Alan Peterson - Former Air Personality
62WHEN Radio Syracuse, NY
"In His Own Words"
In the late '70s I worked retail music sales for the Sam Ash company in NYC. Having done a year on my college FM station before that, my true passion was in radio
performance. So when my girlfriend at SUNY Oswego told me there were a zillion local stations in upstate NY and getting that first radio job should be easy, I packed
the VW and headed north in early 1979.
I started at WSGO Oswego, but noticed the one station everyone had on was 62 WHEN; fast, fun and upbeat, WHEN was the kind of station where I knew I'd fit in.
But it took until 1988 before I got a toe in the door. Coming off a bad experience with WHYN in Massachusetts and finding myself unemployed, I sent a package
off to Bob Carolin and waited to see what would happen. To my surprise, I was in! I started in early May 1988 doing middays, then got rotated to PM drive when
Don Richardson headed north to Watertown. I was having a ball - writing and producing comedy bits and song parodies, doing live appearances, softball games,
giveaways ... it was fast, fun and upbeat radio the way I liked it and couldn't wait to get to work each day.
But I came in around the time AM radio was on the ropes. AM stereo didn't catch on with the public, the FMs in town had strong talent and clean signals,
the commercial log got lighter every month, and both the WHEN music library and jingle package were stuck in the 1970s. We were all having a ball, but were
in denial over the "Entertainer" mindset (still somewhat in place, sans the name) eroding fast as the '90s beckoned. When the station tilted more in a
Full Service direction, I was shown the door Monday, April 3, 1989 and headed back to Massachusetts to regroup.
I'm in Washington DC now; engineering, producing and V/O'ing for a radio network, and writing articles and reviews for the trade publications.
My career has taken me to some amazing places, working with some amazing people. But the only place I keep going back to in my head is WHEN ---
those 11 months of wide-open-throttle creativity and passion on the station that "everybody was listening to" were magical. I'm not one of the
"legend" guys that passed through there, but WHEN was a legendary stop in my own journey.
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