Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A Thrill-Seeker's Dream Come True

All of us have defining moments
in our lives, even if we
immediately realize them.
Sitting on the
living room floor
of my parents modest 3-bedroom

ranch watching the black & white
Philco televison set
that was tuned
to Channel 12-Milwaukee (CBS),
a cold & wintery February Sunday evening in Wisconsin,
while waiting for the number one variety show host
(a man with a booming voice named ED) to announce the
coming of the fabulous 'Beatles'! I was barely old enough
to understand what I was watching, but even then, the
electrified guitars they were weilding held me in a state
of amazement. Suddenly, right there on the living room
floor at 208 Jefferson St in Beaver Dam, WI a seed was
planted. Though it would take a few years to germinate
and grow, the key was.......................it was planted.
This same seed was planted in the minds & hearts of
many American, young & old. The world had just been
changed, right then & there on a black & white Philco TV.

Now, fast forward about 8 years >>>>>>>>>>>>>>|

Living in a world where AM rock radio was king may seem
like it would have been an audio world of crackle & pop.
An interference-filled medium that would seem like it could
not inspire.This would not be the case in the long run,
rather, it was all we had, but it was amazingly inspiring.
Daily radio shows were steeped in creativity

At this stage of my life I was too young to actually attend
Woodstock, but thanks to the offerings of AM rock giant's
such as WLS-Chicago, WOKY-Milwaukee, and after 10pm,
KAAY-Little Rock, the fact that I was not born early enough
to put me in a farm field in NY state, the aforementioned
"big-sticks" turned out to be a suitable alternative in retrospect.

It would not only be the music that became inspiring
to me, but the disc jockey's themsleves.
In some cases, maybe even more inspiring than the music itself.
I detected passion and enthusiasm infused into their
their daily rants and musical offerings . Larry Luzak &
John 'records' Landecker of WLS-Chicago would be two
who had an impact on me. Bob Barry of "fun-lovin" WOKY-
Radio in Milwaukee would also leave an imprint upon my
brain. I could hear the preparation in their styles,
along with a kind of mystique that seemed very interesting
and attractive to me. Perhaps it was the interaction with
the listeners, or the idea of actually becoming to know
the artists through the interview process, or promotional
events. It just seemed to me to be such a damn cool profession,
but an unlikely dream for this buck-tooth, big-eared kid from
southeast Wisconsin. Life would ultimately take me in
a completely different direction, but again, a seed had been planted.

FAST FORWARD 20 years>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>|

Oct 1990 - An uncoventional thrill-seeker and dream come true.

During a prolonged stint of unemployment due to a raging
fire that
burnt my employer's business to the ground, I found
myself with a
lot of spare time on my hands. For some odd
reason my interest in
radio seemed to replant itself in my brain.
I learned of a contest on
a local 50 thousand-watt mainstream
rock station, where you could
win your own hour of air time as
a guest DJ. All you had to do is write
the station a letter and tell
them WHY you would be thee 'best choice'.

When I sat down and wrote the letter I had a premonition that
I would
in fact, win the contest, and would be offered the 1 hour
Sunday night
slot. Guess what? My premonition would be an
accurate one, indeed.

I followed the advice of the gang at Lazer 103 in Milwaukee,
with some smaller market radio folks that I had come
to know thru
my retail management job, and ba-bing! Ten days
after the Lazer 103
guest hour I had my first job in radio at WBEV
in Beaver Dam, WI.
Working weekends & fill-in weeknites around
my 'regular job'.
A Trainwreck was in the works! Stay tuned.........

(~~ to be continued ~~~)


  1. You know I love peoples stories. This is so good, Steve.

    I remember listening to WLS. I had a portable AM radio solely for the purpose of lying in bed at night under the covers so I could slowly turn the dial and listen to places far from where I was. Being a child from a gypsy-like family that moved a lot, I had actually been to most of these places..but WLS had the best signal and could be listened to just about anywhere we lived.

    Brought a good memory back to me. Thanks for that.

    Staying tuned...

  2. Droppin in, as requested, to say HI on your blog. Hmmm. Maybe I need to add the little widget to my blog while Im floating around on site. Thanks for the song.