I guess it all really started at an early age and If I had to credit anyone for pointing me in the direction of radio it would be my mom. She was the one who bought me my first Mr. Microphone when I was but a child. I loved to talk. I would goof off in school as many in radio did but I didn't do it to the point of distraction, Just to the point of amusement.
Fast forward to my senior year of high school. My life consisted of snowmobile racing, Cars and fishing. Pepper that in with working for my dads construction company and I was king of the world. At least till I had an epiphany. Working outside on Chicago's buildings when it was 100 degrees and a almost cutting off my hand after a night of too little sleep, and it didn't take long to figure out this wasn't a job I wanted to do all my life.
So off to college I went, My mom and dad had friend in Scottsdale Arizona so it was only natural that I tried my hand at Arizona State. That was brilliant plan. Why in the world my folks would set me loose in the desert southwest is still a mystery to me. For the most part these people were successful smart parents, until this move! I was at ASU for three months before I made my way to Colorado. I Spent the next semester on the Eldora ski slopes learning the craft of barely getting bye.
After I ran out of money I made my way back home to Chicago and the local community college and back to work part time in construction, Exactly what I didn't want to do.
It was clearly time to reset, and refocus, The best way for me to do this was spring break. Nothing like endless cases of cheep Keystone light to help a college kid get on track, My friend Bobby French and I were set free in Daytona Beach, It was really something to see local radio and club D.J,s hosting beer party's. It was debauchery at its finest. And they got paid!
This next part is how Radio finally became the clear choice for my next endeavor.
My friend and I were awaiting a big party at Pendrods Plaza in Daytona, It was a spring break party sponsored by Budweiser, the only problem with this epic party was the D.J. that was suppose to host the event didn't show up. There was no one to host the silly contests that make up a MTV type mid 80s party. That's when I offered my services and stepped in.
I hosted that party for Budweiser and Penrods for the next 2 weeks.
When I came back to Chicago, again to a set of unhappy parents my mom said "Ever think about radio"? a trip to 600 south Michigan Av to Columbia college in Chicago and I was ready to be the next Jonathon Brandmeier .
I recall the teachers (who were all in Chicago radio) saying you need to pay your dues and get an internship, So after the first day of school I set up a meeting at 107.9 WAUR in Aurora in Chicago's burbs.
This is where the aforementioned Car came into play, I was getting out of my car, a sweet 87 mustang Gt convertible. As fate would have it the program Director was getting out of his car in the station parking lot, He introduced himself to me and said " I could use that car for a parade" I then said " I could use a job on your radio station"
He used my car and after a few months of Interning I was on the air! That was 1987 that started a career that has kept me in Chicago radio for over 25 years. That PD was Bruce Summers, He and I share a friendship to this day.
I may have been a little crazy and unfocused, and I know I wasted too much time and money on my youth, But that cool car got me that first gig!