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SWEET SOUNDS: I heard it on the radio

Today is National Radio Day. In my life, it means almost as much as my birthday.

Ron Clay & Terry Meiners exiting WLRS studios in The 800 Building as doorman Sam Grandison shakes his head. (1982)

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.

Terry Meiners on the air at beginning of his radio career — WKQQ-FM (Lexington) in 1977.

After some of my WAKY buddies helped me put together an audition tape in 1976, I was hired by Jim Rivers, a Lexington programmer at WKQQ-FM and WBLG-AM. While other college kids were out having fun, I was tending to the automated rock songs on WKQQ from 10 PM until 6 AM on both Friday and Saturday nights. That’s the lowest rung on the ladder.

WKQQ program director pitched management on taking the radio station from automation to live deejays. His calculation for me, a college student, is misstated as “weekly” when he meant to type “monthly.” $40 x 12 months = $480

But I loved it. I was earning minimum wage and couldn’t wait until my next shift so that I could be part of the delivery system of music, promos, and a few parody pieces I started to submit. Eventually WKQQ went to live deejays and I was not selected. Six months in, one of the new hires didn’t work out so I was given a chance.

I’ve never stopped loving the job of opening the microphone and speaking extemporaneously to an unseen audience. Listening to your thoughts expands my mind. The rewards have been phenomenal.

Terry Meiners files snow reports along I-65 (January 22, 2016)

Happy National Radio Day. I hope your career brings you the soaring joy I still receive from mine some forty years later. Thanks for listening. Thanks for watching my TV nonsense. Thanks for being so supportive to my family after all these years. I hope I’ve been of help to you or your organization in some positive way.

Terry Meiners shares a drink with his pet cicada in 1987 (WHAS-TV)

WHAS radio team 1990 Wayne Perkey, Jack Fox, Milton Metz, Terry Meiners, Diane Williamson, Joe Donovan, and Doug McElvein

A lot of the folks in the above photo made great impressions on me and helped boost my career. I am forever grateful to all of the wonderful broadcast mates I’ve shared studios with. Each one added to my portfolio of knowledge and devotion to the craft of communication. Thank you all so much.

The most important component of my career has been taking part in the public service miracle called the Crusade for Children. Through all of the challenges of regular workdays, nothing rewards the soul more than helping special needs children and their families. I am eternally grateful for the chance to help in some small way. Onward.

1980 WHAS Crusade for Children with Wayne Perkey, Phyllis Knight, Jim Walton, and Milton Metz

In closing, one final hero must be spotlighted. Paul Harvey was the quintssential American broadcaster. We carried his broadcasts on WHAS for decades. See his story below.

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