To say that Saturday was an interesting day would be an understatement. I made a little bit of personal history on the 12th.
It was the day I made my live radio debut in Texas.
A few weeks ago, I received a phone call from Roy Holley, the host of Talk About Texas which airs every Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. on KLUP 930 AM out of San Antonio. Roy called and said he wanted to do a live broadcast from Gonzales promoting the city and the Hot Rods and Hatters classic car show scheduled for the weekend of Feb. 1-2.
As a major sponsor of the event, and as a big supporter of the city of Gonzales and the business community, I whole-heartedly agreed to meet with him to discuss his idea.
We met a few weeks ago for lunch at the Running M, and Roy outlined his plan to me. According to Roy, he wanted to do the Talk About Texas show live from the office of the Gonzales Inquirer. He would set up his remote equipment in the newspaper office, and then we would have three or four live guests to talk about various subjects. When pressed to name the subjects and the people he wanted to interview, Roy said he wanted to interview Mayor Connie Kacir, Tourism Director Clint Hille, Director of the EDC Genora Young, car show promoter Joel Gammage, and myself as the newspaper publisher. Roy said he wanted to talk about the history of Gonzales, the history of the newspaper, what efforts were being made on behalf of tourism and economic development in Gonzales, the Inquirer’s Craft Beer and Wine Festival, and of course, the Hot Rods and Hatters show.
It sounded good to me, so we agreed to do the show from the Inquirer office and shook hands.
Now for those of you who are wondering what the newspaper publisher is doing playing around radio, well, let me tell you: this wasn’t going to be my first rodeo.
Here’s one thing you probably don’t know about me: When I was working for various newspaper companies and associations back in Michigan, I decided about 20 years ago to start an auto racing publication that covered short track dirt and pavement racing in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio. Over the course of a few short years, the Midwest Racing Scene grew into the top racing publication in the Midwest. Out of nowhere, radio and television people were contacting me for information and asking me to come on their shows and provide weekly updates. In the early 2000s, the sports director from WJR Radio (760 AM—the great blow torch of the Great Lakes) out of Detroit asked me to be his auto racing expert and call in every Sunday night to contribute to the live program called Sports Wrap. WJR was the flagship station of the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Red Wings, Detroit Lions and the University of Michigan Football, and was a 50,000-watt juggernaut in the Midwest. It was a no brainer.
There were four sportscasters working for WJR at the time, and I got to work with all of these tremendously talented men. There was Dan Dickerson, now the voice of summer and the voice of the Detroit Tigers. Chuck Swirsky was WJR’s sports director, and he now is the voice of the Chicago Bulls. Frank Beckman was another legend at JR, and was the voice of the University of Michigan football for decades. Then there was my friend Larry Henry, who was one of the voices of the broadcast of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the track announcer at many of the top race tracks in the United States: Daytona International Speedway, Michigan International Speedway, Watkins Glen, the Milwaukee Mile, Nazareth Speedway, Indianapolis and others. I actually got to work with all of these great broadcasters for years and enjoyed every minute of it. In the mid-2000s, a radio station in Lansing, Mich. approached me to do a weekly auto racing show, and we did that for three straight years every Wednesday night on WVFN the Fan.
But it had been a few years since I had done live radio, so I was a little nervous at first. I shouldn’t have worried.
Roy Holley is a seasoned-veteran and he is a pro’s pro. On Saturday, he arrived at the newspaper at 2 p.m. and set up his equipment. At 3 p.m., Clint Hille and Genora Young showed up at the Inquirer and Roy and his assistant Sunny went through the program and reviewed the topics he was going to question us about.
Then it was 4 p.m., and we were on the air! Clint went first, and talked about the storied history of Gonzales and Come and Take It. He talked about tourism and the effort to promote Gonzales outside the community.
Then it was my turn. We talked about the long and illustrious legacy of the Gonzales Inquirer and its 165-year history. We talked about veterans, business, John Wesley Hardin and even about the coming of the second annual Gonzales Inquirer Craft Beer and Wine Festival scheduled for April 26-27.
Then it was Genora’s turn to talk about economic development and the fact that Gonzales is open for business. She talked about the BYK expansion, the expansion of Adams Extract and other possible companies locating in Gonzales. She even got to talk about JB Wells Park and the Expo Center. She hit a home run, as did Clint.
Then the show ended on a high note, with a taped interview with Joel Gammage of Hot Rods and Hatters.
The program was over in the blink of an eye, and time just flew by. When it was all said and done, Roy was beaming at how well the show went and asked to come back and do it again.
Then it was our turn to smile. Heck yes, come on back. Y’all are welcome in Gonzales anytime.
Now let that word go forth—whether it be by radio, newspaper, the internet, word of mouth—whatever. Gonzales is open for business, so come and visit and stay for a while.