I Never Thought The Day Would Come
I never got into radio to make money. At least, not at first. I was still in High School when I started my career as a mobile DJ. Yeah, doing weddings and school dances and all that shit. When some idiot told me, at age 18, I should move from Eau Claire, WI to the (darling) state capitol of Madison, I was ALL IN.
I had just successfully NOT completed graduating early and entering the Marine Corps. USMC gave me an extension to leave for boot at the end of the year but I was too busy not going to class, living on my own with my Navy bound cousin, Josh, and his girlfriend to really give any fucks about recommitting to the service. (Regret 1,324) I was a committed POOLIE, was in the DEP for a full year, took the ASVAP, but got torn between a three month ass kicking for the good, or a lifetime of being a fuck-up for the worse. I clearly chose being a fuck up.
Once I was asked NOT to come back to North High School because I had missed the better part of two months of school my senior year, I figured I’d better put the Mickey’s down and at the VERY least, graduate from High School. (Thank you Matt and CVTC)
And we’re back to the offer, Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, it’s off to Madison you go. Words sprung from my mobile DJ manager at their offices in (beautiful) downtown La Crosse, WI. And off I went. 18 years old. My own broom closet office inside of a radio building on Fish Hatchery Road in the State’s Capitol! I was big time. Big time FUCKED!
Wait, let’s trim this shit. Managing a company that DJ’s weddings in a major city is NOT the job for and 18 year old dude.
Bride: “Do NOT play (insert song here)”
Me: “So, no polka?”
Bride: “No fucking polka!”
Me: “Even if your grandpar…”
Bride: “NO POLKA!”
Me: “Go it”
Only to arrive with a Grandparent (bride’s) demanding I play the “God Damn Beer Barrel Polka” or I was in danger of loosing control of my faculties.
And to manage other people on top of that. Yeah.. Fuck that noise. So I made a friend or two in the building who were on air people. Superstars, you may call them. Whirl wind took me from playing, “You Shook Me (All Night Long)” for a bunch of drunk, mistake prone bridesmaids, to playing, “You Shook Me (All Night Long)” on the gottt-dammm FM dial!
After a late night thunderstorm, and the death of my beloved Grandfather, I returned to the Greater Chippewa Valley area for a fresh start and another chance to grab a microphone.
So I was selling shoes at JC FUCKING Penney… when my Grandma came into my department with a Newspaper clipping. (That’s how we used to get our news and information, kids) It was an opening at Country POWERHOUSE, WAXX 104.5. Part Time overnights on the station who’s tower was the highest landmark East of the Mississippi.
Flash through.. One year on Overnights on WAXX, over to, at the time, flame throwin’, I-94, then on to the completely fuckin’ wild ride of 99.9 The Carp! (Fish fans, unite!) Company changes hands. The Carp is slaughtered, I end up surviving the onslaught and moving to, Classic Rock, 92.9, The BIG Cheese. (Shoot me fucking now.. I thought)
With Program Director stripes now added to my ratty suit of trophies, I started to develop my keen abilities to push things forward. Slipping in new music from Godsmack next to the ol’ WINGER track. We created a hybrid Classic Rock station. Which got its ASS kicked by the heritage Classic Rock station on a pretty well documented consistent basis.
Then.. the moment.. a company that truly believed in the ACTIVE ROCK format purchased us. Created from my mind was.. 92.9 The X. We did some amazing shit. We brought rock back to the Chippewa Valley. Listeners were able to discover new rock music and many of those bands interwove themselves into the fabric of our station.
We built something special. It had heart. It had drive. It did not fear anything. We created Project X which created more than $100,000 in donations to local Charities. We developed an unbreakable relationship with Rock Fest, the ONLY rock festival worth it’s balls in the country.
Five years we did amazing shit…. And we built bigger… then…
I got “the text”
“You in the building?”
Just went to grab lunch. Back in a few”
“Ok stop off here when you get back please. thanks”
Fired. No reason. “We need to make a change.” That’s what I got.
When you devote your life and talent and energy to one thing for nearly 20 years, this comes to you as a very big surprise.
Then.. you take a few days. You drink all the beers. Your wife gives you some shots of brown liquor. Then you figure shit out. Mostly that you have the best wife ever. (and she didn’t even pay me to say that shit)
It’s time to close the book. And open a new…
I never thought the day would come..