What sparked your interest in radio ?
I wasn’t aware that I wanted to be in Radio until, while I was in the Navy, I got a letter from a famous newsman who wrote he was “delighted” that I wanted to pursue a career in broadcasting. (He was on the faculty of a broadcasting school.) Until then, I wanted to be a musician! I graduated from Career Academy of Broadcasting in Atlanta, then found my first job on WDNG in Anniston, Alabama where I was fortunate to have a Program Director who demanded professionalism (even though we were in a small market) and taught me how to do things the right way. Believe it or not, I was fired after 3 years because I refused to get a haircut! So, I returned home to New York and determined that the only station in the area that had that same professional sound was WALL. I made very frequent calls to the Program Director, Larry Berger, until a part-time shift finally opened and he hired me. Next, I hounded him to start an overnight show because what big-time station signs off at Midnight? And in January 1973 I became WALL’s first overnight personality. That led to a 12-year stint at WALL. I was also the first person to host a Country music show in the region, a Sunday morning program called WALL Country.
Local history story
The best times were the years Cousin Bruce Morrow and Bob Sillerman owned the station. Bruce took me to an entirely new level – only a fool wouldn’t listen to and learn from a Hall of Famer! And we had the most amazing Christmas events – a tree-lighting ceremony in front of the Castle, followed by some truly memorable parties afterward.
Share with listeners a fun fact or funny radio story.
One funny event: While Bruce was on the air, we had what was probably the largest listenership ever and we had a Bingo contest using songs played on the air in place of numbers. One little detail escaped notice – all of the Bingo cards were the same. So, when the last song that would create a winner was played, everyone called in at once, which blew out the entire Middletown phone system!
Who is your favorite artist / song / genre?
My early music favorites were Rick Nelson, because he sang on his family TV show, “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet” and Dion, who I saw on American Bandstand the first time I watched it. These days, I can’t name one favorite because there are too many greats, but my favorite music genre is the Blues.
Advice for someone pursuing a career in the music / radio industry
A person who wants a radio career has to be willing to start small for low pay and find someone with a lot of experience and a professional attitude who will teach him or her how to do things right. Radio is a lot of fun, but you can’t “play” at it. You will also have to be willing to move around – I worked in Alabama, 3 markets in NY and 4 in Georgia.
Listen in to hear Jim Frey Monday-Friday 3pm-7pm on WALL Radio!
Do you have any ideas you would like to see on our social media pages ? Send me an email at Rebekka@NeversinkMediaGroup.com