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 THE DISC JOCKEYS


Charlie Mills
 

Radio people have at least one thing in common. Great stories. Charlie Mills tells one here about his debut in the biz. 'My very first on-air job was in Vineland, New Jersey. Back around 1972-73. I didn't get much sleep the night before because I was the new morning guy. Needless to say I was quite stressed and scared. The station owner told me I needed to bring my old records because the station did not have a music library. I left my home real early to get organized. I made the 30 mile drive and pulled into the parking lot at the same time the FM jock arrived. The AM/FM combo was off-air from Midnight to 6 AM and I was to meet the FM guy because he had the key. I entered the AM studio, looked around and thought, 'Wow, this is really cool'. I got all my records organized, put together some news and weather gathered from the morning newspaper (no AP/UPI wire service at the station) and looked at the board. 'Pretty simple', I said aloud. I looked at the clock and prepared to turn on the transmitter. I followed the instructions and watched the filament tubes glow. I heard the 'hum' of carrier on the monitor and by now I really felt this was a done deal. I grabbed the 'Star-Spangled Banner' cart, placed it in the machine (only one machine!!!!), and started the cart. It was 3 minutes long so I had time to cue up my first record. I planned on Elvis' version of 'Early Mornin' Rain'. I placed the album on the turntable, grabbed the tone arm, and suddenly with a great panic in my heart, I realized the stylus was gone. Quickly I grabbed the album and placed it on the second turntable. NO NEEDLE!!! This is truly the worst nightmare a jock can experience. The 'Star Spangled Banner' cart ended and I hit the cart again, telling the audience that I am patriotic and 3 minutes is not enough each day to honor the country. I ran to the FM studio and asked the jock why the studio was without needles. He told me the owner never buys them and that each jock must bring their own. I thought he was joking but he wasn't. I felt I was in some 'Outer Limits' type TV show. Luckily, the FM jock allowed me to borrow one of his 'extras' for the morning. So, I had to talk between each record in order to switch them. This folks, believe it or not, was REAL radio, FUN radio, PASSIONATE radio. Yes, even 'memorable'. My deepest gratitude to Tom Russell, the FM jock, for the extra stylus!' After that experience, Charlie stayed in the Vineland area for several years before landing a midday position in September, 1976 at WOND-WOGM-FM in Atlantic City. By April of the following year, Charlie crossed the street to another Atlantic City combo, WIBG-AM/WSLT-FM. There he was PD and on-air playing Oldies & Top 40. 2 years later, Mills went part-time in Philadelphia at 95 WPEN. By the summer of '79, Charlie began what was to be a 20 year run at the legendary Philly AM outlet. By the end of '98, Charlie left Philly and headed 20 miles down I-95 for a stint in Wilmington, Delaware as Harley James at WJBR-FM playing AC. A few months later, he added a weekend gig at New Jersey 101.5 (Talk/Oldies) in Trenton. By the Spring of '99, Charlie figured, 'Why Stay Up North?' So it was only fitting that he moved to Florida to work at W(hy)S(tay)U(p)N(orth)-FM in Tampa. He became PD of the Oldies outlet. Today, Charlie Mills is President of MillsMedia, through which auspices his voice is heard on spots from New York to Miami. Why not E-mail Charlie at millsmedia@aol.com?

  

 
     

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