One door had to close before the permanent one did…

Lord everyone around me
I’ve tried so hard to please
Till the only one unhappy
Feeling broken down is me
But things are gonna change
With each new setting sun
Starting now I’m looking out for number one

I was coming home from Albion, IL in October 2016 when I knew I wanted to make changes in my life, more like needed to. I realized that I had to or I wasn’t going to be around much longer.

Travel during the high school football season in the Black Diamond is grueling. I was almost 15 miles from the Indiana border for a regular season football game. It took me longer to get there than it did to play the actual game. I sat in my truck after Chester’s loss and realized that I was staring at another three hour road trip back home, one that I had to make alone.

I had to pull off the interstate more than once on that trip because of dizzy spells. I didn’t have anyone to hand the driving duties over to. So I just sat there and waited for my vision to clear before I continued on my journey home. Unfortunately, I had to pull off the road two more times before arriving back in a town that was fast asleep. It was well after 1am before I entered the back door of my home. It was 11 hours after I had left.

Days after that game, I visited my doctor and his words stunned me but didn’t surprise me. I was told that I had to make changes to my life, reduce my stress and start taking care of myself or else. The culprit? My heart and I was now a Type 2 diabetic.

Back when I managed, I could stay up late and process 600 photos from a sporting event. I’d get to bed around 2am or 3am and would have the alarm set for 8:45am. Didn’t have to be at work til 10. But things changed.

Now what I’m about to say may surprise you. Ever since my dad passed away in November 2014, broadcasting sports was never the same. I wasn’t enjoying myself anymore and it turned into a job.

After a road football game, Dad and I would talk about it on my way home. I’d call him at halftime too and if Chester wasn’t playing well, he would always pepper me with questions about it. Even I was in Fairfield or Cami, talking to dad made me feel like I was on the couch opposite from his recliner.

Those talks came to an end and with it my desire to broadcast sports. It was never the same. I didn’t have him to talk to. I know there were people listening but my biggest fan was gone and so was my flame.

I knew I had to slow down. Those dizzy spells on the way home from Albion wasn’t because I hadn’t ate a thing since 1pm, it turned out to be something else.

I first was told in September 2016 about a possible format change and plans to move me to the morning show and become a DJ again. I didn’t sleep for weeks after I was told. I was so excited. I started out as a DJ for KSGM in 1988 but the Flood of 1993 put that part of my career on hold. Honestly, I never thought the opportunity would come again as long as I remained in Chester.

But it did and I jumped.

What a change to my life. Instead of going to bed at 3am, I was now getting out of bed to start my day at 3am. Talk about a shock to the system. But I adjusted to that early rise-and-shine time.

I tried to continue my sports broadcasting but I couldn’t do it. As a matter of fact, it almost killed me. The last game I called on the radio, half of it I don’t even remember except for the fact that I was so weak. Someone had to follow me home to make sure I made it.

That was the end. 29 years of following Chester all over southern Illinois and sometimes into southeast Missouri was over. That chapter of my life was closing…fast.

I was up for the challenge of putting together a morning show, playing classic country music. I grew up on music in this very house. Oh, did I mention the fact that I get to do my show from the comfort of my home studio too?

However, a lot of people in Chester couldn’t handle me changing jobs. There were some who never accepted me as a sports broadcaster for KSGM. I thought they’d be happy I was leaving the broadcast booth. Some were, others weren’t.

A lot of people change jobs daily, so why couldn’t I? I gave everything I had to Chester High School and this community and I lost thousands of dollars while doing so. No complaints there but when this new opportunity knocked, I answered with a “heck yeah!”

I never wanted to be called “the voice of the Yellow Jackets.” Never. Still don’t. I hated it. To me, that official right will always and I mean always belong to Dick Roth. I’m not one-tenth of the man that he was. He was my mentor and someone I looked up to but never, ever wanted to replace.

Some people have asked me how come the school never publicly thanked me for everything I did. They didn’t have to and I didn’t want them to.

However, they did dedicate a yearbook edition to me a couple of years ago. As great an honor that is, I really wish they hadn’t. If you get into this business looking for that kind of so-called reward, then you’re getting into it for the wrong reasons.

You get into this business because you enjoy it. You enjoy the challenges each day or each broadcast brings.

I needed a new challenge in my career and I found it with the morning show.

So after 29 years, I decided that its my time.

And that time starts now at 5am every morning and I’m having the time of my life. I will not take each morning for granted. It could all disappear in the snap of a finger and I want to make sure I won’t hear the words “what if” somewhere down the road.

Unfortunately, some people have turned their back on me, no longer speak to me and go out of their way to avoid me if they see me coming toward them. That’s fine. It does hurt a little but it also makes me realize they weren’t a friend to begin with. Just a user.

Don’t need them in my life anyway.

In less than two years, I have breathed new life into KSGM. I’ve given the area an AM morning show that is now the top rated show in the market. Other stations have dropped their morning show and replaced it with automation. So my show is the only live and local AM show in the River Region. With the owner’s blessings, I’ve reinvented KSGM. Gave it an entire new sound, new imaging and of course country music worth listening to.

The response has been overwhelming to say the least.

I thank you for allowing me into your homes broadcasting Chester sports. I hope you will continue to support my show and projects at KSGM.

Thanks for stopping by, God Bless You All and BYEEEEEEEEEEEEE BYE!