I was born and raised in Dayton, and I suppose my interest in broadcasting goes all the way back to some time in the early 1960's. Unlike some kids today, I didn't have control of the TV remote; heck, there weren't TV remotes then! Mom was in charge of the television and every day at noon it was tuned to the old Ruth Lyons 50/50 Club. I decided I really liked the idea of performing and being involved with music.
Later, in my teenage years, I had learned to play guitar and got into some garage bands, during which time I convinced myself that trying to become a rock star was a great way to starve. Having acted in theatrical performances at Miamisburg High School (I am a 1974 graduate), I might have tried to go to Hollywood and become an actor had I had any gumption. I guess I just liked Ohio too much to want to move 3,000 miles. That, plus I heard the stories of a lot of wannabe actors and actresses there that spend their lives auditioning, while flipping Tofu burgers for pocket change.
I had already seen the inside of a radio station. My dad got me a tour of the old WING studios downtown for my tenth birthday. As a teenager, I got involved in a Junior Achievement company hosted by the former WAVI/WDAO. It was there I met legendary Dayton DJ Gene Barry. I told Gene of my interest in the business. He suggested I come by the station the following Saturday after he got off the air and he would let me practice a bit in one of the station's production studios. I did. And, with Gene's help, I produced my first audition tape. I wish I still had it, but it's long gone.
I also helped build an FM radio station at Miamisburg High School (where I graduated in 1974). I was spinning records on the air at the school when the Xenia tornado happened! [Rowdy J with one of the few people in world actually rowdier than him, Larry The Cable Guy]
Upon graduation, I went to what is, today, the local International College of Broadcasting. However, I got my first full time radio job in Wilmington, Ohio well before the radio class ended. At least the school was gracious enough to allow me to graduate with my class. I first played country music on that station. In fact, during that time I was backstage at the Grand Ole Opry swapping stories with, among others the late Marty Robbins, Roy Acuff and Minnie Pearl (one of the most elegant ladies I’ve ever met…out of character, of course!)
After 3 years in Wilmington, my radio journey took me to Dayton, where I worked as a News Reporter for WONE/WTUE, then WAVI/WDAO. I went to Cincinnati as a radio News Director, where I was one of the first reporters on the scene when 11 people were trampled to death outside the Who concert at the old Riverfront Coliseum. Some of my reports and interviews from the scene of that tragedy were picked up by ABC Radio and even the BBC in London! After that, I became a country DJ at WBZI-FM in Xenia, (where I emceed a concert at a bar in Middletown introducing a then-new singer named George Strait!) then to WQLK-FM in Richmond, Indiana.
Then, my hometown called again, and I was offered a job on WING-AM. I was probably one of the last of the Lively Guys, as the station went to satellite programming after I left. I was first transferred to a night shift on Z-93 and then went to WCOL-FM in Columbus, where I would work for 8 years. It was while I was at WCOL, I emceed a portion of the George Strait Country Music Festival in Ohio Stadium in front of 90,000 people! I also survived 5 nights of Garth Brooks concerts in Cooper Stadium (though I admit I was exhausted after the last one ended! But, hey…Garth did give me a Budweiser on his bus!) And, I’ve been a voting member of the Country Music Association for quite a few years.
When I left WCOL, I became a Program Director for the first time, 3 years later; I went to a station in Champaign, Illinois as their Program Director. When that job ended, I decided I really wanted to go home. Fortunately, the boss at K-99.1 was interested in me. And I'm darn glad to be here. So, I guess I'm living proof that, no matter what happens to you in life, you really can go home