From Listener To Employee: My WOBM Story [50 Memories in 50 Days]
Much like other students growing up in Ocean County, 92.7 WOBM meant one thing to me: school closings!
Of course, the world was a different place in the 90's and there were no text alerts or other digital notifications as soon as schools made their decisions regarding inclement weather. There was only one source for that, and it happened to be Ocean County's Hometown Station.
As every impending snowstorm approached our area, I'd be glued to the radio awaiting those four magical words: "Manchester Township schools... CLOSED". I remember that anxious feeling as the announcer went through the "L" schools: Lacey, Lakewood... how could there be so many schools that begin with "L" I would think to myself as the list inched closer and closer to the only school district that mattered in my mind: Manchester.
Finally, the time had come and it was do or die: Manchester School district... there was always a slight pause, a tease for the thousands of students, parents, and teachers waiting for the verdict. The word that followed "district" would have a profound impact on all those listening, particularly the students who would either be lifted to a state of pure ecstasy or left in complete and utter despair.
If the results were what I wanted to hear, I would sometimes listen to the entire closings segment again just to relive the glory, laugh at those districts that were still open or in a state of delayed opening purgatory, and revel in thoughts of what my day of freedom would bring. If the decision hadn't gone my way, I'd listen again in the hopes that perhaps the next go around would favor my needs, but alas, most of the decisions were final and I'd slowly & sadly get dressed and prepare for the drudgery of another school day, wondering what could have been if only the cards fell my way.
That little bit of school closing magic still leaves me feeling nostalgic, and it's amazing to think that 20 some odd years later, I'm the guy getting the word out about the area closings. As Digital Managing Editor for 92.7 WOBM, I'm now the guy responsible for much of what you see (and don't see) on WOBM.com. Of course, it's no surprise that one of our most popular features is Ocean County Stormwatch: your most up to date source for closings & cancellations whenever severe weather hits. I have the pleasure of watching in real-time as schools make their decisions, and as students, teachers, and parents find out what their school settled on. From a young student just trying to get a day off to an editor trying to keep his audience informed, it's still one of my favorite things that 92.7 WOBM offers.
Though we cover all things Ocean County related and in the grand scheme of things snow can sometimes be a trivial news story, I'm still happy to provide just a little bit of magic for those children looking for a Hail Mary every winter day, and seeing that magical word next to their school district: "Closed".
Remember, the next time severe weather hits, keep it with Ocean County Stormwatch!