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Shay’s First Day On-Air as a DJ

radio control board
Shay Hill

People will ask me “what do you do?” When I tell them I’m a radio DJ, the response is always the same “that’s sounds like so much fun, I wish I had a fun job.” Yes, it is fun, but it was quite nerve wracking when I first started.  Here’s my first day as a radio DJ.I had been out of college for 2 weeks when I finally landed the part-time DJ gig.  I would work overnight on weekends to begin with and eventually move up from there.  I hoped, anyway.

I was hired on a Thursday afternoon and told to come in that evening to “observe”.  I did that for about 3 hours, then I came back the next night and sat in on the overnight show and ran the board for about 2 hours.

Now, back when I started 17 years ago radio was a little different than it is today.  We played CD’s and commercials were on carts (they looked like 8 track tapes).  Everything these days is all on computer.  If a song ended you physically had to push buttons to play the next song or commercial.  It was much more work than it is these days.

I had studied communications in college but we didn’t have a radio station to actually learn hands on from, it was all books.  So running the board by myself was a little intimidating.  There was someone in the building with me that night but that changed the following afternoon, when they said “hey you’re working the overnight shift tonight”.  I went into panic mode.

I literally cried all afternoon, scared to death, I was going to be alone in the station and I had to keep it on-air!  I begged for someone to stay with me that night, I didn’t know enough to be there alone, there were so many buttons and so many things that could go wrong.  They wouldn’t listen.  I went in that night and it was sink or swim.

Well, I guess I learned to swim. The station was perfectly in tact the next morning when the next shift came in and I had successfully finished my first day as an on-air personality.

I have a friend who was so thoughtful (note my sarcasm here) that they recorded my first show.  I have never heard it but they tell me they listen to it occasionally and get a really good laugh. I had no idea what to say between songs so I simply gave the artist and song and kept going. Over the past 17 years I’ve offered to pay money to get possession of that tape but they continue to hold it over me.

I have to say, I had never been so scared in my life.  I did it though and here we are now 17 years later at the same station I started. And yes, I do have a fun job!!

So what was your scariest first day of work?

 

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