them build the initial air studio and then hosted a big band program once a week. A friend told me "you sure talk a lot..you should be on the radio for real". So I enrolled in Brown Institute, took the typical "DJ Course" but also took the full electronics program and Advertising and Journalism programs. Graduated, and accepted my first big time radio job.
Big Time radio. Yeah. Right. WMIN, St. Paul. 500 Watts daytime broadcasting only. The format? POLKA MUSIC! All day, every day. Polka Music. I became a member of the P.O.L.K. of A. (That's the Polka Lovers Klub of America). I emceed dances at the Bel-Rae Ballroom, even was caught playing the accordion occasionally. That lasted about 2 years. My next brilliant career move took me to Wadena, Minnesota where I opened a record store and worked part time at KWAD Radio. The urge struck to get out of the retail business and get back into radio full time. A few calls later I was the new morning guy at KEHG in Fosston, MN. Lasted two years here as well, and let me tell you, the KEHG experience is worthy of a book in itself. With a wife and two kids now it was time to move to the big time. A couple calls found me in Williston, North Dakota. Right at the end of the big oil boom out there. They had renamed hiway two thru town "The Million Dollar Way" as so many oil companies had popped up there. Five whole years playing country music at KEYZ. Also started spreading my wings as an engineer and finally taking over the program director position. Until one day a fella with a new high power country FM station in Devils Lake North Dakota decided he wanted to hire me away from KEYZ. After undying persistence he convinced me to move. Now it was KZZY-FM 100,000 watts of contemporary country music. Also my first position as Program Director and Chief Engineer. Lets just say things didn't work out and I was looking for greener pastures..or at least a station that would balance it's checkbook. This finally brought me to KOZY here in Grand Rapids, where I've been since 1988.
Interests? If you listen you probably know. As my family will tell you, there are no secrets on the air. When I'm not spinning oldies, I'm listening to Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Thelonius Monk, Ella Fitzgerald, and of course Mel Torme'. Tinkering on the Corvair (after 14 years as an Edsel driver), and heavy into photography and eBay. There's never a dull moment, and if it's weird or interesting I'm probably checking it out.
Glad to be calling the Itasca County area home. I came to KOZY as the morning guy, spent some time as Program Director, and "semi-retired" in 2001. Still a "morning guy" and Chief Engineer for both KOZY and KMFY. So when something is broken, it's probably my fault, or at least..I'm out there fixing it. Glad to have you along for the ride.