Everybody wants to know where Jimmy has gone

My brief radio career ended just before Labor Day 23 years ago.

On the air at WZZQ, Terre Haute, Indiana, in 1994

I’ve written about my broadcasting days 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 to Indianapolis I sent an audition tape to every station in town. 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 the big time. I took the hint and moved on from radio forever.

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 were spot on:

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.

Eagle-eyed readers will remember this post from the first time I published it, about this time of year in 2012.


11 responses to “Everybody wants to know where Jimmy has gone”

  1. Dan Cluley Avatar
    Dan Cluley

    I can’t recall the last time I heard that song, and I’m reminded how much I liked the Allmans in those days, and it made for a very clever signoff.

    About that same time, there was a station in Mid-Michigan that one day at noon switched from a country format to pop/rock.

    They played back to back: I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool, All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight, and It’s the End of the World As We Know It.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Nothing like radio station format transitions! I remember one station that played TV sitcom themes for a week as part of a format change.

  2. Heide Avatar

    “I have been and will continue to be Jim Grey.” That sums it up beautifully! You may no longer be on the air, but you continue to entertain and inform us through your wonderful blog, Jim. Still, it’s a pity you didn’t get any takers in Indianapolis — you have a great voice and on-air presence. I think the people of Indianapolis were robbed. :)

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      My favorite part of my signoff was “coming up next over most of this radio station,” a line I stole from a DJ on a station in my home town. You have to be a certain age or older to remember when they would say on TV, “coming up next over most of these CBS stations.”

      1. Heide Avatar

        I am indeed of enough age to remember when networks still touted the fact that they were a network, Jim. But I like your (borrowed) adaptation of that line even more than the original. Very clever!

  3. J P Cavanaugh Avatar

    You remind me that there was a time when we developed a relationship with our favorite radio DJs. Those days are long gone, but I remember that feeling I would get when one would sign off for good. And because I tended to seek out oddball stations, that happened fairly frequently.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I can still remember the names of my favorite DJs from my teenagerhood. JK Dearing. Julie McKay. Steve Delaney. Jon Thompson (who is, unbelievably, still doing mornings on that station).

  4. bodegabayf2 Avatar

    Perfect timing on a radio post.

    I was just thinking over this Labor Day weekend that my radio jobs were…the best jobs I ever had. The pay stunk, but working on the radio, when radio was still live and real, was a blast!

    I signed off for the last time 31 years ago playing (not for any significance other than because it came up in rotation) Deacon Blues by Steely Dan on KBBC-FM in Phoenix. I thought about that this weekend as well when hearing the news of Walter Becker’s passing.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Yes, radio was so much fun when it was live! We still have one station that does it pretty much the old way where I live, but the rest are all owned by Clear Channel or Entercom and there’s no fun in any of it.

      I was happy that the song I wanted to play as my exit was a current at the time. The PD was good with slotting it out of my last :50 break. I dropped the song he scheduled after it, however, so I could play the album cut of this song with its long outro.

  5. DougD Avatar

    I like listening to your old radio bits.

    You did it, and “I used to do that” sure sounds a lot better than “I always wished I’d done that”

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I was lucky I got to do it!

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