Monday, July 10, 2017

How I got into radio

This blog is dedicated to Jenny Ryan of Dallas Cowboys Rhythm & Blue dancers. She was the last person who asked me how I got into radio. We were walking down the hall of my old station when she asked and I was so surprised by her inquiry and did not have a handy lie at the ready so just told the truth. The look on her face as I shared my journey is seared in my memory. Her eyes sparkled with equal parts joy, incredulity and awe.

Related: I'm always slightly embarrassed when college students majoring in communications send me letters asking for interviews about my career in radio because unlike them I didn't go to school...I fell into it because I had a crush on a boy.

He was tall and beautiful w lips made for kisses and I was determined to feast on them. There was just one little problem.

Language barrier.

I spoke only English. And he spoke only Bon Jovi.

In a determined effort to win my crush I went and bought ALL the Bon Jovi records I could find and proceeded to learn this unique and beautiful language. However despite my passion and dedication he didn't respond to my attempts to communicate .

One day at work a bunch of us were talking and laughing hysterically about whatever it was when he stood up and SHOOSHED everyone and indignantly pointed to the radio in the corner and very seriously said "Bon Jovi is playing" we were, it seems, to show proper reverence to his gods... as you do.

This is when the hamster on the wheel in my head fell off the wheel which rolled out of my ears and took my brain with it...I deduced that if I was the girl on the radio playing the Bon Jovi this kissable crush would HAVE to love to me. Those are the rules right? RIGHT???

So I marched my dumbass right down to the nearest radio station that played Bon Jovi and I fully expected to be hired on the spot. It doesn't work that way apparently. I was one of those ignorant assholes who just assumed anyone with a larynx could do radio. You can imagine my indignant irritation to be informed otherwise.

But dear reader, there were kisses to be had and damn it all to hell I was not going to be deterred or denied so I kept marching into the station with stupid cassettes of me just yammering about this that and the other. I sincerely did not know any better. Sometimes stupidity pays off and if you needed a poster child for this assertion look no further than the author of this blog.

It took 6 months of steady visits to the station but I finally got the job doing overnights at this rock station.

Years later my boss told me the reason he hired me was not because he saw any hidden potential in the ding dong in his midst but rather because I was so fucking annoying he would do anything to make me go away.  What is that old adage about keep your friends close and your enemies closer? Yeah that.

Bossman grew tired of my weekly visits pleading for a job and finally hired me thinking that if he stuck me on a midnight to 6am schedule he would never have to see me again. He was correct of course.


So here is where it gets fun.

My ridiculous ploy worked. I got the job but more importantly I GOT THE BOY. Boy oh boy did I. And being in the overnight shift meant we could be alone in the studio. I could and did kiss him all night every night and all the while Bon Jovi played ON VINYL in the background. My mom knew when he was at station because the record would run out and there would be dead air...we were so immersed in our passion that I didn't hear the record end because the music was still playing in my head.

To this day Bon Jovi is the soundtrack to the sweetest kisses I ever knew.

The relationship with the boy was evanescent. We had nothing in common and pretty soon we ran out of kisses. But my passion for radio replaced the passion for the boy.

I stuck with it.

It has been a wildly beautiful journey and although my story is absurd it works and I wouldn't change any part of it. For as unhinged as the origin story of my career in radio may sound it really highlights a radiant trifecta of imperative traits for not just surviving but also really thriving in this industry...passion, tenacity and perseverance.