Tom Hoots

We’ve always liked Tom Hoots.  We first met several years ago while spending some time at our second home, in Panama City Beach, Fl.  Tom was one of the hosts of “The Morning Mix” on WKGC-FM, in Panama City.

Tom Hoots at WKGC-FM

We’d been invited to appear on the show for a conversation about Les Paul and our book “A Little More Les.”  That first appearance resulted in many more on the station and found us hosting specials and election coverage in an on-going relationship with WKGC-FM that led to an invitation to be on that station’s advisory board.  WKGC-FM is the Gulf Coast State College radio station.

Equally important (Actually, on a personal level, much MORE important!) that first appearance led to a relationship with a fascinating, incredibly creative and selfless man who we’re proud to call a friend, Tom Hoots.

We initially bonded with Tom because of our shared love of radio, music and the technology that made them tick.  When we found out that Tom operated his own recording studio, Studio 812, in Lynn Haven, Fl., we had to visit.  We came, we saw, we were blown away and, of course, one of us had to take advantage of all Tom and his world-class facility had to offer.

Steve with Tom Hoots at Studio 812

Follow up visits to Tom’s studio found us both behind the microphone recording for WKGC-FM and other Steve & Johnnie Media projects.

Cracking up over a script while recording at Studio 812

We quickly found that Tom had other tricks up his sleeve, too.  One was the world’s first totally solar powered truck.

The world’s first solar powered truck.

Tom’s dream was to get solar powered vehicles to third-world countries where one solar powered truck could forever change the lives of an entire village.  No more walking 20 miles a day to haul water by hand!

The truck, an old Chevrolet, was built to Tom’s blueprint specifications by the students of one of his classes at Gulf Coast State College.

We were 2 of the 7 people who ever had the privilege of driving that truck for a Video Road Test project we were working on.

Steve & Johnnie with the world’s first solar powered truck

Sadly, the truck is gone.  It was another victim of Hurricane Michael.

The solar powered truck after Hurricane Michael

If, by now, you’re getting the idea that this Tom Hoots guy is a pretty special dude.  You’d be correct!  His mind is always working, questioning, looking for an answer to problems both old and new.  Now that we think of it, Les Paul would have gotten along really well with Tom!

And, speaking of new problems, we were not at all surprised to see that Tom came up with an idea to help fight the problem we’re all dealing with today … COVID-19.  At Tom’s suggestion, Gulf Coast State College has modified a high-speed carbon fiber cutter at at the college so it can be used to slice fabric that is now being used to make face masks.  The whole story is in the April 13 edition of the Panama City News Herald.

Tom also did a YouTube video showing how to assemble the mask.

As we said, this Tom Hoots guy is a pretty special dude.  At a time when many of us are questioning a lot of things happening on this planet right now, we consider ourselves lucky to be on it at the same time he is.

We’re very proud to know Tom and we thought you should, too.


About steveandjohnnie

Award winning Chicago Broadcasters, inducted into WGN radio's Walk Of Fame. Authors of the Les Paul memoir, "A Little More Les." You'll find even more about us at
This entry was posted in Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Hurricane Michael, Radio, WKGC and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Tom Hoots

  1. Carol Hoots says:

    What a nice article about Tom. I can tell you, it’s been an interesting 44 years. Thanks, Carol Hoots

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