Sunday, February 7, 2010

Before I wanted to be a Farmer...


I turned 50 in July. When I was a teenager that seemed impossibly old.  When I was 5 years old I used to swipe a hair curler from my mom and use it the way an announcer uses a microphone.  So it was that I followed my ambition and became a radio disc jockey when I was 20.

In 1980, I left Santa Barbara and moved to Hollywood, California. I went to the KiiS Broadcast workshop. And in the spring of '81 I used the aircheck tape I made at the workshop to land a job in radio. I was a part-time DJ. I worked overnight on Sunday and Monday mornings at 1440 KUHL AM, in Santa Maria, Ca. That job was everything to me but eventually I got fired by the program director for breaking format. I was re-hired to work full time as an FM DJ at the "album rock" station owned by the same company - 99 KXFM.  I eventually became a program director for a group of stations in Santa Barbara.  When AT&T took over as corporate owners, I quit radio in 1995 and went to work in my own studio/production business.

Since then, I've worked for big Hollywood stars, major studios, cable networks, important films, and national advertising campaigns. I'm proud of that. But what you don't know is that all those projects involve lots of ordinary people like me doing unglamorous work for little pay.  The star talents work hard and make a fortune but people like me carry the burden of making sure our tiny fraction of a multi-million dollar project works perfectly.  And at age 50 I really don't care to serve what Joni Mitchell called "The Star Maker Machinery" any more. 
And I never wanted to be a studio engineer anyway.  I always wanted to be a creative talent. Maybe that's why I'm so attracted to farming. Sound weird?  Well, you'll just have to keep visiting this blog and see if you can understand how that works.

For now I'm sorting and packing the relics of a lifetime, preparing to leave the past behind and move to PEI. Among my relics are boxes of cassettes and reel to reel tapes of a life gone by.  I've forgotten most of the details of my past, but unlike most people, I have many hours of my life backed up on tape and digital media.  And recently, I put a tape on the deck and heard a few minutes of my life from July of 1981. It's a recording of a live broadcast on KUHL, just 3 weeks after my 21st birthday and just a few weeks after my first time on the air.  

So before I share more about our move ahead, I invite you to hear a few minutes from the past I leave behind:

UPDATE / PHOTO 02.08.10
 That's me on the right in June of '82 - Mr. open shirt.  Thank God I didn't have disco chains.


beansgood said...

Well, I must say you had a very mature sounding voice back in the day! Got any photos from that era to with with this post? Would love to see if you had one of those handle bar mustaches or whatever the fad was then. And just so you know... I have four years on you! It was in 1981 that I came to a major crossroads in my life. Seems like forever ago!

John Quimby said...

I was trying so hard to sound mature and very hip - which was tough considering I was broke, working overnight and still a virgin.

No handlebar mustache, but I had very long hair and great sideburns.

beansgood said...

Funny how we see (hear) ourselves compared to how others see us. I could not have imagined a 21 yr old who was a bit wet behind the ears.

A friend's boyfriend thought I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth and sailed through life effortlessly. Little did he know.... ex-air force brat with no roots wandering aimlessly through life.

Thanks for the great photo.