Andy Looks Back On The 25th Anniversary Of His First Air Shift
It’s 10:42pm on a Saturday in August of 1992. I’m laying on the couch, and practicing the same words over and over. Endlessly rehearsing with different inflections, I still couldn’t get it right. Being a nervous and introverted seventeen year old, you might think I was working up the nerve to talk to a girl on the one rotary phone in the house. See, that would make sense, right?
Nope. I was getting ready to talk on the radio.
So, it began. 25 years ago today, I held down my first FM radio air-shift. Midnight to 6 on WCDQ in Sanford. While having a year of student radio under my belt, this was big league “FM!” That summer, I had been interning after doing uncharacteristically well in Media Technology. I use “uncharacteristic” because I was terrible at nearly everything else. Having a stuttering issue, repeating the 10th grade, and already flunking English…twice. I still remember my dad taking this all in while reading a report card. “You want to be (pause) ON THE RADIO?” If that class hadn’t come around, I honestly don’t know where I’d be today. The station gave the intern a break when one staff member was fired after owning up to smoking pot in the air studio. plus leaving the roaches behind for them to be in plain sight to clients Monday AM, or something like that. In retrospect, either I owe a lot to pot itself, or the fact it hadn’t yet become a convoluted ballot question. All I know is it got me to the seat.
You remember the scene in Private Parts where Howard Stern totally biff’s every break with a dumpster fire delivery that should never get you invited back? Yeah, I might’ve reached that level on year three. So, it’s 12:08, and the first song I talk out of is Paul Simon’s “Late In The Evening.” Hey, guess what I did with that? Oh, you betcha I was going clever right away with “that was Late In The Evening (wait for it…wait for it) BUT IT’S EARLY IN THE MORNING NOW!” What a bumbling doofus. Anyway, I probably thought it was content gold, was wicked proud, and sent it straight into Dave Edmunds “Girls Talk.” Yeah, Dave EDMUNDS! Great song by the way, and CDQ soon replaced MTV as my music education.
A lot has happened between that night and today. Broadcasting, in one form or another, has made up 90% of my working life. The other 10% was never as exciting. (Well, unintentionally wrecking a new luxury car while working as a valet was kinda up there…not) Yeah, the mechanics of the industry not being “what they were” gets a lot of traction at Eeyore University, but show me one profession that remains the same for that amount of time. I’ve been over appreciated, and underpaid. In the same thought, I’ve also been overcompensated, and felt under valued within this suspended state of adolescence that is the broadcasting industry. A lot of us get into this in part to meet famous people. My advice is to stick around long enough to realize the most interesting folks will never have their name on any marquee.