Yesterday Marked the Big 45 For The Big Dog in Radio
It’s hard to believe that 45 years ago yesterday this wide eyed radio wannabe sat behind the microphone for the first time. The radio station was KIEE in Harrisonville, Missouri in the Kansas City Metro area. I won’t lie to you, I was scared to death when it became my turn to talk into the microphone. I have always remembered how difficult it was to talk on the air, and I appreciate those who are a little intimidated by doing so when they join us on the air now.
KIEE was a brand new station and I wanted that job more than anything else (other than playing for the Yankees). I pestered the owner, Arnie Wilson, numerous times about working for him and begged him to give me my first opportunity in radio. I showed up at his house several times during the building of the station just to get updates and let him know I was still interested. I came into the yet-to-be-built studios to “hang” around.
When it became time to hire people, I held my breath because there were several “experienced ” announcers who had applied as well. Then Mr. Wilson called me and said he was going to give me a chance. I couldn’t believe it. The daily radio practicing in my basement was about to become the real thing. July 21, 1974 will be a day I will always remember.
In the 45 years that have followed, I have done just about everything a guy in radio could do. From transmitter assistance to news-casting, from sports play-by-play to running a morning show. I have gone from the overnight guy to Program Director to Operations Manager to Sales Manager to General Manager in my career.
The business has certainly changed since my first day on the air 45 years ago. The competition is enormous and the digital world we live in now has made things interesting. It is a learning curve I have managed to be able to keep up with, sometimes just enough to be dangerous.
I always get asked what’s the one thing you have enjoyed doing in radio? It is a simple answer for me. It's the sports play-by-play. I don’t do it anymore, but I loved every minute of it and I do miss it (although I do it in my head every time I am at a game). Every broadcast was different and I have been lucky to win a few awards for my play-by-play work, which means a lot to me. People don’t have any idea how much work goes into a game broadcast to make it sound good.
With the world of radio always changing, I am amazed that I am still behind the microphone every day. I guess I consider myself a survivor in this crazy business and I have the listeners like you and Mr. Arnie Wilson (God rest his soul) to thank for that. How long will this ride last? I don’t know, but I will know when the time comes to finally sign off. I imagine that day will soon be here or maybe not!