50 Years Later – Whatever Happened to That Kid on the Radio?
The date was January 17, 1972.
Richard Nixon was president. The number one song was American Pie. You could buy a gallon of gas for 38 cents. And, an 18 year old kid began living his dream of making his living on the radio.
That person, of course, was me, and Monday marks my 50th anniversary behind a microphone.
I could tell you the whole story, but neither one of us has that kind of time. I had wanted a career in radio since at least junior high. Some kids have imaginary friends, I had an imaginary radio station.
Armed with my Certificate of Completion from Career Academy School of Famous Broadcasters and my Third Class FCC License (with the Broadcast Endorsement), I sent out that first wave of resumes just before Christmas of '71.
It was Paul Salois, the owner of KPCR in Bowling Green, at the time probably the best country station in the area, who decided to take a chance on this wet-behind-the-ears newbie. My first air shift was weekdays at 10 a.m., following Joe Lewis, who may been the most popular country DJ around in those days.
That's where it started. My radio travels took me to Pittsfield (twice), Virden, Hannibal (four times), Monroe City (twice), Jacksonville and Branson, along with weekly newspaper stops in Barry, Pittsfield and Winchester.
From disc jockey to news person, this journey has been all about you, the person on the receiving end. Being the person that lets you know what the weather is going to be, or who won the game last night, or where all the sirens were headed, or is there going to school, is a job that never, ever gets old.
I have had the chance to work with hundreds of kindred spirits over the years. If I tried to name names I would leave somebody out. Let's just say that if you crossed my path professionally, I probably learned something from you that allowed me to do a better job. Thank you.
For those of you who allowed me into your homes, cars, offices or camp sites in the last half century, thank you doesn't begin to describe what you have meant to this old Pike County farm boy. Mostly, that if it wasn't for you, I would've had to go find a real job.
In conclusion, to sum up this business and what it means to me, I call on the best play-by-play man who ever lived, Jack Buck.
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