MY RADIO ERAS
From KiD MaRCoNi to "national radio treasure" Could it be the end of an era in radio
I was obsessed with radio as a kid. I created makeshift radio stations and pretended to be a DJ since I was a husky teen. I was "Jon E. Logan" and "Arizona Davidson" on my bedroom radio stations.
(cringe level 5000)
I’ve been in radio my entire adult life and my only non radio job as a kid was at El Pollo Loco, boiling corn for like 3 weeks my senior year. So my knowledge outside of the radio industry is very limited.
I started out in Tucson right out of high school. I was known as “KiD” Marconi back then. I worked with Jimmy Kimmel and some of my lifelong radio friends and heroes there.
(Mojo, John Peake, Bruce St. James, Betsy Bruce, The Manic Hispanic, Shannon Black, Tim & Willy and so many more)
Eventually I moved to Oregon and ended up on (KKNU, KAKT, KNRQ, KKRZ, KNRK +) a Portland radio station called KUFO. It was an incredible experience and I worked there with a multitude of bosses, Dave Numme, Mike Tierney, Chris Patyk and Ditch and under two different owners CBS RADIO and ALPHA MEDIA. I was afternoons, nights and even part of the morning show at one point. I got to interview some of the biggest names in rock. Ozzy Osbourne stopped by the station once for an interview and it was one of the best days of my life. He smelled terrific. He wore a special cologne his wife Sharon had made for him.
Sadly the station changed formats and I was once again looking for a new home. Luckily a few of my friends from Portland had moved to Denver to work at a network called Westwood One. I was hired to do evenings on their Rock 2.0 and Classic Rock 24/7 national formats on stations across the country.
But in 2015 I was offered a job in Chicago at Q101 by Program Director Troy Hanson that was too good to pass up. An iconic alternative radio station. (sidenote when I worked there they were in their “101 WKQX” era) It was a dream job. For the few years that my keycard worked it was incredible. I got to do high profile interviews at Lollapalooza and Riot Fest and entertain the masses as the host of nights in the greatest city in the world. In 2016 the night the Cubs won the World Series I was on the air and was joined by morning show rockstar and mega Cubs fan Lou Lombardo. We stayed on the air celebrating until 4 am. It was magical.
Then once again near the end of 2017 I fell victim to budget cuts. Thankfully because I left Westwood One on great terms I was welcomed back with open arms. I even got to work out of the same studios as Q101 so the best part was I DIDN’T HAVE TO MOVE!! The job at WWO was great. I worked with some incredible people. My boss Cheri Marquart is a legend!! I also got to reconnect with listeners from all across the country again as I returned to my previous timeslot in the evening.
As we all experienced, in March of 2020 everything changed. The pandemic relagated me to working exclusively from home and I became quite addicted to it. I did not miss taking the L! The Redline after hours is not fun.
During this time while still working for the network I started doing a podcast with my friend and fellow WWO co-worker Eddie Barella. We called it Mood Killers. We started it just for fun but with the idea that we might one day make it into a syndicated morning radio show. (potential affiliates click here)
In 2022 like many businesses post pandemic WWO had cutbacks, my position was to be eliminated. I was allowed to finish two weeks and was deemed eligible for re-hire. LOOK AT ME GROWING!!
Once again the search for new employment began. First I auditioned with THE WORLD FAMOUS KROQ in Los Angeles for a spot on their morning show. As many auditions go you don’t always get the part but it helped me feel confident that something good would happen very soon!! It had to right?? I also interviewed for afternoons on WDRV "97.1 FM The Drive - Chicago's Classic Rock". Program Director Keith Hastings said I was in the top candidates for the job and I was so excited that this could be it!! A chance to work with a legend at the biggest station in town. But alas it wasn't meant to be.
(here's a demo from some fillins I did in 2009)
As the saying goes you “get by with a little help from your friends”. Mine really came through for me and I am still working with some of them today. I truly learned how great and supportive people can be.
I am the creative imaging voice at idobi radio. A fantastic company that I’ve worked with since 2013 and my role has only increased over the years. I truly love everyone there.
Then I joined another network radio company part time. Local Radio Networks. Made up of many of my co-workers from my previous network job. VP of Programming Chris Reeves is one of them and he is the best human you will ever meet!!
In addition to a few other side jobs things were looking pretty great.
In 2022 shortly after I was released from my network show my friend and former Westwood One VP John Paul who had become a radio station owner in Longview Washington was starting a new rock radio station like KUFO used to be and we thought maybe Mood Killers would be a great fit as his morning show! Unfortuinately for him he agreed. Thus my era on 101-5 The Blitz was born. In addition my former KUFO co-worker Porkchop would be doing afternoons!! I was thrilled.
Since starting on May 16th 2022 we’ve been filling the local Longview, Kelso, WA audience with joy and encrouging them to "Stay Anal" weekday mornings 6-10. Our dream of making Mood Killers a morning staple was starting to become a reality. Now that we were on our first station we decided we wanted to build a network with the goal of making Mood Killers a nationally syndicated morning show.
We dilligently studied every word of the master works of Randy "R-Dub" Willams book "Go Syndicate Yourself!"
We are proud of the progress we’ve made so far, but like anything it takes time. While this is still like our indie film passion project it is lots of fun working with creative people. Everyone at The Blitz has been great.
Thankfully Eddie and I are both dedicated and willing to work hard to see it through.
In the meantime I am looking for work I can do while building this dream. I don’t know what that work is and as a person that has never had a job outside of radio much less had to apply for a job in my life I am at a loss for even where to start.
From audio imaging, digital marketing, social media, graphic design I am skilled at different levels in them all. Either way I will definitely be writing about my experiences in some form in the future. I'm excited to see where my first possibly adventure away from radio takes me.
The main issue I've seen with many radio jobs these days and the reason I have not been eager to just take another job in another town to stay in the business has been that stations want you to move your entire life to a place you don't know for less than a livable wage. At some point you have to decide it's enough.
Some companies are willing to work with you remotely but see multiple side jobs as an issue or feel you are too busy for them. While others want exclusivity but aren't willing to make that possible financially.
Many others would happily replace radio DJs with an air fryer if they could. It's only a matter of time!
While I still have hope for radio, I see it dwindling. There’s still a great audience to connect with and still some great owners out there too. I am determined to stay in it in some form with what small spark of hope I have left. It’s scary to think of my life beyond radio. I hope I will be able to stay a little while longer.
Thanks to everyone that’s ever listened, followed me on social media, hired or worked with me. I wouldn’t be who I am without you. I am grateful for the experience of a lifetime.
I hope you will join me in what could be my final era in radio.
Marconi Bologna ® Copyright © 2023
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National radio teasure as heard on Q101 Chicago, Westwood One, Mood Killers and idobi radio