Christ, I hate writing about myself. “BIG DUMB YELLY RADIO IDIOT WHO SOMEHOW SURVIVED EACH TIME THE AXE SWUNG”
— Shaggy Matt (@ThatShaggyMatt) June 10, 2015
I wasn’t a guy who set out to get into radio. I’m not saying “the thug life chose me”, but really, I thought I was going to be a computer engineer.
But everyone grows up with radio. And growing up on the tail end of the “hookers and blow” era of the DJ life made the medium both myseriously cool and completely out of reach for a nerd growing up in Swanton, OH. I did, however, manage to end up with a pirated copy of Cool Edit 96 to fool around with — that and a cheap microphone would be my first foray into working with audio.
Enrolling in the University of Toledo, I knew right away I wanted to work in the Student Broadcasting Organization… the operators of 88.3 WXUT. I knew well enough I’d be “playing jock” while focusing on my computer science classes. Sure enough, as I spent more time in the offices inside the Student Union (and more time skipping 8am trigonometry classes), I figured I could actually make something in this field happen. I switched majors the next semester, and landed my first gig 6 months later.
14 years in radio is a lot. 14 years in the same building is simply unheard of. I started at Newsradio 1370 WSPD as a part-time board operator, running Cleveland Indians Baseball and Coast to Coast AM. That rapidly evolved to working board for both morning and afternoon shows, University of Toledo sports, and eventually being named Assistant Program Director and Sports Director. I’ve hosted pre- and post-game shows, filled in on morning talk programs, and picked up duties at sister stations inside the building: APD for Toledo’s Fox Sports 1230, and overnights on legendary rocker 104.7 WIOT.
On air, I tend to laugh a lot. I tend to be loud, but not argumentative. I’ll put myself down before I put a listener down. I don’t like to lean on catchphrases or alliteration. But I respect the medium: the relationship between a listener and a host is a one-on-one affair: TV feels like broadcasting, but radio feels like it’s just you and me. Talk radio should be the electronic backyard fence. Sports radio should be the basement of your buddy’s house with the big TV. That’s why when I hit the mic, I don’t put on a persona — I’m just the laughing guy.