I was just completing coursework at the WIXY School of Broadcast Technique, in Cleveland, Ohio. I was in class for a two month course, which was the full time schedule for the broadcast-announcer course.
When I had entered my senior year of high school, I knew two things: One was that I didn't want to endure another four years of schooling. The other was I knew if I did want it, my parents could not afford to send me. I knew nothing about grants and thought I was too stupid to get scholarships.
The radio station I listened to most of the time in those days was WIXY/1260 and I heard commercial spots about this school and I made the call there to get some literature. I got it and went for some interviews with the director of admissions. My parents were all for it. Others told me that I was making one of the biggest mistakes in my life. After 34 years, the jury is still out on that one.
Anyhow I started class about July 15, 1974. I would go up to the second floor of the building at 3940 Euclid Ave., get off the elevator, and walk past the glass enclosed studios where some of my heroes did their magic. Sometime they would wave to me and shoot me a smile, other times they were busy in their craft.
This was the year that "Happy Days" made it's debut on ABC. I walked past the studio one day and Michael Collins, mid morning DJ, was interviewing Ron Howard and Anson Williams. Another time I walked past and saw a young Michael Jackson in the studio. That was a bonus.
We were taught by some of the well known media people in Cleveland. Some of the WIXY DJ's come in to teach some classes. Others were taught by some of the television people. The late Joel Rose instructed us on freading news copy. One of the instructors was Steve Lushbaugh, who was the late evening DJ at WMMS, He was also a graduate of the WIXY School.
We were taught all aspects of the radio business, announcing, production, news, sports, traffic(not what most think) and sales. We were also taught about FCC rules.
The school had many up to date resources, including 5 fully equipped studios,complete with two turntables, a cart machine, and a reel to reel tape recorder, that were able to be used on air in emergency situations. We were also connected to ABC News. We could write our own news, using wire copy off United Press International. We were required to have so many hours of supervised studio time in order to complete the course.
As a broadcast student, I was told I would go to a small town radio station at a low rate of pay, working long hours. In those days, you had to pay the dues to make it to a major market facility. Some were willing to pay the price, others, such as myself, weren't. The halls of the school were lined with letters from graduates of the school who were working at stations, such as WPRT, Prestonburg, Ky., WXEE, Welch WV, and others. I had one interview out of state, in Sullivan, Indiana, WNDI. The interview didn't pan out, as In retrospect, I was ill prepared. I went to many small stations in my home area, dropped off my audition tape and resume, to no avail. I had an interview scheduled at WPRT, but a case of laryngitis took care of that.
So, I never worked in the "biz." Does that mean I didn't get my money's worth out of the course? Not necessarily. To this day I continue to get things out of the $995 I paid for the course in 1974. I have used some of the skills I learned in my usage of public address systems in jobs which I have worked, and in my current capacity as band announcer. I use some of what I learned about writing commercial copy in my blogging. Do I make a ton of money? No. Do I affect people in a positive way? Definitely!
I still have a dream of someday doing something on the air, but I also enjoy the things I do in my announcing and in my blogging.
It's no good to not dream.