My Social Studies teacher, John Wallis, determined my career path in the 9th grade!
1. Host of “The Tonight Show”.
2. Radio DeeJay.
3. Join the circus.
Since it looked like Johnny Carson was going to stick around, and there was no big top in Washington County, that narrowed my choices. Fortunately there was a radio station licensed to Potosi. So at 16 years old I went to work for a 500-watt, daytime only, country music radio station. And now, almost 50 years later, I have been blessed to continue to work in a medium dedicated to the local community.
I came to AM800 KREI in 1977 after the entire air-staff had quit. J-98, The Boot, premiered a month earlier, and how exciting it was to be on the ground floor of a new broadcast entity. Two other Washington County boys soon joined the fracas, Jack Sadler, and engineer Kevin Brooks, who is still working at both stations.
For the last 20 years I have had the pleasure of hosting the KREI Morning Show on AM800 every weekday. Yeah, getting up at 4:15 AM can be a challenge, but it is well worth it. I have built some wonderful memories….reuniting a Washington state woman with her mother in Missouri, who had given her up at birth…covering the breech and rebuilding of the Taum Sauk Reservoir…the kidnapping of Shawn Hornbeck…being an original member of the Walk to End Alzheimer’s…the two-day annual broadcast from the State Capital…the 3-year old Madison County boy who was found alive after missing 2-days. And the awards from the Missouri Network, the Missouri Community Colleges and the Missouri State Teachers Association is a humbling acknowledgment of those efforts.
But covering the everyday hometown events is the backbone of Regional Radio, from the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance by primary students to Homecoming Parades to town festivals, this is what makes the Parkland so much fun.
And yes, after 30-plus years of being the announcer for the Mineral Area College Cardinals basketball teams, it is still a great gig!
Of course none of this is possible without the understanding and endorsement provided by my family, and the support of the audience (whom I don’t take for granted) and the advertising community.
I sincerely thank you for letting me impose on your morning activities and hope we may continue the relationship for a long time to come.