It’s now been over a decade since my last full-time gig on the air. I had some good times, even did some weekend and fill-in shifts at the Wolf shortly after it launched for about 9 months, but playing songs and being a music DJ just didn’t cut it for me. It’s being able to play in the morning show arena that works. That’s the full radio experience and I was able to enjoy that for most of two decades.
I’ve stayed in touch with the industry through my daily writings that I submit to Radio-Online, a show prep service for disc jockeys. Every day, somewhere in the world, there’s a sleep-deprived DJ saying one of my jokes, passing along one of my news items, or playing a quiz I wrote up. I get up at 4am (which is sleeping in for real morning show folks) and do all the prep for a shift, then have someone else perform it.
When my former producer and radio pal Bryon Mengle recently accepted a job on a station in Iowa, I have to say it’s been fun brain-storming with him about bits, being a planted call and offering up any of the sure-fire promotional hits we had over the years. The one he’s picking my brain on now is a silly thing we did for three years in Bothell called the Keeney to Keeney Fun Run. Back at that time, there was an office products store called Keeney’s located across the street from Pop Keeney Field, where the local high school football teams played. One day, I thought, “Wouldn’t it be funny if we held a Keeney to Keeney Fun Run, where everyone would have to run…oh….92.5 feet?” I went over there, measured out a course, put the idea out in my newspaper column in the reporter and took it to the listeners of 92.5-KLSY (see where I got the number from?)
It was a huge hit. Who didn’t come wished they had. My morning show partners and I “ran” the course with the listeners and readers who showed up. One guy from the newspaper came with his bride on their wedding day. Another guy brought an office chair and did the course, since it was all downhill. And there was a water station at the midway point, just in case anyone got hydrated.
Now THAT’S why I miss radio. Connecting with listeners, being silly, taking them where they never would have imagined themselves to go. Oh and we had commemorative t-shirts, too. Somewhere, out there, there have to be a couple still being used as oil rags.
Lately, it seems like there’s just been more buzz around me regarding radio. A friend who I worked with at KLSY, who had two previous tours of duty at Star 101.5, has gone back to Kent & Alan’s home for a third stint. Best of luck, Tarah. Add to that, I was contacted recently by a station to be their fill-in morning guy for a month, while their regular guy took a sabbatical. A tempting offer and I was flattered, but just couldn’t fit it into all the previous engagements. After doing something for thirty years, I was ready to do something new, to pick up new skills and I’ve done that. But there’s always that little tug, that little flashback to a pretty fun time in my life, that makes me wonder—will I find myself back in that world again some day.