How did I get here?

Well, I guess the first thing to do is to tell you where “here” is. Before I retired in 2016, most days you could find me in Studio 17E at WABC Radio in New York. This was my Monday through Friday home where I performed my duties as the Senior Production Engineer at WABC Radio. What that means, is that between the hours of 8 AM and 3 PM Monday through Friday, you’d find me in Studio 17E digitizing spots, finding audio bits and producing promos, doing air checks for the Sales Department, and doing just about anything else you can think of associated with audio in a radio station. I started at WABC in August of 1976, and have been doing a version of my present job for a long time, so yes, it is better (and easier) than working for a living!

So I guess to explain how I got here, I think we’ll have to start in June of 1967 when I graduated from high school. Did I know what I wanted to do? Absolutely not, but 1967 was the era of Vietnam, and I knew that I didn’t want to go there, so it was off to C.W. Post College in the fall. It was there that I fell under the spell of radio at Post’s radio station, WCWP. I’d grown up in a household that always had the radio on, with folks who listened to things like the various personalities on WOR and NBC’s Monitor programing, so I found what happened at the radio station to be right up my alley. Along the way, I went through 4 different majors, still not sure what I was going to do with my life, until one life changing night. That was the night Bill Mozer, who was the Chief Engineer at WCWP said to me, “Do you want to come to work with me tonight?” Being the WCWP Chief Engineer was not Bill’s only job, and this question meant he was offering to take me with him to his other job….at Musicradio 77 WABC where he was an Engineer!

For a 20 year old college radio kid, this was like taking a trip to Oz! Entering the ABC Building at 1330 Avenue of the Americas was a heady experience. Getting off the elevator at the 8th Floor and walking into the orange WABC lobby was a thrill! But walking into Studio 8A with Bill and being introduced to Dan Ingram, and then sitting down and watching them work changed my life! By the time we left the building at midnight, I’d followed Bill to WPLJ’s studios for his air shift there, seen him work in News Control, had dinner in Studio 8A with Cousin Brucie, and for the first time in the 20 years of my life, I knew what I wanted to do….I was going to be a Radio Engineer!!

So, that’s where this whole wild ride started. Now that I had a direction, I finished college with a BA in Music, went to the legendary Announcer Training School for their FCC prep course, passed the FCC test and got my First Class Radio/Telephone license and started off in the world of New York City radio. My first job in New York was at 1050 WHN, and it was there that I got my introduction to the folks that work in radio, and I learned a lot. There was advice from an old salesman (never pass up the opportunity to pee or refuse the offer of a breath mint), from a senior maintenance engineer (in this business there’s always someone who’s willing to do your job for less), and it was at WHN where I learned the phrase, “It’s better than working for a living”….and truly it has been. From my April, 1972 start till now, there was 4 years at WHN, a brief 7 month visit to WOR Radio, and then for 40 years, WABC was my home, including being there for the last 6 years of it being known as Musicradio 77. It’s been a great life, filled with a lot of fun, and populated by some wacky radio folks, which means I’ve got a lot of stories of three great New York radio stations, and the people I met, and the adventures we had along the way. There will be stories of “normal” life outside the world of radio too, but radio has been my life since April 17, 1972, and it will always be here as my anchor and I know I’ll come back to it over and over again as I spin my tales. You may have heard some of them before, but I hope you’ll find them all interesting. But if you do or don’t, I know I’ll have a good time recalling them, and remembering that in 44 years of radio, more times than not, it’s been better than working for a living!

frank delia

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1 Response to How did I get here?

  1. Pingback: Radio Stories…5 Radio Stations…WCWP | It's Better Than Working For A Living!

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