The Radio Journey Of WOBM’s Kid Movie Critic [50 Memories in 50 Days]
Guest blog written by former WOBM weekend and fill-in DJ Joe Hyer
I owe my career to WOBM. That statement sounds a little dramatic, but it's totally true.
In fact, as my 28th birthday approaches, I realized that I have been a part of the WOBM family on and off for the past 16 years.
My radio “debut” came around the age of 12 (it was 2002) when WOBM’s morning show (Shawn & Lisa) offered me a chance to appear on-air every Monday morning for a weekly movie review segment. That opportunity came after "pestering" them a little bit with a series of phone calls and emails.
Every weekend, I would go to the movie theater, and then call in to review the movie on-air. It's Jersey, so I used my scientific Salt Water Taffy scale on some of the year's biggest movies like One Hour Photo and The Road to Perdition. I even reviewed some of the new fall TV shows that year.
How cool is that for an 11 year old? I was going to the movies, and staying up late to watch TV. Then I got to talk about it on the radio the next day?
By the way, I probably wasn't a great critic. I remember saying that Ellen's daytime TV show would fail. Here we are nearly 16 years later, and it's safe to say I was wrong.
Of course, that “gig” taught me a lot. It not only marked some of my first experiences in a professional setting, but also taught me how much I LOVED local radio.
Flash forward a full decade (and a college degree later), I got a full-time job working with WOBM's parent company, Townsquare Media.It was less than two weeks after graduation. In fact, the ink on my diploma had not even dried, and I was already working a full time job in radio.
In fact, I am convinced it was the story about my career starting at WOBM that sold the bosses on the idea of hiring me.
I was commuting from Ocean County to Townsquare’s corporate offices in New York City, and I even got to travel across the country to work with WOBM’s sister stations in places like Texarkana, AK; Buffalo, NY; and Rockford, IL. each week.
After three full years of working “behind the scenes,” something was missing. I got into radio because I LOVED the impact that this medium can have on the community. I knew I was doing important work with the company’s talent across the country, but I missed being front and center.
So I was INCREDIBLY lucky when Justin Louis approached me about a “crazy” idea he had back in 2015. As friends and colleagues, we always bounced ideas off each other, so this wasn’t out of character.
The station needed another weekend personality, and Justin joked via text message that I could be that person. I think he probably assumed I wouldn’t interested in working Saturdays given my crazy travel schedule each week.
I jumped at the chance to come “back” to WOBM. I was working in radio for three years, but I had not been able to crack a microphone at any point in that journey.
Thanks to Justin and Steve Ardolina, I was able to gain valuable experience on air EVERY Saturday for two full years. I’ve probably never told those guys how much that meant to me. When I cracked that mic the first week, I knew I had come "home."
Think about that: My FIRST commercial radio experience came on the same station that I was a kid movie critic on more than a decade earlier. That is UNHEARD of in this industry, and it speaks to the power that IS WOBM.
My time on-air with WOBM wrapped about a year ago, and I’ve since moved to Philadelphia. But I am still working in radio, and I am CERTAIN that it was my time on WOBM that led to my lifelong love of this incredible medium.
Happy Anniversary to MY Hometown Station!
Joe is currently a Digital Content Manager for one of the country's largest broadcasting companies.
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