16 years ago today, I made my debut in talk radio. Sometimes it seems so much longer than that. Other times it feels like just the other day.
This date is very special to me. You see, my debut was the culmination of a resolution I had made to myself in the beginning of 1994.
My resolution was to have my own talk radio show.
Most of those around me scoffed at the idea. I had never hosted a show before. Even IF it were to happen for me, it would no doubt be in a very TINY radio market somewhere in a cornfield in the middle of nowhere.
That's what I was told. It was NEVER what I BELIEVED.
This wasn't the story I was going to tell. No offense to the many who HAVE started in tiny markets or who currently reside on the airwaves of said places.
But my dream was to debut right where I entered this crazy world--in San Francisco.
I got even MORE scoffs at that dream. You see, San Francisco is the 4th largest radio market in America, only behind New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago.
San Francisco's market position inclues over SIX MILLION people ages 12+ in the greater Metro area. Nothing to sneeze at.
Sure, I was aiming high. But I wanted to prove to others (and mostly to myself) that I could do it.
My boss at the time called me into his office with only a few days remaining in the year of 1994.
"We're starting a new format this weekend. How would you like to host your own show?" he asked as I darted up in the chair across from his desk.
I was overwhelmed with complete and utter joy. I can still remember the excitement of telling my parents and I remember the exact corner liquor store I ran into to buy as many newspapers as I could to prep for my debut.
I can honestly say that I have never lost that love for radio in all of these 16 years. The industry has changed, and honestly not always for the better.
But there is nothing I could ever imagine doing other than this.
To make this day even more special, you need to understand that even though it was a resolution fulfilled--it was also a dream realized from the tender age of 11 or 12.
That's how old I was when I fell in love with talk radio. I grew up with the greats on the San Francisco Airwaves.
From legendary DJs like Dr. Don Rose and Bobby Ocean to the talk icons like Jim Eason and Lee Rogers. These guys were my mentors.
I wanted to do what they did. I wanted to take to the airwaves and talk to the people. More people in one week than I would ever meet in a year.
There's a magic to this craft of mine. The way a voice can travel across the ether and end up keeping you company in your living room or bedroom or office or car. A friend you might not ever meet, but who will meet up with you on a daily basis--maybe the only certainty you might have in an otherwise chaotic day.
Day in and day out. Year after year.
I've lost a lot of hair since I was that 12 year old starry eyed kid in front of his parents radio. But I've gained a legion of listeners that I am forever grateful for.
And even better times are ahead.
This Sunday also marks another anniversary--my 5th Anniversary on Fox Newstalk. And in fact, the 5th Anniversary for the whole channel. I remember the sold out phones from the first show and many of you are still with me today.
I sometimes wonder where all the naysayers are now. The ones who laughed at my dream. The ones who said I was an idiot for having it. The ones who said I would never make it.
Remember, success is the greatest revenge. Do what others say you cannot do. And do it as well as you can and with all of your heart and soul. Don't try to be the next Somebody Else. Aim to be the first YOU.
Thanks to my father and my late mother for always nurturing my delicate radio dreams. For telling me I could do anything in life as long as it was honest and what I truly wanted to do. They knew I would get here.
Thanks to my wife--my amazing Sarah--for helping new dreams come to fruition and for keeping me up when I am feeling myself getting down.
Thanks to my 6 amazing kids who can't understand why I am not on television and making millions of dollars. HAHA.
Thanks to my bosses who took a chance on me when others did not. They gave me the ultimate opportunity to succeed.
And thanks to all of YOU. It would be a silly, lonely gig to be chatting out into a sea of nothingness.
Although I can't see you out there, I feel your pulse. I can almost hear it when you pound the dashboard or the counter in protest or in agreement with my words.
Whether you've been with me since that first thrilling debut16 years ago or are just discovering me today, thanks a million.
Here's to the next 16 years.
Happy New Year, my friends.