Radio firsts

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I have written much of my colorful youth and there are many stories to share, but I don't think I've yet told you about my earliest radio career. The year was 1967 and I wanted more than anything to be a rock and roll disc jockey with all the supposed benefits: women, fame, and fortune (and in that order). But I was instead pursuing higher education, not because I wanted one, but because it was a better option than being drafted. California's Fullerton Junior College had a radio announcer's course taught by a Mr. Thompson, who had himself never been on the radio. Though not ideal, this seemed a natural foot in the door towards my lifelong goals–commensurate with the honest desires of most 18 year old males. So I sat at attention with thirty others taking notes on diction, history, technique and everything that mattered not when it came to being a DJ. Little did I care of Emile Berliner and his invention of the microphone, or Marconi's, or Sarnoff's and the others, long dead. But that was the first semester. Semester two was sitting at the control board playing records and being a DJ–not on the radio, but into a loudspeaker broadcasting to the rest of the class. Lame. It was real radio, girls, adulation and riches I was after, not playing music into a speaker for 29 other 18 year old males lusting after the same things. Another inmate, Ed Robbie, told me he had actually built an AM transmitter and all he lacked to go on the air was an audio control board. I knew enough electronics to build one and spent the summer conspiring with Lance on a real radio station, something Mr. Thompson and his loudspeaker could never compete against. My second year at FJC found me petitioning the school board for an audience. More tomorrow.
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Paul McGowan

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