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Chapter 6: A Face Made for Radio

Myron Bennett in his office at WGUC.

I see the story got up to my being with the Willis store. I knew that wasn’t going to be my life’s work, and music would only pay for the small things. I had been told a few times, “You should be on the radio.” I found one person who disagreed with that assertion when I sent an audition tape to a classical commercial station in DC. At that point he was right. The tape came back.
So I took some lessons from Cecil Hale, a name I know some will recognize, who had been a very prominent part of Cincinnati radio. I came to think of him as one of my most important teachers, even though I was only with him for a few months. I’d thought he was going to improve my diction, but he quickly told me that my diction didn’t need work. He then helped me on the way to learning how to be myself when a microphone was in front of me, which was a more intense and difficult process than I had been through before.

When Cecil thought I was ready, I made an audition tape and sent that to several stations. KLUK in Evanston, Wyoming offered a job, and so my used Nash Rambler, my beautiful cat and I drove almost all the way across the country so I could be on radio. After a few moments of instruction of how to use their board and where the teletype was, I found that I was the morning DJ, the News Director, and the Evening DJ. I’m not sure how I did really, but the man who hired me said it was a better first day than he’d expected.

About a year later I went to KICD in Spenser, Iowa. Here I was mostly on the evening shift, which included an hour of classical music and late evening pop music. I persuaded them to let me do an occasional show I called “Music From Left Field.” No, it wasn’t the avant-garde material I sometimes played on WGUC, but things unusual in the Iowa life scheme, such as, oh, shall I say Walton’s Facade? A little over a year later management told me that the man I’d replaced, who had taken a job in Cincinnati, wanted to come back. He had a long history with the station, and I welcomed the opportunity to see where I might go next.

I came back to Cincinnati to live in my family’s house while I looked, and after sending tapes and bios around the country, I had the choice of going to a commercial classical station that was just starting in New Jersey, with their antenna pointed at New York City, or a small public radio station that had begun a few months before, was only on the air after 4:00 PM, and happened to be in my home town. A year later the New Jersey station was playing pop, and I was beginning the journey of the next thirty-plus years at WGUC.


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