Last week I got to hear a pretty amazing piece of radio history. WZID-FM morning man Mike Morin retired from radio after 43 years. As he said in his final hour, he’s been behind the microphone for nearly half of radio’s existence.
In his final words, slightly broken with emotion, the words hit me like a brick: “I was just a kid in Detroit, with a dream.”
And that was it.
Why did this affect me so deeply?
Because I was that same kid when I was 9 years old.
Except for the geography (I lived in Manchester NH), my dream was the same as Mike’s. My inspiration came in the form of ‘WKRP in Cicinnatti’ and Dr. Johnny Fever.
In early Fall of ’92, I finally realized my dream by getting an internship at 93.7 WCGY in Lawrence MA. It quickly turned into a full-time job at near-poverty wages. But I didn’t care. That is not a knock on ownership, it’s all part of the industry, and stresses the importance of paying your dues.
My job was copyrighting and production, handing out daily commercial assignments to the DJs. Several months into my tenure, one of them took me aside and said “I really like your attitude, your energy and your work ethic. It may not happen here, but someday I’d like to groom you to be producer of my morning show.”
Those words meant the world to me. They still do.
Less than six months later, I was sitting in on the show daily, and then our owners invested in a new studio so that I could be a real producer.
Sadly, the ride didn’t last long enough, as the station was sold and we were let go just 13 months later.
For THAT very emotional radio send-off, I was the man behind the glass, fingers tapping out every sound that came through the speakers of the many listeners who clogged the phone lines in disbelief that we were leaving.
Yesterday, as I listened to Mike’s final words on air, I was there in spirit.
My radio career lasted a decade, and I loved it all. I just got burned out and walked away.
All the inspiration I needed to own my entertainment company (20 years), my recording studio (12 years), perform as a stand-up comic (6 years) and professional speaker (10 years) came from that first job, and that person who believed in me.
More than two decades later, we still have lunch several times each year, and his belief in me is still an inspiring force in my life.
We’ve always maintained that I am ‘the other half of Mike Morin’s brain’, because we’ve always shared an incredible intuition about what’s coming next.
As I write this, proudly (and Mike, you just KNOW that my Mom is crying by now) stating that I know more amazing things are coming your way.
How do I know?
Because I really like your attitude, your energy and your work ethic.
Thank you for being my friend and mentor for twenty-two years and counting.
I can’t wait to be proud of your new adventures!
The Ramblin’ Man