Why I’m ‘Living The Dream’ In Radio
Whenever people here at the Townsquare Media complex ask me how I am doing, my normal response is, "Living the dream!" Whereas some people say that in a sarcastic tone at work, not me. I am, in fact, living my childhood dream to work in radio. That makes me a lucky guy! Let me tell you how it all started...
The year was 1987. I was a boy of 11, and my world was pretty much consumed with 11-year-old boy stuff. One warm and sunny day, my mom, dad, and I all went over to my eldest brother's house for a get together. When we got there, my brother, Brad, introduced us to a new friend of his that had moved in recently down the street from him. That man was Bobby Cook.
Bobby, then the morning guy on "Fun Radio Tux 99," and to me he was bigger than life...a local rock star. He was ON THE RADIO!! I didn't know then, but that meeting would fundamentally change my entire life path.
As time went on, Bobby and his family became part of my family. To me, he was still "Bobby Cook," but he was also a friend. Just a normal guy that had a super cool job. I wanted that. I felt that was something I could be a part of. What really solidified the tug to broadcasting was when Bobby asked me, "Hey, Little Gary (I'm a Jr.... that's what everyone in the family calls me), wanna come up to the studio and see what that's like?"
DO I?? Oh my GOD!! I was going to a real radio station and meet other radio people and see how the magic is made because MY friend, THE Bobby Cook was taking me. When we arrived at the old studios on Monkhouse, now an empty lot, I was awestruck. I had reached the Emerald City. THIS is where radio happens. I was fascinated by everything. I met The Real John Steele. I saw the broadcast booth filled with records and carts. I recorded my voice in the production studio for the very first time. I felt what it was like to be in radio. From that moment on...it's what I wanted to do.
I would play radio in my house by dragging my turntable from my bedroom into the living room. I'd plug a microphone into Mom and Dad's stereo so I could announce between songs. When mom and dad had friends over, I would supply the playlist, and my parents, usually Mom, would call the house phone from Dad's business line to "make requests" and I would dig through my parent's records to find it...
"This one goes out to Jody from Shreveport. It's Willie Nelson's 'On The Road Again' on KGRY!"
I was 12 years old, and already working phones like a pro.
And nearly 30 years later, here I am.
I will be forever grateful to Bobby Cook for giving me a taste of the greatest job I have ever had.
Thank You, Bobby... just wanted to let you know...
I'm still livin' the dream!