Good Lord, where do I start? October 1, 1975 – 12:02am…I popped out! Fairly typical childhood. I watched a LOT of television. “Remote Control” on MTV was my favorite. However, by the time I was 12 or 13, I started paying more attention to the radio. I always thought it would be SO cool to be a DJ! Not only can they play whatever songs they want (how foolish I was), but they get calls from all these people who want to talk to them! They’re CELEBRITIES! (Seriously foolish.)
Sometime in late ’88, I started making these “fake radio shows” in my bedroom. I had gotten a dual-cassette/radio for Christmas in ’85. THAT was my studio! I’d record music off the radio, cutting out the jingles, commercials, and DJ’s. I didn’t own a microphone, so I plugged a pair of little Sony Walkman earphones into the MIC jack. (Hard to believe, but it works! Sounds like sh*t, but it WORKS!) Then, I’d play the music tape in one deck, and record with the other deck. All the while, I was doing my little show. My original radio name was “Dennis T. Evans.” (That doesn’t sound TOO made up, does it?) At the time, I thought these radio tapes were the best thing on Earth! I was soooooo damned good. Well, I just found one of those tapes dated 8/89. There are LOTS of words I could use to describe it, and “good” sure as hell ain’t one of them. BUT, it was a way to do what I was beginning to love, and I DID improve with time. I even picked up a partner! My school buddy Steve and I teamed up to do the “Dennis & Eric Show.” (Steve used a fake name, too. Don’t all DJ’s do that???)
By 1990, I realized there wasn’t much more I could teach myself, so it was time to get some REAL experience. Now, Reading PA was HARDLY a major, large, or even a medium market. In the city (where I could access, since I was only 15 and could not drive), we had 2 FM stations, and 3 AM’s. The biggest station was Y102. They were Top 40 (or so they tried to tell us), and had been #1 since 1982. I forget the exact words I got from their program director, but it was something like, “Go away kid, you’re bothering me.” So, I tried the OTHER FM station, “Mix 107.5.” They were Adult Contemporary, and had only been on the air for about 11 months. “Come on up…let’s talk!” I hopped on a bus, went up to the station, and pretty much BEGGED. I explained my interest. I told him about the tapes I made. I even played one for him! He told me he couldn’t hire me, due to child labor laws. Well, I didn’t care about money! I just wanted to BE there! So I asked him to let me run errands, hang out, and LEARN. No payment needed. He agreed 🙂
Eventually, they DID pay me. And I DID learn…A LOT. Over the last 25 years, I’ve learned A LOT at about 30 radio stations! From Pennsylvania to New Jersey to South Carolina to North Carolina to Virginia to Delaware, back to Pennsylvania, onto Illinois, down to Indy, briefly in Texas, under the sun in Florida, onto our nation’s capital, out to the desert in Phoenix and eventually BACK here in Chicago…I got to play DJ, and even get paid! I’ve been a DJ in every shift. I’ve held a LOT of positions off-air, too. I’ve been a program director, assistant program director, music director, imaging director, and commercial production director. I’ve been VERY lucky to have worked with MANY extremely creative people. It’s been quite a ride!