Very First Day Baaaaack In the Day…

I always remember November 4th as a very momentous day … it was the very first time that I ever spoke on-air while in my Broadcasting class at KNBS 90.3 when I was in high school. My mom, of all people, encouraged me to sign up for this Broadcasting class back in the day because, according to her, I was always saying that I wanted to be on the air. I swear that I do not even remember saying this when I was a child…but know one thing: the MINUTE I walked into the studio, I so KNEW that I was where I was meant to be!

I was shaking and very nervous thinking what lots of people think:  that there are so many people listening LOL — my school station was only about 200 watts I think so maybe it was about 5 or 10 people listening, if THAT.   The very first thing was read a PSA (public service announcement in both English and Spanish) and then I was asked to introduce a couple of songs during an hour during that day…my face still gets red when I think about it! LOL    Eventually, like many of us who start off in campus radio, I had my own show on Tuesday nights.  My target audience was my brothers and sisters and I played whatever they liked … I remember that the guys at the station would tell me that I had a nice voice but that they didn’t recognize any of my music LOL.   Eventually, I got it that I had to follow a Top 40 format, or at least try to…

While I may be a little more jaded now because my entire career has been spent in radio … and while I moved from on-air to the Marketing side … I know that all of my brothers/sisters in radio will agree with me on this one:  there is absolutely no energy like the one that emanates from a radio station…especially one that is rising in popularity…it’s awesome!

Some of my radio stories:

CARMEN SO GOT IN TROUBLE FOR PLAYING THIS SONG THREE TIMES IN A ROW…Just because I liked it LOL  “Got to Be Real” Cheryl Lynn…like this vid of Patti Labelle and Mariah Carey singing this song because I used to sing it all loud like that…

FIRST SONG I PLAYED ON-AIR ON AS A PAID WEEKEND PERSONALITY … at a Tejano station and had no clue who David Lee Garza was … mucho menos his singer Emilio Navaira … needless to say, I became a fan that MINUTE…”Me Quieres Tu o Te Quiero Yo”  David Lee Garza

ONCE ON MIDDAYS, I EITHER STARTED OR ENDED MY SHOW WITH THIS SONG…what else but “Se Me Perdio La Cadenita” Sonora Dinamita

BEING THAT I CAME FROM A TEJANO STATION, MY NEW LISTENERS ALWAYS KNEW THAT THEY WOULD HEAR music by Selena…I was probably one of the only ones on air who didn’t pronounce her name ‘Se-le-na’,  she was always “Se-lee-na” to me…


Sooooo many more stories and my share of ‘radio nightmares’ – where you dream that the mic won’t work and you have to talk that second or you’re unable to ‘pot’ turn up the music on time, etc.      My career has taken me to many places, I’ve gotten to meet so many people and do so many events…it’s always been fun and I’ve always been lucky — I always knew what I wanted to do … love it!



3 thoughts on “Very First Day Baaaaack In the Day…

  1. Yes, I know the feeling!!! I first did radio back in the early 70’s when Ed Ramirez first began “Chicano Community Program” on KUOP. I did reading of poetry and short skits. Later when Mario Hernandez took over, Richard Zapata and I began doing “Cho & Lo”. At first everything was done “live”, but in time we began to record episodes ahead of time, using dubbing and sound effects. I loved radio!

  2. One from Engineer Mike that went to my email:

    The 1kw station consisted of a Tube Western Electric audio board that came from a WWII Navy Ship, two Russco Turntables with Tube pre amplifiers, three tube Gates Cart Machines that had to be started manually, a very old patch bay from 1947, a 1962 Gates BC1G, 1kw Plate Modulated transmitter and a 200′ tower behind the building at 3267 Sonoma Boulevard in Vallejo. The only equipment that was Solid State were the TFT EBS unit and the Gates Solid Statesman limiter. There was no production room; all production was done after the station signed-off at night using the main on-air board. The microphone switch was a large red toggle located in the center of the board with a very large knob, and if one did not keep the volume down on the mic before switching the microphone ON, a loud clack from the relay could be heard on air. The station was owned by Louis J. Ripa. The station started out as KGYW, a 250 watt day-timer. Power was increased to 1kw in 1970 when the transmitter was purchased used from a station in San Jose (I think it came from KEEN 1370).

    One afternoon, I was sitting at the bench behind the transmitter when I heard an argument from around the transmitter. The Air Personality (D.J. as we were known then) literally walked out and left the record playing. Lou walked behind the transmitter, tapped me on the shoulder and asked “You ever been on the air?” My horrified reply was “No” “better hurry up, because you’re record is running out”. That was my “White Knuckled” introduction to being on the air for the first time. I guess Lou liked me, had sympathy (or just liked the fact I worked cheap) because he gave me that air slot on Saturday afternoon. Of course, It would span from 2:00-8:15 in the Summer months and from 2:00 to 4:30 in the winter months because of sunset -sign-off. All of my friends listened, and over time I got pretty good at being on the air. My inspiration to wanting to be on the air was Steven Capen from KSAN 94.9, San Francisco who did the Morning Show with MiMi Chinn. Later in my career, Steven and I became good friends.

    The rest is history and as Paul Harvey used to say ‘Now you know the rest of the story’.

    Mike 🙂

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