It’s been 5 months since I made the decision to leave my comfort zone and what I had known professionally for 10yrs, & change not only radio stations, but time slots as well.
Over those past five months the question I get asked most is “Gary can you let the dogs out?” Which of course the answer is “Yes Dear”
But the question I get asked the most in public is, “Why the change?”
The answer “They made me an offer I couldn’t refuse”
I realize it’s kind of a generic answer, but it’s true.
Ever since I was a child I LOVED radio. I was THE annoying kid calling radio stations winning contests, & pestering the DJ’s. I always wanted to be the DJ who “played the cool music in the morning.” Starting when I was 17, that’s what I worked toward. Becoming an intern at ROCK 107 while still in High School. Getting My 1st live air shift when I was 18, and getting my 1st full time radio job at 19. Doing 7-Midnight and becoming Promotions Director.
I left radio to start my young family & became a salesman. 1st cell phones, then cars, then yellow pages. (yes that’s how old I am)
I was providing for my family, but I was just unhappy. So I picked up a part-time weekend shift at ROCK 107 to help scratch that itch. That’s where I met Frank McBride. After a few months, Frank called me and said that management was giving him his own morning show, & that he’d like for me to be his on-air sidekick. It was classic rock, but it was mornings. So I left my full-time sales job & took a pretty hefty pay-cut to have a career in something that I truly love.
“Frank McBride & The Big Show” lasted about 5 years. In that time, I learned more about the business & about life than in any other time in my career. I miss Frank & think of him often.
When Frank was let go, I jumped to the station that played the new music, where I started as Promotions Director and was on midday (10am-2pm). Within 6 months, I was bumped to Morning Drive, & “Big Poppa In The Morning” was born.
For the next ten years, I hustled. I pushed myself physically, mentally & emotionally. Honoring station events, watching my mobile DJ business flourish, & still be on point every weekday starting at 6am. But I was ok because I was doing what I had always wanted to do. “Be the Morning DJ playing the cool new music”
A few years ago, I felt myself becoming complacent, losing touch with the younger end of the demo, feeling “too old” for the format. So we decided to add a sidekick! The sidekick search revitalized me! I was teaching and learning all at the same time! It was some of the most fun I had on the radio during my entire career.
But when you burn the candle at both ends for too long, your body starts to break down. Unfortunately that was beginning to happen. Between post concussion syndrome & a major gallbladder problem, keeping up the late night weekend DJ gigs, & early morning radio was becoming harder & harder to do.
So when the opportunity to help a station grow, have a daily/weekly schedule that lets me take care of my body better, & talk to an audience that I have more in common with. It was a no brainer.
So now we have “Big Poppa In The Afternoon on MIX 102.5”
Over the last 23yrs in this business, I’ve have been EXTREMELY blessed to have had the opportunities to be apart of special events, meet & interview some of the most celebrated/notorious people, and have had experiences that I have never dreamed were possible. Thank You CNY for giving me the honor to do what I love for a living, & cheers to the future & all that it holds!