It was June 24, 1991. I’d been working at KDWB/K63 for a little over six months. It was my radio fix, of sorts; I got in maybe 24 hours a week, in and among my various nightclub gigs. It wasn’t much of a living – but, I thought, it at least kept my toe in the racket.
I was in the studio on a Monday morning, picking up some hours filling in for the guy who normally ran the show after “Harley Worthit”, the morning guy, got off the air.
It was exactly the most boring job I’d had in my radio career. I wasn’t a “disc jockey”; I was a “board operator” running satellite programming; my job was to sit in the booth, make sure the satellite didn’t go down (it was always fun when it did; I actually got to play real music from the studio. It happened maybe twice) and listen for the cues from the network to drop in local commeercials – and then return to the network. Hour in. Hour out.
It was pure distilled tedium.
It was not what I got into radio to do.
After four years of looking for another radio job…
…wait – four years? Was that possible?
No – it’d been more than four years of looking for a job in news or talk radio. A few nibbles, a couple of tugs on the line – but nothing. Other than sitting in the dank little control room at K63 and listening for commercial cues and turning pot knobs to keep the needles out of the red.
If it weren’t for the people that I got to hobnob with, and the thin thread to the goal that I held onto by just being in the building, and the people – well, it was hardly worth it, was it?
Around 11, one of them – Joe Hansen – walked into the studio. He was going to work the afternoon shift starting at noon – but he liked coming in early to hang out and shoot the breeze.
“Hey, man”, he said, as the smell of cigarettes permeated the room. “You hear they’re looking for an “executive producer at KSTP?”” Having worked at KSTP, I knew the job was really sort of a poor man’s “program director” gig, although Hubbard Broadcasting liked to call them “executive producers” to keep them from feeling too powerful.
But no, I answered. I had not.
I’d been out of talk radio for four years. In the eight years I had been in the business, I’d not come close to being management.
I was married, and had a stepson and a baby on the way in about six weeks.
Radio was not packing the gear as a way to feed a family.
But the idea of landing a job in the racket that would not only pay well enough to feed a family, but get me back into talk radio?
I went home and got out my typewriter and started cobbling together a resume and a cover letter that could make me look like management material.
And twenty years ago tomorrow, I addressed an 8.5×11 manila envelope to Ginny Morris, the general manager at KSTP, and dropped it in the mailbox.