Sunday, March 1, 2009

Rusty in 5.....

Every Saturday morning, my father would drive me 10 miles to Freeport at 5am. That was the only way I could get to WGBB, where I was the Saturday morning news announcer.

It was a pretty simple job and I loved it. First, I'd check the AP and UPI wire machines for national and regional news stories and the local weather. Then I'd check the morning edition of Newsday or the Long Island Press for coverage of local high school & college sports. I got the scores and then add my own descriptions like; Baldwin Smashed Great Neck 17-8, or Long Beach High squeaked by Rockville Center 6-5. I had 5 minutes twice an hour. The only thing they really showed me was how to rip the paper off the machines.

My next radio job came a few years later while I was going to University of Nebraska at Lincoln. I worked weekends as a DJ for the local country-western station, KECK-Proud Country. I knew nothing...nothing...about country music. But I knew how to run a board and had a good radio voice and delivery.

The program director selected the records to play. They were all color coded. Red songs in the first 15 minutes, Yellow songs in the 2nd segment and so on. A song would be playing on the first turntable, I was cuing up the second song and picking out the third song while reading over the ad copy. And we had to keep a live FCC log of everything we did. You really appreciate the value of 5 seconds when you're on live radio.

I had no idea of who these singers were, and almost got fired my very first day. I was on the air for about two hours when I saw a song that I liked, Drift Away. For some reason I thought it was the Dobie Gray version, but it wasn't.

I wish I had an air check for what happened next...
" It's 45 right now in downtown Lincoln, looks pretty clear for tonight so all you guys and gals headed out to the Circle Barn on L Street should have a great time. We've got more great country music for you right now on 1520 AM KECK-Proud Country Lincoln Nebraska with...

Drift Away...."

By Narvel Felts??????

I started to laugh really hard and couldn't stop. Live. On the Air! Narvel Felts? You've got to be kidding! What happened to Dobie Gray? I hit the button and the song started. And so did the calls. The first was from my boss. It went downhill from there, but thankfully I didn't get fired.

Later that year when KECK held their annual Proud Country Festivalat the Lincoln Arena, I meet Narvel Felts. Nice guy. Naturally I didn't mention a word about our 'first meeting'.

That night I had the pleasure of introducing a young 16 year old singer in one of her first appearances. She was nervous, and I stood backstage with her dad and sister.

The song was Delta Dawn, and the singer was Tanya Tucker.

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