As I drove up to the station I was feeling a kind of nervous excitement. You know the feeling, don’t you? It’s that weird internal battle where half of you can’t wait for something to happen but, at the same time, the other half wants to put it off as long as possible.
The parking lot was mostly empty due to the lateness of the hour and the fact that everyone who worked the day shift was long gone. I parked right next to the boss’s reserved space and sat in the car for a while just listening to the radio and thinking of the five hours that lay ahead.
I had been listening to the station while I drove in trying to get a fix on what I would do. Somehow the darkness seemed to help. It allowed me to get a different perspective on what was coming through the speaker and helped me to imagine other people listening to the radio, what they were doing and how they would react to what they heard. The voice on the radio was an example of professionalism and assurance — two things I felt I was sorely lacking at the moment. When I felt I just couldn’t put it off any longer, I got out of the car, grabbed up my briefcase and went into the station.
A radio station at night is a different world. The skeleton crew that inhabits the halls and studios have a lot of responsibility. And, the nighttime audience is a demanding one. It’s as if you’re talking to them on a much more personal, one-to-one, level than the rest of the day requires.
I was feeling the weight of that responsibility and those demands as I went over the news stories that night. Coupled with a sense of excitement, I had a real case of nerves. Oh sure, I had been in front of a microphone many times before. I’d done it for years. But, this was different. This was like the first time. There was no crutch this time. No guitar. No songs. This time I wasn’t singing. This time I was just talking into a microphone as I started a new career — in radio.
That night in May of 1966 when I made my broadcasting debut on WJOB-AM, in Hammond, Indiana is one I won’t forget.
Who knew 50 years would go by so fast and include time spent with individuals from all walks of life, some whose names are well known all over the world, many of whom have become close friends?
Most importantly, who knew that my transition from full-time singer/musician to broadcaster would provide me the introduction to the love of my life?
Who knew that 50 years later I would be still enjoying the heck out of this journey and have the luxury of being able to say to those of you who have been nice enough to tune in from far-flung points across the globe and continue to track our current adventures through our social media sites ….
Thanks for listening!