My childhood was filled with the big band sounds of Louie Armstrong, Bessie Smith, and Bunny Berigan blaring from the radio or my grandmother’s 78-rpm records. Then we got a TV with a round, 10-inch, black & white screen, and we could see and hear the Ed Sullivan Show. Legendary performances by guests like Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Prima and Keely Smith opened up a new world of music to me.
By the late 1950’s, I was hanging out at local radio stations nights and weekends. The DJs would teach me how to cue records, run the ‘board’, collect news, and put it all together. My first radio gig was in Selma, Alabama, where I earned $32 a week. After several radio gigs at various stations, I went back to school to learn computer programming. 35 years later, I retired from the IT arena and returned to my true love as a volunteer DJ here at WFIT public radio.
Our weekly show, as the name suggests, offers a tasteful sampling of the jazz genre. We play contemporary jazz groups, both small and large; bebop, big bands, Latin jazz, classics from the masters, and the up and coming young lions of today. But my favorites are still the good ol' straight-ahead jazz and swing - they keep my feet tapping and a smile on my face!