Iowans, Want to See a Small Sample of 9 Years in Radio? [PHOTOS]
As of June 1, I have had the privilege of being part of a radio station for 9 straight years. 8 and 3/4 of those years were spent in the small-ish town of Winona, Minnesota. I say small-ish because town size is all relative. To some people, a town of about 30,000 is huge and to others, it might be really small. I was lucky to learn what it was like to have amazing radio moments, moments that were frustrating, moments of panic, and moments of success. I really hope to make it to year 10 with you here in Iowa.
Here was my very first day at my first job. It's crazy to see how much the studio changes over the years. The board we used to run the station was ancient when I got there and that was 9 years ago. It has since been upgraded into a much more modern-looking radio board.
Every year we would host a "bridal and fashion show." We looked forward to this every year because we'd get to dress up in these amazing suits and borrow them for the weekend. I still love that silver vest and bowtie combo.
I ended up making a lot of friends who worked at schools. Whether they were teachers, principals, janitors, or coaches, I always had an in with the schools around town. Every year for reading month I would go to an elementary school/s and read to students. I don't want to say never, but I doubt I would've been able to be a part of this without being in the radio world.
In the bottom left of this picture, you can see we did eventually upgrade the studio board. We even got brand new microphones. It was pretty exciting back then!
One of my favorite parts of being a radio host is how many people you get to meet. My buddy Tyler (co-worker) and I worked a lot with a local bank. We worked with them so much over the years that these bankers dressed up like us for Halloween one year. I still tell people I was once someone's Halloween costume to this day.
You've maybe never heard of #FlannelFridays... but this could be one of my favorite "radio bits" I've ever created. I started doing this with my chemistry teacher when I was 16 years old and in high school. I brought this idea to the radio station and it took over a good part of my life. I would have businesses give me flannels with their logo on them, and companies send me pictures of their offices filled with people wearing flannels. I even had an elementary school that decided to do a "National Gabe Day" and every student wore flannels. I was good friends with the principal and her family so maybe that's cheating. I thought it was awesome anyway.
The local Culvers started doing Flannel Fridays with me. If you were wearing flannel on a Friday, you got 2 dollars off of your custard scoop.
The Flannel grind never stops. Look at what I'm looking up on the computer!
To keep this story as short as I can, I once stayed on a scissor lift, in early March, 50 feet off the ground, for 52 hours straight. I ate there, I slept there, I did all of my radio broadcasts from there, and it was an experience I'll take with me for the rest of my life. We teamed up with our local Hyvee to try and raise money for the local fire department. They needed the fundraiser to buy these infrared cameras that would attach to their masks. This equipment piece would help them to see people easier if they were to enter a burning building/house and help them save more lives. I could do an entire story on this experience alone. It really gave me a perspective on the power of radio. People would cheer me on, bring me food, and honk as they drove by. It was a pretty miserable experience if I'm being honest, up until this moment. When we were able to present the check it all felt worth it. Hyvee and the firefighters had my back the entire way and I couldn't have done it without them. For a chunk of time, I was known as "the scissor lift guy" instead of the radio guy.
All of that has led up to this point. My first 3 months in Iowa have been incredible and my new co-workers have been so nice and extremely helpful. It's a lot to take in when you get a new job and they've answered every question I've had.
This is just a smidgeon of all of the pictures and moments I could write about and show you. At least now you do have a little inside scoop of what my life has been like for the past 9 years. I'm grateful for radio, I'm proud to be in Iowa, and I hope to keep going as long as you'll have me. On to year 10!