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Ten highlights from Tony Michaels

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Some days make an impression in the memory bank of your mind.  As Candice will tell ya, I LOVE to celebrate all the good days.  In quick summation that includes my wedding anniversary, birthdays, first date, my work anniversary and “Celebrate Life Day” on July 6th.  That’s another article.

 

January 10th won’t make that list.  But, it greatly influenced what happened on January 11th, 1995.  On January 10th, I had a long chat with my good friend Jen at the 12th floor staircase inside Abel Hall at the University of Nebraska .  She knew I wasn’t happy, felt stuck and needed a change.  That next day I would drop all my classes and switch my major to Broadcast Journalism.  Within a week, I introduced my first song on the campus station the mighty 90.3 KRNU.  It was “Skinny Legs” by Lyle Lovett.  That song went over much better on the radio than “NFAP” which I later found out meant “Not For Air Play”.  Whoops.

 

Here are my favorite broadcast moments since that late night chat with Jen.

 

  • My job as an intern at Z-92 in Omaha was to stack cd’s and make noise in the background for remote broadcasts.  One summer day, my sister Victoria called me on the landline and asked if I was on the air.  She asked if I was clapping on Z-92.    Yes, I was.  I also said “woohoo”.  My big break in the biz.  (Note to Gen Z readers – look up the words cd’s and landline)
  • After cajoling my way into a part time job at The Eagle 92.9 in Lincoln after my on-air work at Z-92, I locked myself OUT of the building on my second shift. I ran to my two tone blue Chevy Cavalier and found two batteries.  I began to chuck them towards a second story window at our sister country station, 96 Kicks.  After convincing that country dj not to call the cops, he let me in the building after only a few seconds of dead air.
  • That same country station surprising hired me a few months later. The Keith & Carol morning show hired me to do a cop ride-a-long dressed as Barney Fife, raise money for the animal shelter in a bear costume and a few other stunts that I now do not want to share on this forum.  Buy me a beer and I will spill my guts.
  • On my last day at 96 Kicks, I played “I’m Outta Here” by Shania and “You are Gonna Miss When I’m Gone” by Brooks & Dunn. Talk about a young ego!  A nice lady and regular caller named Danita said she would call me at my new radio station in Sioux City.  She never called me at KSUX.  Most co-workers didn’t believe me there was an actual station with the call letters K-S-U-X.  Maybe that’s why Danita never called.
  • When discussing finances with afternoon guy Johnny Walker on the air, I learned that my paycheck would be deemed as “fun money” and my lovely wife would pay our bills. I am happy to report I have received 270 paychecks.  With that money, I purchased A LOT of Husker gear….and Husker counseling.  My wife pays the bills.
  • Meeting Carrie Underwood three times and Dolly Parton once. I have many thoughts on how awesome these two are for very different reasons.  And I love it when Candice and Josie tell the story of how they view my interaction with Carrie.  Please buy them drinks and they may share.
  • The on-air interviews with Garth Brooks (twice) and Taylor Swift. Another hat tip to Josie.  She called / emailed Garth’s camp no less than 50 times to get that to happen.  I once called to interview Steve Lundy from the Kat 103.7 in Omaha.  He just interviewed Garth and I wanted to interview the guy that interviewed Garth.  He said that phone call from me was one of the most pitiful he’s ever received.  Taylor Swift we didn’t have to do nearly the requests at the time in 2009 I believe.  She was very engaging and was very dialed in during our call.
  • 15 years of furnace and air conditioning giveaways from Farrell’s. It truly is the best thing that happens consistently on KSUX.
  • I had a really bad day and ran to Facebook and shared a story of a lady having a really bad day and was agitated with my son. I asked for the spread of kindness that day on social media to mitigate what I just saw that day at the mall.  That post went somewhat viral…and led to the creation of the Be Kind Walk in South Sioux City.  I love everything about that event.  Very cool.

 

And, #10, the creation of Friday Night Spotlight on KSUX.  It is my contention, country radio plays it WAY TOO SAFE and some of the best music never gets heard by radio listeners.  We are fortunate enough to have independent choice at KSUX and a willing partner in the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino that jumped on board with this show on day one.

 

Thanks for reading.

(I have a great story about a remote broadcast for the release of a Garth Brooks album – that may be a better conversation in a bar.)

This radio journey has been so much more fun than becoming an Industrial / Organizational Psychologist.  Jen was right.

 

Tony Michaels