The Journey From The Fair To The Fourth Floor [50 Memories in 50 Days]
It’s amazing to me as we’ve been looking back over 50 years that I have been here at WOBM since spring of 1993. I’ll spare you the math by saying it’s almost 25 years. And I’ve been fortunate enough to be the current longest-tenured music show host, and the only one to have been here continuously through all of the ownership groups. If you’ve heard the expression, “May you live in interesting times”, that would certainly apply to my experience at WOBM.
I’ve mentioned before that WOBM came into my life when I was visiting the Ocean County Fair with my mother and grandparents, when the Fair was at Ocean County Park in Lakewood. A very young (2 or 3 years) WOBM was broadcasting from there, and it kick-started my interest in radio. I grew up in Union Township, but as the years went by, during the summers or on weekends in the fall or spring, I was always listening to stations on the Jersey Shore when I came down, including WOBM when I would visit Ocean County. And that didn’t stop during some summer jobs when I could take a radio with me, on top of the Moon Flume at Great Adventure, or the camera towers at Freehold Raceway. So after college and stints as a traffic reporter, and music host on other stations in New Jersey, I made it full circle to WOBM. Appropriately enough on my first show, my first “talk break” was over The Eagles’ “New Kid in Town”, and the following day had the thrill of engineering the last hour of Bob Levy’s “Topic A”.
I’ve been on Saturday mornings since around 1999, along with my time on “Saturday Night at the 70’s”, and there are so many things to remember. Certainly, the sad times, be they national or local. The days following 9/11, or Superstorm Sandy, or things that happened while we were on the air…like the morning the Columbia shuttle broke up on reentry, and more recently, the Seaside Park bombing. And the happy times which would certainly include the Toms River Little League victory, and the arrival of the BlueClaws to Lakewood. All of the festivals and parades we’ve been a part of (with one morning where we “led” a sing-along with the crowd at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Seaside with Bruce Springsteen’s live version of “Hungry Heart”). And of course, the snow days, and broadcasts from Seaside Park.
One more thing, if I may. I’ve always enjoyed getting the chance to meet our listeners, whether at street fairs, contest giveaways, or other events, and you’ve been awful nice to me. It’s always better when a broadcaster has an affinity and affection for where they work and the audience they serve. And whether you know it or not, you’ve helped me get through some rough times over the past few years (losing family members, and some health issues) by being able to walk into a studio and getting to talk to you and play some of your favorite music for a few hours. I can’t thank you enough for that.