A Quick History Lesson
This might be me rambling or it may be a well written piece… so bare with me.
When I was growing up I completely fell in love with the Howard Stern show. He was the syndicated morning show on 106.7 WJFK and I didn’t have much interest in talk radio, but I was a kid and someone said, “you shouldn’t be listening to this stuff.” So, of course, I listened every chance I could – even faking sick from school if a segment or guest was particularly interesting. My dad was really in to radio. He loved music and knew several of the owners WHFS, the disc jockeys (what a degrading name if you think about it) and would even take me to the studio. I was always fascinated by it and immediately loved it.
One summer I had a job that required me having to drive around most of the day. My radio never left 106.7 WJFK. I fell in love with talk radio. I rediscovered The Don and Mike Show. I was so obsessed with talk radio, that I would even listen to the G. Gordon Liddy show middays. A few years later I found a show that was syndicated from New York and replayed late nights on WJFK. It was the greatest radio show I’d ever heard. I listened EVERY single night no matter what. I listened for years and was so obsessed, that I considered moving to New York, not to work on the show, but just go be close to the show and it’s cast of characters. I just wanted to BE around that energy and that comedic genius. That show was the Ron and Fez Show. After a station flip in New York Ron and Fez moved their show to DC. I was one step closer to getting to be around their show and energy. Like my dad before me, I was now a radiophile… – a “guy talk” radiophile.
It was always a dream to work at WJFK. As a kid I thought that if I wasn’t a rockstar, I’d end up being a radio DJ. I even would practice in the basement with my dad’s mixer, cd players and even turntables. Once I found Howard Stern, Don and Mike and Ron and Fez, it switched to working on a talk show -whether I was a writer, producer or host. I didn’t care. I just NEEDED to be there. I didn’t know how I would get a job at WJFK, but I was determined to find a way. One Saturday night I heard El Jefe and J-Dubs on “El Jefe’s Hideout” and I liked the show. Through a series of events, right place, right time, right work ethic etc, and the urging of El Jefe to the Operations Manager, I got hired at WJFK and worked on The Hideout, Ron and Fez and even a little on the Don and Mike show.
After meeting Alex “Chunks” Corolla, the show was laid off (coincidence?) and relocated to Orlando, FL. We were hired by WTKS Real Radio 104.1. I didn’t know much about the station. All I knew was it was a talk radio station. There we got to work with the Monsters in the Morning and the legendary Philips Phile. These shows were a bit different than the Hideout. They didn’t have the degradation, stunts or general “filth.” I liked the shows, but I wasn’t a diehard fan like I was with Stern, Don and Mike and Ron & Fez. We all walked in there thinking we knew what was “good” talk radio. We were from DC and that was close to the NY style of radio. We were going to show everyone there how awesome and talented we were. Well it didn’t work out that way. But it was a blessing for Alex and myself. I went on to better things in radio both in front and behind the mic.
One of the best things about working at WTKS, was the people. Jack Bradshaw, Daniel Dennis and Drunky (aka A Mediocre Time With Tom and Dan), Oddo and a ton of other talented radio people. I have learned a lot from them. Not only how to do a show, how to be entertaining, but how to treat people on and off air.
After getting laid off in Orlando, I ended up back working for Real Radio in the internet department. There I met one of my best friends, Dickerman. He and I ended up doing The Last Resort on 101.1 WJRR and it was the best time I’d ever had doing radio. He was my best friend (we still have never had an argument) and there was no pressure to embarrass myself or do stunts. It was a highly rated show, but unfortunately, I was again a victim of budget cuts. I moved back to DC to for better employment opportunities, but that need to create and be funny has never left me.
To be continued…
– Tommy Bateman