Before I tell you about my all night DJ gig, I must remind you to Ask Bob a question. I have a degree in SCIENCE!
So as I had mentioned in previous columns, dumb luck landed me a pretty sweet part time in radio job as a teen. It was 1980 something, and I was in my early twenties and still workin the the christian radio station.
I got to meet a few semi-famous people in the christian music world of the early 80s. Amy Grant (she still owes me money), The Imperials, The Lanny Wolfe Trio, Pat Boone, and David Meece to name a few. They usually did small gigs in Omaha at local chruches with the album music on cassette and they sang live over the studio music.
Mostly I did they easy-peasy job of playing half hour tapes while I cleaned the radio station – DOUBLE PAY, because I got paid for both jobs separately while doing them at the same time.
A few years later I got a full time job at a Fox Photo photo-finishing lab and went to the station on weekends. Not exactly a professional DJ job, but it was nice extra money. The whole time I was driving a car I bought as a senior in high school for $50.
My friends called it the “Rust Mobile” for obvious reasons. It barely ran and guzzled gas like there was no tomorrow. It didn’t have a back seat, so I went to “U Pull It” and bought a back seat that for $5. I didn’t attach it properly, I just sat it down in the space in the back of the car.
It was a joke item in high school. I’d drive somewhere with some friends, and put two unsuspecting passengers in the back. Then I’d slam on the breaks at a stop sign and the back seat would tilt and slide forward with the passengers getting jostled about. We all had a good laugh about it, but it probably wasn’t very safe. It sounds like a piece of junk, but by Omaha standards it was a sweet piece of machinery, considering my buddy Stan drove a tractor to school.
Lucky for me Nebraska didn’t have very many rules on the books concerning the safety of motorized vehicles. The few they did have were regulations for tractors and farm equipment.
Eventually, I trashed that car and bought a sweet Pontiac with electric windows! It even looked nice, dark red with a black roof. I started applying to other radio stations and got a call back from Gene Piat who was a big time DJ at KFAB back in the day.
He offered me an all night DJ job at WJAZ…full time! They played music from big 4 hour tapes, so I just put on a tape, wait for a song to end and start the next tape. Once an hour I gave the weather with my cool melow voice, “Soooo good you could join us this evening to enjoy some cool jazzzzzz at W-J-A-Z…82 degrees in Omaha, with a chance of…blah, blah, blah.”
It was a weird radio station. A remodeled old blue house, not in a business strip, just between other houses where people lived, so you had to park in the street. When you walked in, the enterance was a small front room, and to your right was a studio window. The on air studio was just a tiny bedroom, with a big hole in the wall where they put the studio window looking down to the front room. The breakroom was a small kitchen, no room for chairs or a kitchen table, it was too small. Just a place to put your coffe pot and fridge.
Another bedroom across from the studio was a production studio to make commercials. Nothing fancy, just a couple of long homemade tables to hold the recording equipment, made out of plywood and two-by-fours. Not even sanded down or painted.
The bathroom still had a bathtub with a piece of plywood on top where they kept office supplies. Yup, I hit the big time.
But who was I to complain, another sweet job that fell in my lap for no particular reason at the age of 22. I took over after the evening chick Janet. We had a game where we’d try to make the other person laugh while they on the air. Make a funny face, picking my nose…anything would make her laugh.
Being somewhat stoic by nature, it was hard to make me laugh. One time she came in the studio while I was on the air and grabbed the back of the chair and pulled me back farther and farther so I had to keep talking louder and louder for the mike to pick up my quite voice…good times. The best prank was when she stood in front of the studio window and pulled up her shirt…that was nice, but I still didn’t laugh, just a smile.
I showed up every night coffee in hand ready to stay up all night with mellow music that would put a pit bull on steroids to sleep. One time, I decided to rest my eyes for a few minutes and lay my head on the table. Just for a minute. I woke up an hour later with the sound of a reel to reel tape that ran out, flapping its merry way to nowheres-ville. I woke and started the next tape lickety-split.
I was sure I’d be greeted by the program director the next morning with a bad news notice for screwing up. But the daytime crew came in and just went about their business. I never heard anything about it. Just lucky, I guess.
I kept that job for a few more years until the owners of the company realized they had never pulled a profit, so they fired everyone and set up a whole new station without that shitty-jazz.
And that was the end of my radio career.
AND NOW YOU KNOW!
Song in my head:
COMING NEXT: Visitor mail…Yes I actually got email with something other than great once in a lifetime deals or invitations to vist sweet Latvantia’s sexy website!