Tuesday, March 25, 2008

You're Rocking with Bud

This is going to be a bit of a walk down memory lane for me. It might give you a bit of insight of how I became the totally crazy person I am today. I was a DJ for a long time. And I mean a real one, not just a “Tape DJ”. I majored in communications in college because all I ever wanted to be since I was ten years old, was to be a DJ. When we started WTIT I chose the name Bud Weiser because the DJs of that era had names like Rusty Potts or Sandy Beach. What was strange that once all my friends started calling me Bud, my parents did as well. Being a “Jr.” I started out life called by my middle name and when I switched schools in second grade I started using my first name, but it never felt right. So at 14 I became Bud for good, or so I thought.

In radio they use to love to change your name. In my three pro jobs while still in college I used the name Bud Fisher. By this time it was my real name. At my first station full time after college I was the midday (10AM-3PM) jock at a rock station. I picked out every song I played. We had a massive rock library, but I could bring in albums from home if I wanted. I could say what I wanted to say. I played what I wanted to play. That is why I so love Tom Petty’s song “The Last DJ” about someone such as I getting to do what I would like. I did not know that this would be the only station that I ever worked for that gave jocks that freedom. Computers and “music research” took the choices out of the DJs’ hands by the mid seventies. WILI were the call letters of this great rock station in Willimantic, Connecticut.

I did not know I would never be Bud Fisher again when I left that station to go to a rock station in Springfield, Massachusetts. I gave WILI a two-week notice, the second of which was my vacation. I was newly married and my wife and I vacationed in Maine. While driving home we passed through Springfield. I said to my wife, “Want to hear my new station?” What could she say? I tuned it in. After the song they played a promo. It said, “Starting Monday at 3PM is the Gary Morgan Show.” I was devastated. How could I lose the job before I started? I showed up Monday at the station at the designated time thinking I was going to be sent home. What I didn’t figure out was that I was now Gary Morgan. So, I did get the job but Bud Fisher was never a DJ again.

I really made my mark at the next station and those that followed. It was the first "oldies" radio station in Connecticut, WRCQ. But it was not as Bud Fisher. Or Bud Weiser. Or Gary Morgan. I became Gary Hunter. I used that name from 1974 to my last radio show in 1990. I was The Hunter. My last show was a morning show in Springfield called “Mike and the Hunter”. But that really is not the reason for this post. It really is all about those two years I was Bud Fisher and picked out my own music at WILI.

We had a great guy who was the morning guy named Wayne Norman. Believe it or not, Wayne is STILL the morning man at WILI. Wayne has broadcast about a million UConn games for whatever network has aired the games. Kind of a local legend. The station is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this week. Wayne tracked me down. He wanted me to be interviewed on his morning show to talk about the good old days. Today I’d like you to share the experience with me. You’ll find out a lot about me then and me now. So I will tell you how to hear the interview. Click here and then in the middle of the page it says, "The Best of Wayne Norman" and click that. Click the download for “Wayne interviews Bud Fisher”, then just choose “open” when the little box flashes. It was great that they wanted my memories of their radio station. Please, let me know what you think. That is if you had the fortitude of understanding those instructions.

The WTIT Tape Radio Blog will return. Same time. Same blog. Join us then. And a hearty thanks for putting up with my story today. Peace!