MUSIC IS PRETTY MUCH MY ONLY INTEREST….
ALWAYS BEEN THAT WAY
I grew up in rural Ohio during the heyday of AM radio - it was a really good central location for radio, and living on a hill made our reception even better. In the daytime, we listened to WHLO in Akron, with occasional forays to Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati stations; also WKBN Youngstown, KDKA Pittsburgh, and our local station, WTNS, Coshocton. Nighttime really came alive, as we were blessed with everything from WBZ Boston to WLS Chicago, and much in between. There was WOWO Fort Wayne, WKBW Buffalo, CKLW Windsor-Detroit...sometimes in winter there were stations such as KAAY Little Rock, WNOE New Orleans and others I can't remember, that we were able to hear for only half an hour. But the biggest influence of all was those wonderfully mysterious voices that came through the night like exotic pied pipers, beckoning the lonely and isolated into their world - John R, Hoss Allen, and Big Hugh Baby at WLAC Nashville.
It was always, and still is, mostly about voices for me. The first voice that jumped out of the pack was Lloyd Price, and the first time I heard WLAC, I declared "I just found a radio station where all the singers sound like Lloyd Price!" Well, my ear just hadn't developed yet. But it didn't take long for me to pick up on all these wonderful new singers I was hearing. It was also great fun hearing that wonderful music at night and playing the game of "how long til WHLO will have to play..........." And so often it happened.
Around this time, I also discovered Roy Orbison. This is where WBZ comes in - I soon learned that he was disproportionately popular on this station, and that even if he didn't have a hit at the moment anywhere else, I could ALWAYS hear a Roy song on WBZ. Then I became mesmerized by the wittiest DJ I ever heard, Bruce Bradley. And the rest of the WBZ staff - especially Dick Summer and Ron Landry. Even then, I knew I wanted to be in the music business in some way, but wasn't quite sure how (I always loved to sing, but I already knew I wasn't any better than anyone else, so that didn't seem to be an option.) I took Bruce's word to be gospel when, night after night, he extolled the virtues of Northeast Broadcasting School. A plan was beginning to form which would lead me not only to radio, but also to my lingering love affair with New England.
But before this plan could get off the ground, yet another thing happened that would change my perspective on my musical future. The onslaught of the British Invasion had pretty much killed off the chances of those great WLAC records sneaking into the bottom of the WHLO top 40 - those spots all now seemed to belong to a bunch of guys with guitars. No more singers. Before long, I couldn't listen to any station for more than ten or 15 minutes at a time. One day, in a dial twisting frenzy, I stumbled upon Carl Belew singing "Crystal Chandelier." It sounded like Bobby Bare, so I left it on, really liked it, tuned in the same station again in hopes of hearing it again and, just like that, I was hooked on country music. I suppose I was somewhat prepared for it - Jimmy Dean's TV show was a favorite at our house, and Marty Robbins, Don Gibson, Sonny James, and so many others had already had top 40 hits. It was like welcoming old friends. Then one day I heard Ray Price, and that was it! Singers. Voices. Ahhhh….During this period, it was WWVA in the daytime, Mike Hoyer on WHO, and Ralph Emery on WSM, at night. Now my dream was complete - I wanted to be an all night DJ - part Ralph Emery, part Dick Summer - with the smart alecky-ness of Bruce Bradley and Steve Allen! After a few false starts, I was off to Boston.
AND THEN. . .
My first radio job was at WOTW, Nashua, NH. Eight hour air shift from 5 PM - 1 AM - alone in the studio, playing anything I wanted, talking to people on the phone - my idea of heaven. For the sake of seeing another part of the country and trying something new, I next went to WJLJ in Tupelo, Missisisppi. Couldn't have been much different. Then back to WTNS in Coshocton, Ohio - my home town. Kind of cool to actually work at a station I had listened to as a kid. After radio, I worked as a secretary for John Penny, who had the top country band in New England, and a thriving booking agency as well. That lead me to Johnny D's, an award-winning music club in Somerville, MA, which I booked for 10 years. It was a great way to put to use all of the musical knowledge I had acquired in so many different areas. At the same time, I worked part-time at Cheapo Records in Cambridge, MA, one of the most awesome music stores of its kind anywhere in the world. I left Johnny D's in July of 99 to relocate to Little Rock, to assist Dale Hawkins with his Hawk's Nest Studio and OH! Suzy Q Publishing Company. I spent a few months in New Orleans, working for music attorney Ellis Pailet at his Ellis in Wonderland Management Company, then returned to Little Rock. I am still helping Dale, and doing some freelance publicity work. Feel free to email me if you can use my services.
I have also rekindled an interest in songwriting, which I just couldn't
do when I was younger, but I seem to have a bit more patience now. Additional plans call for getting my own station up and running on Live 365 in the near future.
WOW!! I guess I can officially call myself a "voice talent" now - I made my first radio commercial this week!!! (4-10-02) Meaning, at a studio, not at a radio station I worked for! I had one line as a schoolteacher, in a spot for Travel Montana. Thanks, Soundscapes! Just did a Time-Warner Cable commercial for Memphis radio!!!