I’ve always been the person whose looked at this world through a different eye. I knew I was different. Nobody else ever cared about what was happening on TV or the backstory behind the new song on the radio. But ever since I can remember I’ve had a fascination with the media. From television, to music, to written work and beyond. If I can get my hands on it, my eyes and ears tuned in, I want to immerse myself in it. Maybe it’s the respect I have for other artists and their passion to have their story heard. It could be the patriot inside of me that reminds me to never take our first amendment freedoms for granted.
I best describe my childhood as viewed through the lenses of many of those cheap disposable cameras. I could spend hours combing through boxes and boxes of old shots printed by the one-hour photo shop down the road from where I live. There’s always been that creative spark in me. A desire to tell a story. A desire to share a story. In one form or another, everyone has a story to be told. That’s the magic of the media, whether it’s a physical or emotional connection, there’s the power to bring people together.
High-school was when I decided what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. Sure, I took a slight detour into wanting to become a chef… I like food… but I didn’t want to get cooped up in an old kitchen for the rest of my life. I love to travel and experience new things too much to settle down for one view for the rest of my life. So, I took every multimedia class my school could offer. I dabbled in digital photography, video production, and journalism. Using programs like Final Cut Pro, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator and Adobe InDesign. I became the Editor-In-Chief of the school’s newspaper and a certified Adobe associate in Photoshop. I learned skills here that have carried on with me throughout the rest of my life.
At college I studied communications to further the work I already begun. Norwich University is where I first received experience in the broadcast world. I hosted a two-hour radio show on the university’s WNUB. Every Tuesday night the 285-watt station would turn to a country format while I was behind the wheel.
I didn’t realize what I found in myself here until that first semester began to come to a close. When you put so much of yourself into producing and hosting the best possible broadcast you can…there’s a void that needs to be filled when it’s over.
That’s when I found myself traveling to my local radio station. Less than a mile from my house, I knew if there was any opportunity for me there, I could handle it on-top of my classes. (What actually turned out to be classes and my other part-time job for a while.) I remember showing up to my final exam eager to share the news with my professor. I landed my first commercial broadcast internship with Nassau Broadcasting that would begin with the start of the Spring semester.
Staying loyal to WNUB, I returned to my Tuesday night slot for the remainder of that year. I also hosted the overnight weekend shift on Froggy 100.9 (WWFY) during my internship. Before I knew it, spring turned into Summer. Thankfully, my determination and dedication to the businesses did me well, I turned my pay-less internship with Nassau Broadcasting into a part-time job. Filling in various shifts, from mornings through afternoons, while full-time staff took their summer vacations.
Throughout that summer, not only did I fill on-air shifts on Froggy 100.9 but also on our sister station 107.1 Frank-FM (WRFK). I took initiative to further myself within the radio group. I began mocking up potential web graphics for the company and presenting them to my management team. Like I said, I’ve always had a drive of creativity. I wasn’t about to hide my ability and natural eye. Ultimately this led to managing the websites for the Vermont cluster. I have now been developing virtually all graphic and branding materials for the Vermont group of stations for nearly five years.
That fall brought a lot of changes. With the looming bankruptcy of Nassau Broadcasting, we were all a bit uncertain about the future. Being new in this business and still in college, it was an unsettling time for me.
In January of 2013, Great Eastern Radio took over our central Vermont cluster of stations. (Including Froggy 100.9, 107.1 Frank-FM, and AM1450 WSNO.) Thankfully, my talent was recognized as well. I found my more permanent role on Froggy 100.9, hosting weekdays from 10-3 PM and a new home on Frank-FM when I took over The Late Afternoon Show weekdays from 3-7 PM. My assistance was also called upon to produce commercials for clients. That’s when I began to master Adobe Audition.
But none of this matters when you talk to folks around town. Every time I’m introduced to people, in the context of the radio station, there’s always someone in the crowd that says, “you’re the guy from Boot Scootin’ Saturday Night aren’t you?” It happens every time, I swear.
But I love it. That show has been my baby since day one.
Upon the cancellation of a nationally syndicated show, in the fall of 2013, my program director and I sat down and developed a new locally produced show with emphasis on upbeat country music.
Boot Scootin’ Saturday Night has become the soundtrack for Saturday nights in central Vermont. I feel like the show gives me the opportunity to be me without the context and restrictions of daytime radio. I love featuring new country music on the show. Giving my listeners something more than what’s already on the station at the time. I’ve got the opportunity to feature guests on the show. From national artists like Lorrie Morgan to independent artists like Elizabeth Lyons and Jay Taylor. I also love catching up with our homegrown Vermont talents like comedian Rusty DeWees and Jamie-Lee Thurston. Boot Scootin’ Saturday Night is and always will be a place to kick back and have a good time. Almost as if I’m back to my WNUB roots with flashier sweepers and intros.
But in all seriousness, the proudest moment I’ve had when it comes to Boot Scootin Saturday Night was when it hit #1 in the Neilson ratings. Imagine that, a 20-something-year-old kid with a dream now has the #1 radio show on Saturday night virtually throughout the entire state of Vermont. Crazy.
Throughout all of this, I was still going to school part-time and working an additional part-time job that I held since high-school. The opportunity finally came for me to go full-time with the the radio stations. I saw this as the chance to free up my schedule and allow myself more time to focus on my course work. I truly am very grateful for Great Eastern Radio’s flexibility with my schedule between going to school and putting in my work hours. Their cooperation certainly played a huge role in the completion of my degree in communications and continuing to do what I love.
Of all the stories I could tell, I think my proudest moment in the last five years was when I was recognized by the Vermont Association of Broadcasters for a public service announcement I had produced earlier in the spring. It came as a shock to win first place in the category at the annual seminar. I didn’t even know our manager had entered the piece in. The spot, called “Last Mile Ride,” promotes a fundraiser by Gifford Hospital in Randolph, VT. The funds raised benefit those in end-of-life care at the hospital.
These last few years leave me speechless. This is only the beginning of the journey I’m on. As you see, I set short, long, and mid-term goals and work until the job is done. You only get one life to live. I am humbled by where I’ve come from and hope that this is only the beginning. To the kid trying to find himself and figure out where he’s going in life, stay true to your roots. It’s easy to get distracted in all the noise of this world. Never let it overbear the power of determination and a dream.