Even though I do not have this information on the FAQ page on WTIT.net , the most common question I get asked is, “How did you find new DJs for Tape Radio when DJs left?” For the first 15 years, the answer is simple. All the guys who were invited to join were school or neighborhood friends of mine. Bouncing Billy and Killer Joe had been neighborhood friends of mine since we were ten-years-old. Galloping Gary and I met in public school. In addition, of course, were friends of the existing DJ staff. Killer Joe ran into a little league teammate at a game, both watching their old team. That night, his friend became Johnnie Walker and completed our original five DJs. Johnnie met Gregarious Greg in college. Greg would start contributing in 1973 and ironically replaced Killer Joe in 1974.
In the mid-eighties, replacing a DJ involved both close friends, such as the Cosmic Commando and Rock Rolling, or social friends such as B.B. Bacardi and Bob Smirnoff. My ex-wife and I threw New Years parties from 1970, the year we met and after we married until I DJ’d at night during the mid seventies. We started the parties up again in the eighties. Along with the WTIT DJs, we’d invite neighbors and social friends. My ex-wife was a housewife by this time (Yea, I know that is not “PC”, but that’s what we called it then) and knew a lot of neighbors. On New Year’s Eve 1987, a neighborhood guy, that I never met, came to our party. I think his name was Rich. He cornered Rock Rolling in our studio. He had never seen anyone who had a Tape Radio studio in his or her home. (Go figure…) I was elsewhere at the party. Suddenly Rock came out of the studio rushing over to talk to me. He said, “Hey, you need to talk to Rich”. After I asked who the hell was “Rich”, Rock grabbed my arm to lead me to the studio.
I saw Rich, and he proceeded to tell me how cool he thought our Tape Radio thing was, and asked whether he could join. No one had ever done this before, and come to think of it, since. We had our five and at that time it was Rock, Johnnie, Cos, B.B. and I. But, what the heck, I said sure. He was to start as “J. Fox” the next Wednesday. I told the DJs at the party. They were all friendly, and welcomed J. Fox aboard. Later, Rock said he was sorry that he didn’t handle it better. “Bud, he said he has wanted to do this his whole life.” I paused a second and asked, “He told you that he wanted to come over to my house and talk into a tape recorder, his whole life?” To this day, I am still not sure what he meant. Johnnie has an expression that I love. He says, “Life is strange. And then it gets a lot weirder.” Our collective Tape Radio lives were about to get really weird.
Next Time: The complete J. Fox, “The New Guy” short and bizarre Tape Radio experience. Stay tuned, or as we say on tape, “Keep your tape tuned…”