Geno

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It was sad to hear of the loss of WKRP in Cincinnati star Howard Hesseman today. I have to admit I’ve only seen the show a couple times – it was popular a bit before my time. In those days, I was still more tuned in to the happenings on Sesame Street. But Johnny Fever was an icon. Several TV and movie actors that portrayed radio DJs definitely inspired my career choice. Here were the big 5.

  • #5: The Small-Town DJ on Northern Exposure

    Just like WKRP, Northern Exposure is another show I only caught a couple of times. It had a big cult following in the 90s. The one memory I do have of the show was of that small-town radio station. You could see into the center of town right from the studio window. I’ve always wished I had that kind of view. It really must give hosts a feeling a connection to the audience. In reality most radio stations, including Q105, have a less-than-inspiring view of a business park parking lot.

  • #4: Zack Morris, Kelly Kapowski and Screech on Saved By The Bell

    OK I had to throw in a goofy one. I’m an ’80s kid so Saved By The Bell was must-see TV when I was growing up. Every guy wanted to be as cool as Zack Morris. One of my biggest reasons in high school for wanting to get on the radio was totally to score cool points. I was kind of the unknown tall nerdy guy until I got on the radio.

  • #3: Howard Stern in Private Parts

    OK, I’m cheating.  Howard was far from a fictional character.  But truth be told, just about all of us who do this for a living were somehow inspired by Howard Stern.  For me, bringing my mother on the air was something I totally ripped off from Howard.  One big difference though – my mother was never told she was on the air.

    I was a morning show host in California and she was in Maine.  Listening to the radio over the internet wasn’t really a big thing yet.  So the running gag was she had no idea everything she was saying was broadcast live.  One morning it backfired.  The topic of the morning was “Do you know where you were conceived?”  Thinking my mother would find the conversation awkward, we called her up.  The joke was on me.  She was brutally honest.  It was the morning I found out I’m a beach baby.  My mother and father were apparently having fun on a PUBLIC BEACH while there were people everywhere! I found this out live on the air with all of my listeners.

  • #2: Christian Slater in Pump Up The Volume

    Man I loved this movie in high school and don’t know if I’ve ever seen it again since. But I remember how cool Christian Slater’s character was and how he connected 1 on 1 with his listeners. Dude was so smooth in his delivery. I didn’t get influenced so much by his delivery but I definitely wanted to connect with listeners like he did in that flick.

  • #1: Robin Williams in Good Morning Vietnam

    Adrian Cronauer is everything us radio DJs hope to someday be… a part of your day you look forward to in a miserable world. The way he connected and uplifted troops in the movie definitely was my biggest inspiration when I first cracked a radio mic in 1990.