“Ob-la-di, ob-la-da, life goes on, bra…”
– The Beatles –
Remember vinyl records? I used to actually spin tunes on the radio when I was a young lass. 45’s and 33 1/3rds and carts. It was a true joy to be had. Thankfully I’m not old enough to have played 78’s. The transition to CD”s came later and now, everything in radio is pretty much computerized.
My love for radio and music in general came when I was about 7 or 8 years old. My sister had this small, orange AM/FM radio in the bathroom and also had a really cool stereo that had (gasp) a radio, phonograph and an 8 track player. She had (and still does have) excellent taste in music and I grew up listening to everything from ABBA to Zappa and back again.
I finally moved from my little portable phonograph to a similar stereo system when I was 12. I thought it was the greatest invention ever. I listened to KPUR, Z-93 and the man, Casey Kasum, with a religious fervor. New wave blossomed and it was an age where guitars were somewhat being replaced with synthesizers. This was evident in groups such as Duran Duran, Depeche Mode, The Fixx, New Order Echo and the Bunnymen and the list goes on. Hair bands of the 1980’s came (and went) and music morphed into a kind of post-punk turned grunge era. Rap music really took on a whole new life and it also blossomed.
When I was 14, I did my first radio air shift and began cutting a few commercials and doing television voice over work. Pops owned an advertising agency and I was pretty cheap talent. By the time I was 18, I was in school to actually learn the business and I felt invincible on the air. However, I can say radio personalities are not invincible. The music industry and changes in how radio works (aka technology) made many great DJ’s obsolete.
Looking back, I’m so grateful my “first life” was filled with extraordinary experiences in the broadcast industry. From being a radio personality to news anchor to being a news technical director, I have been blessed beyond belief. To this day, I cherish the friendships I made in those early years when I was learning a bit about who I was and what I wanted out of life. (And I’m also thankful those folks do not hold the arrogance of youth against me.)
When I go back to my hometown, I occasionally get to get back on the radio for a few hours. There is something enchanting about doing something you love so much. And even though the technology has changed, the process of “being a good jock” hasn’t. The key is to let the world see you as you are and to let them in. After that, everything is gravy.