When I was first hired as an on-air radio personality right out of high school, my Mom, although she would support whatever I chose to do, told me that DJs were a dime a dozen. Now that I am older I understand that even though she broke my heart back then, she didn’t mean to. She was being my Mother, only wanting what was best for me, not believing radio would be a sustainable career path.
I have been very fortunate with my career path over the last 15 years. I have many stories to share and have had many opportunities that I will never forget. With that said, I have seen many of my friends, colleagues and acquaintances in the radio industry not have the luck I have had, even though most were far more talented.
It is a tough business, and Mom was absolutely right. There have been days when I told myself I should have listened to her. I have been given my papers and told that my services were no longer needed. I have had chances to do other things that would make more money, but I know I would not have been as happy.
Very few stories out there affect me the way that Ted Williams, the homeless radio veteran from Columbus, has. I do not know Ted and have never met him, yet I feel this strong connection to him based on a business that we both love. In Ted’s voice you can hear the same passion and zest that all of us in this industry have for what we do, even after he faced almost 20 years of hard times. He was once in a profession that was a dime a dozen, and as he was looking for a dime on the cold streets he hit the jackpot.
I am so happy for Ted and I hope he turns this 15 minutes-of-fame second chance into a career that will last as long as he wants it to.
That could be any of us, you know? Down and out, knowing that we have something to offer the World, as many in the World pass us by and offer us nothing.
Ted’s “Golden Voice” is being heard again, not because of what he said but because of what he wrote on a cardboard sign. I know that I will read those signs a little more carefully from now on, and not just drive by. Who knows whom I might discover?