Stories Told

Everybody wants to know where Jimmy has gone

Not only has it been 18 years since I moved to Indianapolis, but it’s also been 18 years since I’ve been on the radio.

I’ve written about my brief broadcasting career many times because it remains a proud, fond memory. As a boy, I wanted to be the voice coming out of the radio speaker. I got my chance in college, and parlayed that experience into two part-time gigs on commercial stations.

After I moved here, I sent an audition tape to every station in town that advertised for part-time talent. None of them bit. Only one station bothered to send me a rejection letter, which kindly said that I might have been fine for Terre Haute, but I wasn’t ready for Indianapolis. I decided to let that end my radio career.

But I still remember the fun I had. And I have lots of aircheck tapes, all of which I digitized a few years ago so I can enjoy those memories anytime.

For my last show, I asked the program director to schedule a certain song coming out of my last break, a song new that year from The Allman Brothers Band. Its first two lines seemed appropriate:

Everybody wants to know where Jimmy has gone
He left town, I doubt if he’s coming back home

Here’s the audio I recorded of that last break. You’ll hear me talk after a song and start the first commercial. Then you’ll hear the end of the last commercial in that break – and then you’ll hear me sign off for good.

I walked out of the building and out of radio forever. I listened to the rest of the song in my car as I drove home.

And then there was the time I was humiliated live on the air. Read that story.


14 thoughts on “Everybody wants to know where Jimmy has gone

    • I hate blubbering and boo-hooing goodbyes from media people! But also, I was just a part-timer, with one shift a week. I didn’t figure anybody would really notice I was gone. That I did a goodbye at all was mostly for myself.

  1. Lone Primate says:

    I keep forgetting how good you sounded on the radio till you play these things. You really sounded like a complete natural to me. It’s hard to imagine people on the radio as ‘real people’. They’re the radio! :) So you quit being the radio and become a real person again in Indianapolis.

    Funny. Obviously I wasn’t a listener in Terre Haute, but even hearing this makes me kind of sad. Must have been a sudden splash of cold water for the folks who’d come to think of you as the voice of WZZQ for their slice of the day. Did you ever hear from anyone about it?

    And it should be “W-Zed-Zed-Q”, by the way. ;D

    • Thanks LP! As a part-timer, I’m pretty sure listeners were only vaguely aware of who I was. (The full-timers were fairly well known, in contrast.) So I heard not a word from anyone about my leaving. Once in a while when I was back visiting in Terre Haute, wearing my station jacket, someone would come up to me and ask if I worked at WZZQ and when I gave them my name, I just got a blank look back.

      And let’s be real. The American way of pronouncing our call letters is totally rock ‘n roll.

  2. Great sign off!…I wish i had thought to record my last break…But i was in a hurry and i had to leave WZZQ before i changed my mind…My last song was Shooting Star’s “Last Chance”…Because i truly believed it was…my last chance to get away alive.

    • So many of us in radio don’t get to prep for a last show – circumstances lead to hasty or unplanned exits. I’m lucky I got to do this one.

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