It was fun seeing all of my deejay buddies post their photos and career trajectories for #NationalRadioDay last week. Here are a few that I snatched from their social media pages. And then there's the program director's memo that kept 19-year-old me on the part-time payroll. NOTE: he used bad math. I was being paid $40 per MONTH, or $480 per year to do some radio promotion work on the University of Kentucky campus. Had they cut me, I would more than likely have found a different career path. 😢 Happy #NationalRadioDay 🎧 Here's the 1976 @WKQQLexington program director's memo that saved my job and kept me in the business. I had only been working there for two months when Dick Hungate suggested that
"You deejays make all that BIG MONEY!" Well...some do, some don't. It's all about the deal that's struck with management. Deejays who are connected to revenue streams typically pull better salaries. I've done at least 7 critical negotiations with management at WLRS-FM, then WQMF-FM, and then a series of revolving deals with the various managers of WHAS Radio and television over the past 45 years. WHAS Radio news anchors recently discovered a treasure trove of station documents, including this 1943 contract for staff announcer and "specialty man" services. There were also rates for singers, musicians, actors, and sound effects specialists. Here is a 1976 proposal from WKQQ/Lexington program director Dick Hungate to his manager requesting to unplug the automation and switch to live
When I listen to my early air checks, I have no idea how I wound up making a living at radio/TV broadcasting for more than 40 years. Here's a sped up audio compilation from my first radio job in 1976. All I had to do was change tapes on an automated system. That was all well and good until they nudged me into doing a few station breaks. The accelerated audio actually improves my boring on air repartee. I would have flushed out of this business after the first year, but program director Dick Hungate saved my job into 1977 which gave me time to improve. Check the last paragraph of the memo posted below (with bad math, no less)! It's obvious that
?️ Friday launches my 33rd year on WHAS Radio and television. We ran a contest on my 1st radio show where hundreds of people guessed when I would be fired or leave. The winner gets $500. Only two entries are still valid. Jim McClellan needs me gone within three years or else Robert Rudolph is the winner. #loumedia #radiopersonality #Louisville My radio career began in September 1976 at WKQQ in Lexington, although I did not go on the air until late 1977. Therefore my total broadcast career has surpassed the 40 year mark.
Today is National Radio Day. In my life, it means almost as much as my birthday. I've been lucky enough to earn my living doing what I always wanted to do. From the time I was a little kid I just wanted to be on the radio. My dad laughed at Bill Bailey's jokes. I loved WAKY radio and the lunacy I heard from its deejays. I was hired at WHAS in 1985 for my sarcastic comedy streak, but the job evolved into conducting news making interviews with the powerful and prominent. Sometimes people become more prominent after appearing on my show. After some of my WAKY buddies helped me put together an audition tape in 1976, I was hired by
I was never smart enough to get a real job. Nonetheless, this broadcasting thing seemed to work out. WHAS RADIO CLIPS WHAS ARCHIVED CLIPS FROM THE 80s WHAS-TV GREAT DAY LIVE VIDEO WQMF RADIO CLIPS WITH RON CLAY WLRS RADIO CLIPS WITH RON CLAY WKQQ CLIPS FROM THE 1970s Both of my sons have the media bug. Family tradition. It's all good. WHAS Radio "Ter's Top 73 clips of 1987" Getting paid to play in the snow? Sign me up. In 2016, my media buddies roasted me as a fundraiser for Seven Counties Services. My earliest TV series was the nightly news magazine PM Louisville with the delightful Ange Humphrey.
Old school above; new school below Let's not forget that the Wilson sisters are still cranking out rock & roll. New album next month.
Is radio dead? Is TV dead? Nope. But there is a reframing of information flow. A recent poll lists broadcasting as one of today's worst career choices. You may be surprised to learn how little most TV and radio people earn. Others predict the end of talk radio following the 2016 elections. No way. Local talk shows allow each city's residents to weigh in on local issues. The local radio station is the kitchen table where everyone can throw in their two cents or at least eavesdrop on those who do. I completely love my 40 year broadcast career and have rarely regretted choosing it. I have learned 10 million things by talking with a zillion people on