Friday, December 13, 2019
Mid December, 1979, 40 years ago. It was my first time on the radio.
Way back when, my Marywood College radio station, WVMW 91.5, was a 12 hour a day, ten watt operation. There were a few times a year when we would do "Rock Weekends." We would be 24/7 for three days straight.
A Rock Weekend was set for mid December. The Communication Arts department was fairly large in those days. There were more than enough bodies to keep the place running 12 hours a day, seven days a week. They needed some extra help for that Rock Weekend, but there was a problem, as I saw it. First semester freshman were not allowed on the air. It was a good policy. You had to learn something about radio in general first, and the station in particular.
There was an opening for a 2:30 AM Sunday morning shift. Don't ask me how I did it. Schmoozing has never been one of my strong points, but I am a nice guy. I went to station management and made my case. They were desperate enough to say "yes."
First song: "The Stranger" by Billy Joel. That was also my last song when my college radio days came to an end in January of 1983.
I'll be blunt. I was awful. Radio is not as easy as it looks. You think you have it all planned out in your head, but it's a different world when you open the microphone.
As the months wore on, confidence gained, skills acquired. I likely talked way too much during my college radio days. There were times the WVMW sounded more like an AM full service station rather than an FM album rocker. The way I looked at it, I was there to learn. Anyone can play record after record. It's what you do when the microphone is open that really counts. Management was rather loose in those days. It's a good thing. We had the freedom to develop, experiment, find ourselves.
The station has changed quite a bit over the years. It's in a new building. Great facility. Not much live programming, and I'm not going to drone on about that again.
I just consider myself exceptionally lucky to have what I had, and when I had it.