I’ve had opportunities in my life that turned out to be amazing adventures. One of the best was working as a process server in West Michigan. Basically, I served court/legal papers. Summons and complaints, foreclosure posts, personal protection orders, subpoenas, paternity papers, and divorce decrees. You name it and at some point I had it. I covered eight counties and went into the roughest neighborhoods. I had a few close calls and ended up with more than a few black eyes and even some broken ribs.
During those years, I was beyond blessed to make a few friends that always rode with me. They kept me sane, made me laugh, and proved to me that the voice on the radio … isn’t just a “voice”. They were my lifeline. Holmes, Drew (Big Mac), Mike (Internio), Ashley (both 1 and 2), Justin (Puddin), Eric (EOB), Loren (Hugget), Bobby (Elevate), Brett (B-Side), and even Ken (Broadway, who thought I was a stalker) all of them made my job both fun and bearable.
For many people who listen to the radio, the voices they hear are just noise between the songs. For me, they were a lifeline. Doing that kind of work, you never knew what would face you when you went to the door. There were more than a few times when I realized any one of those voices may be the last one I would hear. That’s a sobering thought when you spend twelve hours a day in your car, basically raining on people’s day with every paper you deliver. So I decided to make it interesting.
I started calling into some of the shows. My favorite was the Freak Show with Holmes, Big Mac, and Ashley. More than once I would call in and Holmes would cut our conversation into something that was beyond hilarious. I happened to be out serving one day on the south side of Grand Rapids and I remembered that Holmes mentioned being at the Metro PCS close to where I would be the next day. On a whim, I stopped and introduced myself basically as the crazy person who called into the radio station. I learned two things that day. He recognized my voice immediately and that meeting would be the start of one of the funniest and longest of all the friendships I’ve ever made.
I don’t think he realized that day how much his voice, as well as those of my other DJ buddies, affected how I did my job. 90% of the time I spent on the road was dealing with people who normally would rather not have seen me. Sometimes just knowing they were there made it easier to deal with the people I met. They were the glue that held me together some days
Over the next few years, I would meet up with each of the DJ’s at their respective gigs. B-Side at Shakedown Street and Big Mac and Internio wherever they ended up…mostly at the club on Lake Michigan drive. I normally didn’t stay long but getting to hang out and have a few shots was a great way to end my day.
There is something to be said for live radio. With a lot of the bigger radio stations replacing their live DJs with mixtapes and franchise shows, it’s losing a lot of its appeal. That’s a big reason why many of the stations are losing their audience. The DJs aren’t local so it’s harder to make that connection. If you are lucky enough to have a station like 92.9 All-American Country with guys like Dave Stone who make it fun and interesting to listen to, support them with everything you’ve got. They are literally a dying breed.
Support your local bands and radios stations that put you first and are dedicated to sticking to the tradition of what radio is all about. Go out and meet the DJ’s whenever they have a live feed somewhere. Show your support and keep those guys local! Living in Michigan was great but I know one thing for certain. I wouldn’t have made it through those long days on the road without a little help from my friends on the radio!