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Lisa Miller - "How I Got Into Radio"

Buzz Knight

3-29-2013

How I Got Into Radio is Sponsored By Local Focus

The wonderful advantage of being in the radio business is the incredible access we all have to rock concerts. Like many of you, I have enjoyed all formats of music, but the difference in going to a rock concert is a nefarious substance wafting through the air causing a cloud that hangs still and causes many of use to relax and enjoy the concert at a different level. It is that contact with the atmosphere that have caused many of us to forget much of what happened in the 70s, 80s and 90s. This loss of memory leads me to explain how it is that I cant remember when or how I met Buzz Knight. It might have been in Chicago in the early 80s at the NAB or when I spent many hours trying to place a morning talent at WZLX. Either way, we have known each other forever.

There is not much about the radio business that Buzz doesnt know. He is an encyclopedia of radio history and applies what he knows brilliantly. But, most importantly, Buzz is one of those wonderful people whom you look forward to seeing and sharing time and conversation with. He is smart, clever, fresh, interesting, and never boring; gosh I wish there were more of him in the world.

Now let me hand it over to Vice President of Program Development for Greater Media Buzz Knight...

My earliest memories of listening to radio had a transformative impact on my relationship with the medium that I still love today.

While growing up in Stamford, Connecticut, I had New York radio in the background on a regular basis as a part of my life. The fabulous energy of WABC was constantly abuzz wherever you went in the community.

Ill never forget the instantly recognizable news sounder that WNEW-FM ran at the top of every hour. With my head on my pillow Id sneak a listen to Jean Shepard on WOR radio while he brilliantly communicated his neurotic life.

All of these feelings and emotions instilled a curious love for this business of talking into a microphone. I applied for an internship at our local station WSTC-AM and went to see Program Director Don Russell to try and sell myself into his station.

Mr. Russell had zero interest in taking on the burden of an intern and he passed. But I wouldnt give up.

As a major sports fan I was fond of the Len Gambino sports call-in show on that same station and I quickly weaseled my way into the chief schlepper role during his program.

Len would eventually give me my first shot on the radio as a guest on his show, heartily proving the adage that, for hosts of shows, sometimes no guest is better than throwing the dopy high school kid in! That point would be made completely clear when Len quizzed me (a diehard baseball fan!) on the nuances of hockey and I essentially clammed up saying "Sorry Len, I'm a baseball fan."

This moment would give me the bug as I somehow had to prove that I could be on the radio for a living. I still remember the moment I was driving by my high school and my inner voice said Go for it! Choose radio as a profession!

From Stamford, Connecticut, I migrated to the University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio, to pursue a communications degree.

UD had many things going for it (including the parties) but among the biggest draws was the commercial station they owned, WVUD-FM, and my sights were set very specifically on getting hired to be a part of the operation.

I would ultimately work weekends, overnights, and eventually the signature 6-10 p.m. show called The Wax Museum. The bond with radio was locked forever.

Lisa Miller is the President of Miller Broadcast Management in Chicago. She's also one of Radio Ink's Most Influential Women in Radio. Miller can be reached at Lisa@millerbroadcast.com or 312-454-1111. So, how did you get into radio? We'd love to hear the story about why you're passionate about radio. Read how Dan Mason, Don Benson, Scott Herman, Ed Christian and many others got into radio HERE




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