Fifteen years ago when I first moved from Pennsylvania to Kentucky one of the first jobs I got was working on weekends at a local FM radio station. It was called "The Gator."
I worked a 4 hour on-air DJ shift on Saturday and Sunday. It was my 4th job in radio but the first time I was ever on an FM station.
While working there I met and became friends with a co-worker named Tony Rose. We had a lot of the same interests. Tops among them were professional wrestling and major league baseball. He was a Reds fan.
I worked at "The Gator" until August 2000. While I was still there, Tony teamed up with a guy named Drew, to host a show called "Live & Local."
It featured lots of interaction with their listeners who called in on the phone or stopped by the studio. (this was before the days of Facebook and Twitter) They also had many of the local bands come into the studio to be interviewed and play live.
The show became very popular and still was for a while after I left the station.
I lost touch with Tony until a couple of years ago. I met up with him again at the "stuff the bus" event.
It's an annual event Tony created. During one of the last weeks in July he spends 4 or 5 days living on a school bus parked along Campbell Lane in Bowling Green and asks the public to donate enough school supplies to fill that bus.
Each year I started dropping by to say "hi" to Tony and make a donation. He would always be glad to see me and would invite me to come by his new radio gig (he started working at a new station in town about the mid 2000s) to see how things worked and get the "nickle tour".
While I always intended to take him up on his offer I didn't. The reason was because his new shift was during morning drive time (6-9 am). I am not a morning person.
I stopped by "Stuff The Bus," once again, this past July. The event has gotten bigger than it has ever been and Tony didn't have a whole lot of time to talk with me. Nevertheless it was as if we had never missed a beat from the last time I saw him. He invited me to his show again.
I told would make sure I got there this year and would send him a Facebook message to arrange a good time to come in for a visit.
The last Tuesday of August I finally kept my promise and went to visit Tony in the morning while he was working on his show.
It's appropriately called "Tony Rose Live" and airs on what can for all intents and purposes be called the local "oldies" station, Sam 100.7FM.
The show is unique in that it engages listeners and fans on several platforms. Of course over the radio but also on Facebook, Twitter, and on the station's website:
We Love Sam Radio
What's unique about the show is that there's an in-studio webcam that provides a visual feed to the internet via a website called "U Stream." You can see select videos of the show through the website listed above. Here's what the view from the webcam looks like.
I went to the station for the first time on that August morning just expecting to sit and observe Tony and his guests. As the show went on, much to my surprise, I became part of the show. Providing feedback and interacting with Tony and the topics he was discussing.
Later that day I saw myself on the videos online. I'm not going to give specific links to those videos but, again, if you follow the link above you can find me. Just look for videos from August 26, September 2nd & 9th.
I had such a great time with Tony that first morning that I went back the next week. And as I mentioned in yesterday's post, I went and spent the morning with Tony on my birthday.
Tony is a really nice guy and is very gracious to allow me to be a part of his show. While I have already offered my "razor sharp" wit to help make his show better; as I get more comfortable being in the studio I may try and enhance his show even more by offering some of my other "talents."
I've already told him I am a ventriloquist and about the magic drawing board I have. If I get real brave I may even attempt to take my ukulele with me one morning.
If you listen to Tony's show or watch any of his videos you will see that he is in the business of allowing people or promote their events on the air as well as chatting with them as friends. That's what makes his show entertaining.
Tony's a long time friend; something that outside of my church family is rarity for me here in Kentucky. The success he's had in the radio market in this area makes me proud to say that. He's also a great guy.
I have been out of the radio business for more than 14 years now. I have no delusions that I could ever get back in. But radio is still in my blood, as it has been all my life.
Getting back behind the microphone has been a lot of fun and very rewarding. Even if I never get back to the studio with Tony again, I will always treasure getting the chance to return to radio one more time.