I was fortunate enough to get my start in radio at the age of 14 back in 1982. My radio career kicked off at the local AM station 14 WPRY, in Perry, Fl the town I grew up in. It was located near my neighborhood , a quick bike ride or walk from my house. It’s format at that time was Top 40 Rock , and lite rock.
On the weekends friends of mine from high school would DJ . I was known as Red Hot Scott back then and I DJ’d at the local skating rink and had a mobile DJ biz. I would go to the station on the weekends and hook my friends up with some of the records I had and played and they would rock em on their shows. It was then I met one of the full-time DJ’s Dennis O’Donnell. I was hooked and I wanted to do what my friends were doing. I wanted to be on the radio!!
Dennis took me under his wing to teach and train me. On the weeknights I would rush home from school, do what homework I felt like doing, eat and head to the radio station to hang and learn from Dennis. He taught me how to get my voice radio ready, read commercials in 30 and 60 seconds, edit commercials by splicing tape (they were recorded on Reel to Reel tape back then), recording them to a cart (picture an 8 track tape that’s kinda what a cart reminded me of), how to do the weather, relate to the audience, how to work the mixing board, what time the breaks were and how important it was to go into breaks at the exact time, recording the news feed, and taking transmitter reads. I eventually scored an interview with the owner Harry Hagan and was hired for the 3pm – 6pm shift Monday – Friday.
This put me on the road to 105.5 WDHA in New Jersey. I cannot thank owner Harry Hagan RIP, and Dennis O’Donnell enough for giving me a chance and putting me on the road to my dream career. 14 WPRY is no longer in existence, which is a shame because it was great for young people to learn radio and get a chance to work in radio. It was a legendary station that provided music, local and national news, and community events for our small Florida country town..
Happy National Radio Day to all of my colleagues at WDHA and across the Radio industry. – Scotty B