5 O’Clock Free Ride With Doc Watson

Photo by KirstenKrupps.com
Photo by KirstenKrupps.com

Growing Up: Born the youngest (by far) of six kids at the tail end of the Baby Boomer generation, I grew up with Classic Rock – just plain old rock and roll as it was known then – on AM, then FM Detroit rock radio. My older siblings loved rock and always had albums and 45’s spinning on the turntable, a solid indoctrination to the greatest music ever made. I didn’t have to buy an album ‘til my junior year in high school.

Miscellaneous Youth: Early on, my home was hectic, filled with people. By the time I’d reached middle school, all my siblings were more or less gone, leaving me with an only child experience. When I was very young, I once was rushed to the emergency room after shoving Trix cereal up my nostrils and being unable to pull them out. I got lost in a foreign country – in Montreal at the Expo ’67 World Fair. The crowd on the mono rail separated me from my family and I rode the train for a bit before my family found me. Not all was bad. I was voted student of the year when I left my elementary school in 6th grade. Around that time, I won an area football punt, pass and kick contest, though I didn’t play football until my senior year.

Nickname:  Known as “Doc” since 9th grade baseball season. The new coach didn’t know me, and I’d missed tryouts with chicken pox.  He kept me on the team, but benched me for the first half of the season. Rather than get pissed, I opted to be the bench clown, adapting a cheesy German accent and nickname: “Dr. J. Leaky,” answering the guys’ questions about girls and sports while flirting with the opposing team’s scorekeeper. Most of my fellow students wrongly thought the nickname derived from Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson. I didn’t mind. I was just happy to carve out an adolescent niche for myself out of obscurity.

On air: Got a late start in broadcasting. I spent too many years earning two-thirds of a journalism degree – wanted to be the next great sports writer – before money grabbing and becoming a blue collar guy for a few years. I was 26 by time I cracked a radio mic on air for the first time (“Good morning, Big Rapids!), taking a 25K pay cut in the process.  I’ve been lucky to mix my loves of music and sports throughout my career. In addition to my GLO Classic Rock duties, I team up with former Illini lineman and Peoria Pirates assistant coach, Tony Johnson, to broadcast The Red Zone Game of the Week, high school football each fall.

Roots:  My wife, Linda, and I were living in Toledo when we got engaged in a hot air balloon over Howell, MI.  We moved the family to our adopted hometown of Peoria in 1996 to take the job with The Morning Mix, a TV/Radio simulcast show.  We liked it here, never left.

Hobbies:  I love Huskies (Saber and Vance), hockey (have played most my life and with Peoria’s oldest hockey team, Crusens, since its inception in 1997, coached and refereed), laughing with friends and playing the songs of my misguided youth.

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