In 1977, springtime to be precise, I decided to try to get into radio. I had heard a station on the S.U. campus called WJPZ. It was a station you could only hear on the S.U. campus and via the cable tv "channel guide" which is how I became acquainted with it. I had heard a jock on JPZ by the name of "Jay Weed." An appropriate name for the 70s I think. Anyway, this guy was so bad, I thought "man I sound better than him."
So I called the GM...a guy named Mike Roberts
...you might be familiar with him. We had a meeting and he "hired" me on the spot to do 7-midnight for JPZ during the summer of '77. I was fresh out of high school and the job paid an AMAZING amount of money. It paid nothing actually, but allowed me to get my feet wet in broadcasting. So I did the shift for a couple of months, following an amazing jock named Jeff Bennett, who was blind. He was amazing to watch.
In the later part of the summer, Mike Roberts, who worked the weekend all night shift at WHEN, was asked to fill in doing afternoons and apparently the PD, Bob Carolin, was having a hard time coming up with someone to work Mike's all night shift. So one day, Mike asked me if I'd like to work at WHEN filling in. Of course I said yes. I was absolutely TERRIFIED. Working at a REAL radio station? I was a rookie. The days leading up to my debut on WHEN were extremely stressful. I worried about it non stop. When the night arrived, I was shocked to see my professor at S.U., Rick Wright doing 7-mid that night. Man, they must have REALLY been shorthanded!!! So as nervous as I was, Rick was being Rick, and here was how he introduced me at 11:56pm on that Saturday night.
"Ladies and gentlemen, our next superstar here at WHEN has just arrived in his limo. He got off his private Lear jet just an hour ago from the coast and he is here to entertain you all night here on 62 WHEN, the Entertainer....it's SUPERSTAR Vic Johnson folks...he's coming up next...."
When I head this intro, I don't think I moved for about a minute. After that build up, I was doomed to failure. But I moved into the control room and tried to get ready. Mike was there, coaching me, and trying to get Rick the hell out of there before he made me even more nervous. (By the way, Roosevelt "Rick" Wright turned out to be my favorite professor at S.U. over the years. A truly awesome teacher and "broadcasta") Mike informed me casually that I'd have to do the news all night too. Renda Kimball, the news lady had all of my newscasts prepared complete with "actualities "that I would have to insert. HUH? Nobody told me about doing the news. I had never done news before...ever. This added to the stress. Finally...airtime. Surprisingly, I didn't do that badly for a first shift. Yeah, my voice cracked a few times and I stumbled through those newscasts but they actually had me back to do MORE weekend fill in work.
I left for awhile the next year, to get a weekend day shift at WFBL, but eventually found my way back to "62" the next year to work weekend day shifts. I worked with Tom Owens and Jay Walker either preceding them or following them on the weekends. Eventually, I accepted the 7-midnight job full time and stayed until 1984, when I accepted a job at Y-94 to fill in doing middays for Kathy Rowe while she was out on maternity leave. I stayed until the fall of '84 at Y94, then moved to California to work mornings in Monterey, CA from '85-'90.THAT was a great gig. Lots of perks and LOTS of very beautiful California girls. I was 25 and in heaven. I eventually made my way to Seattle after stops in Tampa and Reno, and I've been here at the top AC in Seattle for 18 years doing afternoon drive. And I owe it all to Mike Roberts and "the galloping ghost from coast to coast"...Mr. Rick Wright for that awesome introduction on a hot summer night back in 1977.
Vic "Will" Johnson - 2012