“I tried Grammarly’s plagiarism checker free of charge because I know that irregardless is NOT a word!”
There’s often a big disparity between the jobs we have a teenagers and as adults. Whereas teenagers tend towards fast food and retail positions (because that’s all they can get hired to do), young adults begin gravitating more towards leveraging and discovering their passions and natural abilities in their work.
Part II of my work history left off with one of my best jobs ever, working at an electronics store. So what did I do after I left for college?
My memory probably isn’t as precise as I would like it to be, but I’m going to attempt to recall what happened next.
Between Freshman and Sophomore year, I believe I secured a summer position at Venture, the big-box department store I referred to earlier.
But between Sophomore and Junior year, a whole new world opened up to me.
My mother worked for a local advertising agency in Northbrook, Illinois. She was able to secure me a summer intern position with Robert L. Cohn and Associates. A small boutique agency, I found myself as the token young male working in an office packed with women.
I can’t remember most of what I did in this position, though I do recall learning a bit about checking commercial spots to see which aired and which didn’t. Tedious work to be sure, but I appreciated having a job and getting paid. Most of all, I think I spent time flirting with the women in the office. Yes, I even ended up dating a girl I met there, though I was no Don Draper. Ah, the days of innocence.
It was a great summer position, but then it was back to school for my upperclassman years.
It was at this time that a family member suggested that I would be good on the local radio station and asked if I had considered being a DJ.
You could have hit me with a two by four.
I was a major radio fan and grew up on Chicago AM and FM radio. Larry Lujack, Superjock, was a staple of Chicago radio, and I remember listening to him for hours on end as he counted down the Top 40.
Of course, I also grew up listening to Steve Dahl and Gary Meier. I remember watching the infamous Disco Demolition at Comiskey Park when it aired live on TV. It was a very memorable event!
Anyhow, when it was suggested that I audition for WPGU-FM, Rock 107 in Urbana/Champaign, IL, I immediately jumped on the idea.
I spent a semester cutting my teeth on the dorm radio station (WDBS) which I don’t believe anyone really listened to. But it was a great training ground and I was promoted to WPGU on-air talent fairly quickly. I ended up doing Saturday/Sunday shifts my Senior year. I loved it, but I also realized that sitting behind a microphone with a predetermined playlist was not what I had in mind. I wanted to play the music that I wanted to play!
I’ve highlighted the young punk in the photo in case you couldn’t spot me.
So it was Summer of 1985 that I secured a job at Trito’s Uptown on Green Street in Champaign. This was a restaurant/bar that had a live DJ on the weekends. I was that guy.
I had a blast playing popular and current dance and rock music at this place. It makes me sad that it no longer exists. A Google search revealed that they started having live music on certain occasions. In fact, Nirvana once played there early in their rise to stardom.
I picked up a sporadic gig at The White Horse Inn in Champaign, also on Green Street. Apparently the place went bankrupt in 2007 and reopened in a new location a year later. The DJ booth at this place was barely large enough for an adult to sit inside. Those were the days!
My taste for playing music to a live crowd had been whet. And when I graduated from college in May 2006, I knew I had to find my fame and fortune doing precisely that. To be continued…