Working at WACKY 102 was an amazing experience. It really made me into the programmer and manager that I became for better or worse. I liked to work independently and had a disdain for authority that always seemed to land me in trouble. At WACKY they ate it up.
This was in large part to the the laissez-faire attitude of the owners, Don Wilkes and Mike Schwartz, who really, truly, did not give a shit what we did as long as the spots got played.
I had complete and total freedom with only minor exceptions to program the station in any way I saw fit and to do any sorts of promotions I wanted. Don and Mike were often goading me on to be even crazier and I took to it like a duck to water.
Why do I say WACKY 102 had it’s way with me? Compare and contrast this dude:
with the one here:
Clearly the guy up top was buttoned downed, cool and professional. The guy on the bottom looks barely in control.
And check me out in the picture on the top part of this article.
WACKY 102 was the perfect storm for me in terms of professional achievement and learning while doing. We made some great radio and I made some horrendous mistakes. I became a Parallel 2 Radio and Records reporter while at WACKY and that increased contact with the denizens of the record industry that would shape my life for the rest of my career, not always in the most positive of ways. More on that in forthcoming chapters.
WACKY was the first time that I had any sort of inkling that there was more to radio than just playing records.
In many ways I wish I never learned that…but you can’t put the genie back in the bottle.
Next week: WACKY Promotions, including the wackiest of them all.