Radio Friends – From the Listener Side

radio-station-microphone-640

Shelley asked the question earlier regarding radio listeners who have become “true” friends. She wanted to know how something like this evolves.

I would have to say as I look at my Facebook friends list, I can see that many friends are connected to me via radio in some way, shape, or form. Maybe the friend is a former co-worker, maybe they are a record rep that I worked with in the past, some friends are actual artists, and some are listeners.

As far as answering how the friendship “evolved”, I would say that it evolves like any other friendship – over time. In that time, there are conversations, discussions, getting together, and hanging out.

Going back to my first job at WKSG, I have some friends who remain good friends to this day. I worked overnights – so did these people. We spent a lot of time chatting on the phone, getting to know each other, and eventually meeting face to face.

WKSG

“Lee from Bloomfield” called often and was one funny guy. He was quick witted and always seemed to have an off the wall question that was made funnier by his deadpan delivery. We were all request, and I remember him asking for “Grady Martin and the Slew Foot Five” during one call – turns out, they were the band who played the instrumental music bed that played while the happy birthday wishes scrolled on the screen on Channel 20! “Hey, Keith, can I borrow 28 hundred dollars?” he asked me one night. I’m sure he probably gave me some ridiculous reason for it, which I cannot remember now, but I’ll never forget that. Over the years, we’ve stayed in touch, golfed together, worked on cars together, and remain good friends.

“Gary from Allen Park” was another one who called nightly. He worked in downtown Detroit and always asked for some obscure song each night. The one he asked for more than once was Penetration by Pyramids. It was a cheesy surf instrumental and I eventually played it for him. Gary was kind of a “jack of all trades”, and what I mean by that is he even did some acting. He once played the role of the “commercial department” in a phone conversation with a regular listener, Joe Crawley (I could write a book about him, and probably will!). Gary’s brother, Denis, was a very talented artist and created the logo for my DJ Business, and for our high school alumni band. While we don’t talk all the time, we are connected on Facebook, and we remind each other of Frankie Valli’s birthday every year … which is a long story in itself.

“Dawn from Detroit” is a life long friend. She would call, and sometimes fax (yeah, it was the late 80’s), her request for Tommy Roe’s Sweet Pea. She was also a midnight worker who spent time with us on the phone. (If you haven’t guessed, we often connected three or four lines and we all talked to each other.) She is not on Facebook, so our friendship continues with phone calls and cards in the mail. She has never forgotten my birthday, and I have never forgotten hers (that’s without Facebook reminding us). She still signs her cards with a smiley face and the words “Remember to smile – it might be contagious”.

When she heard we were having a benefit spaghetti dinner for Dante’ to raise money for his autism therapy, she contacted a friend who supplied 4 or 5 HUGE antipasto salads for the event. She lived about an hour away from where the benefit was being held, and she drove them out to us. She’s always been that way, so kind and caring. She’s got one of the cutest boys, who is the apple of his mother’s eye.

“Vic the Dep” was another Kiss-FM listener. When he called the station, we got to talking and he told me that he was actually the guy who sang lead on The Tymes classic “So Much In Love”. It’s been awhile and my memory is fading, but I want to say that he was drafted right after the song was recorded and he wasn’t on any of their other songs. I am probably wrong, so Vic, jog my memory, Pal!

When he called me he was a Deputy for one of the county jails. He was also a third shifter and we talked a lot. He used to live in New York, and the topic turned to Soupy Sales. I am a big Soupy fan, and when Soupy came to town, we went to the show together. Vic stopped and passed his card to one of the venue staff on which he wrote a note to Soupy. Next thing I know, I am standing in the dressing room with Vic, and one of the funniest guys ever – Soupy! There were no cellphone cameras back then, so there is no photograph of the event, but shaking his hand and hearing him tell great stories is a memory I will never forget – and it’s all because of Vic.

“Roxanne from Algonac” and I were destined to become friends. I could be wrong, but I think I was talking about the Three Stooges on the air one night. I had mentioned that the Stooges were a “guy thing”. She called and told me that she was a Stooge fan! (At least that is how I remember it). I know that whenever we talked we’d throw Stooges lines at each other all the time and laugh like hell. Among the other things we laughed at were Elvis songs, verbal nonsense words, and the latest Joe Crawley story.

Roxanne and I have been friends since the Kiss-FM days and we try to grab a drink whenever she is in town. She’s a runner and she always reminds me of how out of shape I am each day with her bragging about how far she ran – often accompanied with a map!

Ann is another friend from the Kiss-FM days.  She worked in the hotel field when I first met her.  Faxing your requests were a big deal back then, so we’d get faxes from her all the time.  Over time, faxes became a way for her to interact with the show as she’d respond to whatever topic we were talking about on the air.  The fax machine also became a way for her to send silly pictures and such as well.

Ann and I first met when she and a friend decided to bring donuts up to Paul Christy on a Saturday.  Back before the days of voice tracking (which is all done on computer now), Paul and Damone would go into the production room after the show on Friday and lay down “voice tracks” on a reel to reel tape for the following day.  All the intros to songs and bits they did on air were played back from this tape.  Three times an hour, they would toss it to me.  I would then give weather info, lottery numbers, and sports info live.  Paul was so good, that they assumed he was live in the studio and brought up the treats.

I ended up giving her and her friend a tour of the station and studio and we’ve been friends ever since.  She’s moved away and now lives in another country, but we still keep in touch through the wonders of Facebook and the internet.  I think she’s raising chickens, kangaroos, raccoons or alpacas or something now.

WMXD

“Tracy from Melvindale” often called up with her girlfriend Effie. I don’t remember if there was a particular song she would ask for, I just remember that we laughed a lot on the phone. Sometimes, Joe Crawley would call up and she’d listen in. This led to many conversations about stuff that happened on the phone at WKSG. Tracy came up to the studio and hung out a few times and she has always been a great friend. She was one of the first recipients of a CD with recorded bits from WKSG.

WHND

“Sandy from Hazel Park” and I became friends not while I was at Honey Radio, but as I left it. You see, while I Honey, I often made the bold statement that I was “President of the Dean Martin Fan Club”. When Honey went off the air, I received a package in the mail with a note. In the package were a video tape and a membership to the REAL Dean Martin Fan Club. The note read, “I thought you might want to be a member of the Fan Club you claim to be president of”. The video was of a special that aired on NBC called The Best of Dean. It was loaded with sketches from Dean’s variety show, many of which I had never seen before! It gave me such a deeper respect for his work.

We met shortly after that and discussed other things we had in common. She was involved with the Redford Theater in some capacity and told me about a Three Stooges Festival. When I was there, she gave me the grand tour and I got to see the various rooms where the pipe organ stuff was, and backstage. They were renovating at the time, and it has since become more beautiful than ever. I try to get to the Stooges Festivals and some of the other classic movie showings that they have there whenever possible.

Oh, and I owe Sandy a thanks for helping me get a gig. Right after Honey went off the air, she passed along some info on a job at EDS, where I ended up working for a few years and meeting many other great friends.

WWWW

While working part time at W4 Country, I had the chance to meet many people. As a weekender, there were times that I would be broadcasting on location from the Auto Show, or the Downtown Hoedown.

Jennifer and her friend came to see me when I was broadcasting live from somewhere – maybe a fair I think. They were almost always together. I know they visited me at the station a couple times too. Jennifer was always smiling. I know they took pictures with me and Michael J at an event and they signed them and sent them to us at the station. Not often the DJ gets autographed pictures from listeners, but it was cool (and probably worth more money than my autograph). She and I still talk on a regular basis. She’s one of the hardest working gals I know, and she has wonderful daughters who she brags about on Facebook all the time. I am so happy to have her friendship.

Maria was also a W4 listener. We talked on the phone a lot and talked about music, food, and life in general. We must have been talking about Italian food because on day she came up to the station and brought a big casserole of homemade lasagna. It was delicious and I think I shared it with whoever followed me on the air that day (even though I could have eaten the whole thing myself). She has some amazing children who she also brags about online and she has one of the best smiles!

WFBE

I would have to say that while I do have friends from my older stations, I think I have made more listener friends from WFBE and WCEN. I was full time at these stations and I was often out and about doing appearances all the time. Now, if I don’t happen to mention you, please don’t be offended. This blog is long enough. Perhaps you can comment and tell me YOUR favorite memory.

Many of these listeners I remember because of request shows or contests.

“Mindy from Davison” and I talked many times and often talked about religion and Bible stuff. Recently, I DJ’d for her class reunion and finally got to shake hands with her husband, Eric. She’s an exercise buff, and is constantly working out. I wouldn’t want to get in a fight with her – her muscles are bigger than mine! They are great friends and have a wonderful family.

“Fawn” I remember from both request shows and contests. How can you not remember the name Fawn? I probably called her Dawn at first… I know we used to do a lot with the Flint Generals and I’d often see her at games, too. Whenever I asked some question about something I couldn’t figure out, she’d often call with a suggestion.

“Don and Beth” I will forever remember from our B-95 bowling league. Don and I often made wagers on who could bowl better and I usually lost. Beth, incidentally, often bowled better than me too. Bowling night on that league was always fun because of folks like them, Dave and Angie. Good times!

“Juli” was another listener who I got to know over the phone and when she and her boyfriend (now husband) would come by the station. Juli was another who talked often about faith, but also about music. She often posts some great inspirational quotes exactly when I need them. Probably a coincidence, but its true.

Four listeners in particular stand out a bit from WFBE: Pat, Julie, Frank, and Vicky.

I first want to mention Pat. I always knew her as Pat, though almost everyone else called her Trish. Trish was the biggest Alabama fan. She LOVED Randy Owen. She would often call and tell me she was Mrs. Randy Owen, and say that her “husband wants to hear one of his songs”, etc. She was also a HUGE Elvis fan and she couldn’t wait to tell me about her visit to Graceland. She made me laugh all the time. She became a wonderful friend.

I used to do an Impossible Question every night. I remember she tried to win every night. Every 4th or 5th call was Pat with a guess. If someone got the answer before she did, she would call back and say “that was what I was gonna say next!” One night she won. She said, “I won?! OH MY GOD, I WON!!! I CAN’T BELIEVE IT!!!” and laughed and cried through the rest of the call. It was priceless! I used that audio as a “stunt winner”. If someone won a prize and wasn’t excited about it, I’d say “Bring in the stunt winner” and play that audio.

She would drop by the station with her kids often and just come by to shoot the breeze. She was such a wonderful woman. She spoke highly of her sons and bragged about her grandchildren throughout the last phone conversations we had. Her life was cut short all too soon. Her boys are still friends with me on Facebook and I think of her often. She is missed.

Julie, Frank, and Vicky all became friends with me because of our St. Jude Radiothons. You see every year we did a radiothon to raise money to find a cure for childhood cancer. Julie and Frank brought their daughter Allyson to the event to chat with us, and Vicky brought her son, Kyle (I just recently found some pictures of that event and need to post them). Kyle is doing well and I love when Vicky posts pics of him on her FB page. He’s not that little boy I remember from that first radiothon anymore.

Those kids made such an impact on me. I DJ’d Allyson’s 21st birthday party. I often ran into her at hockey games. She called me all the time and always said “I love you, Uncle Keith”. I was heartbroken when she passed away. She touched SO many lives. She was friends with just about everyone! I remember she told me that Kid Rock gave her his cell number and that they talked all the time! She had the kindest heart. She gave love so freely, and she was a beacon of light in this dark world. I still am in contact with her folks and for that I am grateful.

WCEN

The Moose covers 27 counties in Michigan. It has a MONSTER signal! Needless to say, our appearances were just about everywhere. It was not odd to drive an hour and a half to appear at a boat place on a Saturday. Some of those friends are mentioned here:

Shelley – who is responsible for this incredibly LONG blog. What can I say about her? It was always great to talk on the phone to her and see her at shows. Today, it’s fun to watch her exchange jabs with Scott Bradley and Jodi K on Facebook. LOL – it’s something I miss about not being at the Moose personally for this.

Deatta – The first and ONLY listener I have met with this first name. Dee was a talker – and still is. She had all kinds of stories all the time. She always made me laugh with her 100% true stories that never seem possible, but always happen to her. I had the honor of DJing her wedding. Through her, I have also had the pleasure of becoming friends with some of her family members too. She reminds me of how old I am every time she posts a picture of her boy, Mason. I still picture him as a preschool boy, but he’s growing up fast!

Kortney got my attention when she said she played football! When they had a story on CNN about the gal who was playing High School Football recently and were making a big deal about it, I thought, “Hell, Kortney, did that years ago!” While she was in school, she had to do a photostory for a class. She had to take 100-200 pictures of something and then narrow it down to 10 or 12 to tell a story. She asked if she could shadow me for a day at the station for this project. The day she came in, Dante’ was there with me. She shot some of my favorite pictures of me and him. I think she got an A on that assignment and I was honored to have a hand in that….even if it was just mugging for the camera.

Tonya was also a friend I met through the Moose. I remember when I was blogging on My Space (LOL), we were friends on their too. She was a big supporter when I decided to go back to college, and she is now back in school herself. I always get a chuckle when she posts about homework assignments. She had some class she was taking not too long ago about movies. Where were these classes when I was in school?!?! I would totally LOVE those classes, and here she was talking about how much she hated the assignments…

Jen. One of the most amazing friends I met through the Moose was totally unexpected. I received a call one day from a woman who told me that her daughter was a big Reba McEntire fan. She was dealing with some health issues and she was feeling down. Her mom had bought tickets to the show but wondered if there was any way to get her back to meet Reba. I made some calls and made the arrangements. It was a total surprise and needless to say, she was speechless. She was able to meet her hero and get a picture with her.

She sent me the most wonderful thank you card. She included a copy of the picture and told me how it changed her life. She has told me that she will never forget that day. I was glad that I had a small hand in making it happen. She still has her ups and downs, and is always in contact, whether by phone, or by sending a card in the mail, or chatting on Facebook. She often calls me a hero, but I don’t feel that way. I am just a guy who likes to spread happiness and this was one way I was able to do that. She is a lifelong friend for sure, and I am thankful for her friendship.

Wrapping up

So Shelley, I don’t know if that even begins to answer your question. The thing is, some listeners and I hit it off and become friends. Some are mere acquaintances. Some I have never met, others I have gotten together with for lunch or coffee.

Kris and I talked about Batman, Adam West, ELO, and all kinds of stuff over coffee. She gave my boys a tour of the place where she worked. Randy and I talked about motorcycles and the great Bikin’ For Burns event that we did every year. Audrey and I talked about cats and bikes. Scott called and harassed us every day about stuff we did on the air. The “old poops” who went on the trip to Nashville with us, still check in on Facebook and …. the list goes on and on.

I guess that is one of the reasons I miss doing radio full time. I got to meet some of the greatest people, and many of us are still friends today.

2 thoughts on “Radio Friends – From the Listener Side

  1. You are too kind, Debbie. I do believe that I am really the lucky one for a couple reasons: (1) I got to do what I love for 30 years (2) I have many great stories to tell (3) I am the one who benefitted by gaining such great friends!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s