For National Radio Day, A Brief History of Mark’s Radio Career
I don't know why they picked today, but today's National Radio Day. I'm starting the 39th year of my career. My dad was in the business for forty years and his Grass Roots Gold still plays on several radio stations in several states.
I hit the airwaves in July of 1982 on KMON-AM. "Serving forty-eight Montana counties and three Canadian provinces." My shift started at midnight and went until six a.m. I also did a remote broadcast every Saturday from McCullom Modern RV's, then worked Sunday mornings playing all of the religious programming. My first schedule gave me every fifth Sunday off. But I loved what I was doing for a living. Unfortunately, I wasn't getting rich on my $600 a month salary, so I was also putting in forty hours at Godfather's Pizza, and DJing dances.
About a year and half after that, I moved to Missoula and got hired doing nights at KYSS. "3 in a row, KYSS Country." I also still worked at the Godfather's Pizza there along with dances as a side hustle and then added driving a school bus to the mix. I also got the bid one year to hang the Christmas lights on the mall that Godfather's was in.
1987 took me to East Wenatchee, Washington (the apple capital of the world), and did afternoons on KYSN Country (where it's always 98 and sunny).
Then I got the call to come to Billings in March of 1988 and I've been here ever since.
I never advise people to go into broadcasting. It is generally very low pay for on-air, especially when you're starting out. Google has the starting radio announcer wage in Montana at just a little over $32,000. I'd have to go back and look at my social security statement to see the exact year, but I'm guessing didn't make that much until my sixth or seventh year in the business.
Now, Paul and I have the best on-air jobs in the state. We're done by 10 and headed to the golf course shortly after. Well, ONE of us is anyway.