I worked with and for some great people over 30 years. Starting in El Paso interning with Steve Crosno and his weekend Friday night talk show on Cable Channel 3, KDBC Channel 4 and his Dance Show on Saturdays and running tapes as a board op in my teens in Juarez on a variety of AM stations. Came to know giants in the radio and TV industry then in the late 70s with Howell Eurich on Channel 4; Bill Blair (on KROD); Chris Music Michaels on XEROK 800 (Cielo Vista Bank Building); and watching the great Johnny Kaye at work on KINT through Gene Knight and Richard Pearson (friends in High School).
Moved and went to college the first time in Odessa in the summer of 1977 joining KRIG-AM 1410 under PD Ron Harper and learning production from Jerry Wilson who lived with his young pregnant wife in the apartment behind or off of our transmitter room behind the AM studio. Great station then.
Returned to El Paso in 1978 to UT El Paso and worked a few months under Chauncey Blackburn, wife of Jay Blackburn (WLUP Chicago) as she programmed KPAS FM 94. Management ruined the station giving rise to KLAQ to become the AOR giant it was then and today. Went to KSET Disco 95 for PD Chuck Gross and first gig Cat Simon on the FM while Steve Crosno programmed the AM station where I worked weekends. Was doing News for a few months in AM drive on the FM.
Late in 1978 I worked for Bill Fletcher at KISO a Christian station - the AM of the company and was recruited by the FM with Rob Camp, Harry Osiben, Gary Crawford and PD Brad Evans to do overnights. Took requests by CB Radio. Progressive Country. By late 1978 I went to Adult Contemporary KROD AM 600 and spent a lot of time with the FM KLAQ personalities of Erin and Mike (Magic Mike). Drank a lot of 35-cent Old Milwalkee on Tap at the Pine Knot Jr, where all the El Paso Media and Journalists headquartered behind Channel 4.
Left KROD in 1979 back to Odessa where I became the 7-12 midnight evening personality on KQIP FM, programed by Detroit Native John Roman literally taking it from a WKRP in Cincinnatti-type easy listening to Rock and Roll station for the five and a half years I was there. Those were really the best years of my life working with John Roman as PD and Morning Show host, station owner Roy Elsner, afternoon Drive Rick Lane (wish we could find where he is today), Andy Waits, Doug Thomas, Keith Montgomery, Dave Perkins, Steven Sykes, Kerry Buke, and so many cohosts of the morning show from Lisa Barker to Ray Hennagir, Kelly Sanders, and many others. Had the honor to help many artists on the way up and those cushioning on the way down. From Huey Lewis to Tiny Tim, Larry Gatlin, Journey, Three Dog Night, Joe Cocker, man the list is long and it was just the best years of my life being a somewhat big fish in the smaller ponds of the Permian Basin.
So many great friends and stations then in competition from John Clay at KWES (formerly KRIG), Steve Driscoll, Jim Scott, Susan Wise, those at KBAT, KNFM, and later KODM. Through the boom years of the late 1970s to mid 1980s and the bust years to the late 1980s doing Melodrama on stage at the Yucca in Midland's Summer Mummers to shows with Midland Community Theater they were something else to live through. I made the transition from Radio to TV when the Satellite Music Network replaced our air staff in 1985 leaving in 1986 after a year of production and news for KQIP to KTPX NBC 9 under the Chronicle Broadcasting Group. National stories like Tornadoes in Fort Stockton and Baby Jessica rescued from the well in Midland. Jessica just turned 25 this week and heir to that over $800,000 that has been collecting interest for some 25 years. Just saw that on the news tonight (national). Time sure has flown.
Favorite stories most present in my memories was being a part of a community in what was the last gasp of family owned radio and television stations in the 1980s before so many went on life support of computers, satellite delivered programming and conglomerates that have sucked the life and talent of stations coast to coast in America. I picked the right time to go into TV and then back to college for the 1990s retooling for the 2000s. Its by no means easy today but I am for the better having spent those developmental years of the 1970s in El Paso, 1980s in Odessa Midland, back in El Paso for the 1990s and since 2001 in Dallas Fort Worth. I never made it to the big game of Radio or TV in DFW but my work airs on many of those stations and globally so I have little to complain about. But I would trade it all to go back to the radio and TV of the 1970s and 1980s just to live it all over again. I'm still in contact with many of those colleagues, associates, friends and even many listeners now some 20-30 years later. And John Denver said it best, "Gee its good to be back home again," when I get to visit Odessa and Midland as well as El Paso.
So many are gone now - Steve Crosno the one I learned the most from in programming and on air work as a teenager in the mid 1970s. Several of us tried to help him when things started to go rough in the mid 1990s into the early 2000s. But he lived what he wanted for as long as he did. Many got that chance in El Paso and even Midland Odessa. Some went on to major fame like Andy Waits with Westwood One (now in Salt Lake City Utah), and Brian Wilson with Fox News starting out on AM radio with KOZA, the top banana in Odessa. John Clay to major fame as has Susan Wise, Jim Scott and so many others. Some of my novels today and characters come from those years when Radio was still fun and we could earn a living doing it.
My best to all who remember me and I sure remember you all. Look me up on Facebook. I'd love to hear from you all.