Let’s rewind it to 91 in Oregon Wisconsin when I was a boy, LoL –  Sly in the morning.

Back in 91 before social media the equivalent of waking up and grabbing your cell phone to see what’s going on in the world, would be your alarm clock going off. I would say around 6 o’clock usually tuned it to a radio station because that stupid buzzard was just annoying.

This was a time before they had huge syndicated radio programs that took over the airwaves in the morning. Most towns had a local morning personality and Madison/Oregon was no exception. 

Our station was 101.5 WIBA FM. The local morning personality was a guy by the name of John Sylvester, a.k.a. Sly. 

91 was getting towards the end of the whole shock radio DJs, I mean, Howard Stern at that point had gone through all of the bullshit with the fights on WNBC, but that was all the way out in New York. Morning radio in the Midwest was still pretty edgy. Sly was no exception. For a 14-year-old boy it was great, he had interesting conversations and would play a lot of music from Dr. Demento. Stuff like dead puppies and the song called wet dreams that was truly all about fish but put on your 14-year-old brain hat and laugh.

If I can find a couple of the cuts, I will put them in this post.

This was way before the Prince of darkness was even a wet dream lol pun intended. I would go to school and talk about Sly and whatever happened on the show in the morning. Now being that I am disabled, and this is before technology had really caught up, I had a helper for school. They actually called them educational assistance. This would’ve been right around seventh grade. I think my assistance name was. Daun Wheeler.

When I was younger the assistance that they paired me with were usually a whole lot older than me, it was kind of like having a second mom that followed you around school. This would’ve been middle school at least that’s what they call it in Oregon.

 Daun was of course older than me, but in the grand scheme of things, she was pretty young. I’m not really sure how young but I’m guessing somewhere between 29 and 32 at this point. Being that she was younger than the last few people I got paired with, we were into a lot of the same types of things as far as music went. It was kind of cool to have somebody that I could talk music with and they didn’t look at me like I was a deer in headlights.

Towards the end of the year, I got woken up one day and told that I had to take my manual wheelchair to school, I was confused and annoyed because this was before I got a lightweight manual and the damn thing was hard to push.

 I remember bitching about it a lot, but I got up got ready for school and took the crappy chair. I remembered getting to school and being like OK why was I told I had to bring my manual chair and nobody would tell me anything. All sorts of things are going through my head like, was this a physical therapy thing. 

Somebody had mentioned that I was maybe going to the pool, OK, that’s kind of cool except for the fact that I hate chlorine and showering after the pool when you’re disabled is a pain in the ass, so I don’t really wanna do that but hey, I get out of school to go swimming OK.

Daun showed up about the time the bell rang and was like come on let’s go. Still like where the hell are we going?

With No answer, we get on the school bus and we had out of town, OK we’re not going swimming. Where are we going? If you know anything about Oregon/Madison, you can basically get on one road almost and go to Madison through Fitchburg taking the back roads. The school bus never did that if we were going to Madison, it would always take 14.

 I’m like OK this is weird. In the back of my head I’m like hey this is cool wherever we’re going we get to go by WIBA. I actually said to the bus driver can you turn on WIBA we are going to go right by the station in a couple minutes and we can catch the end of Sly.

 To my surprise, she actually said yes. The lady that ran, the accessible bus was way into  country and not good country, pop country crap.

I’m not really paying attention at this point I’m rocking out to whatever Sly is playing and all of a sudden I looked out the window and we are pulling into the parking lot of WIBA.

Now at 14 years old, you don’t swear around adults. I remember saying holy shit what the hell are we doing here? This got a chuckle out of Daun and the bus driver.

Daun said well you talk about  Sly so much and you’re so  into radio. I thought you might want to meet him. In my head, I went fuck yeah.

This is where the manual wheelchair comes in to play. This was 91. The Americans with disabilities. Act had just passed. The rule  in the beginning was you didn’t have to make adaptions unless you were going to remodel this was back before conglomerates like iHeart took over the entire industry almost. WIBA was owned by a single person and  in an old building and the on-air Studios were in the basement. I had to be carried down the stairs and somebody had to bring down my wheelchair.

so that gets accomplished and I thought about taking this opportunity to describe in detail everything I saw but I can get so intricate you guys probably would be bored so I won’t, what I will say is Sly. Looks nothing like the way he sounds at least in my head.

Nowadays, you can hear a voice and Google a picture of that person. That wasn’t an option in 91. There was also kind of a disconnect between radio and print media back then I had never seen a picture of the man.

He was pretty cool. I got to hang out with him till about noon. Got to watch him produce a commercial.

 I do remember asking him at one point if I wanted to do this for a job how would I go about it? He did say he didn’t know if I could.. you don’t have a great voice. He said, It takes a great voice to make it in radio. Honestly, that pissed me off at the time. Thinking about it now he said what he had to. Whether he thought he was discouraging me or not I have no idea what it did was made me  internally say fuck you asshole. I’m gonna do it anyway. Thanks for making me more determined.

Here’s the crazy thing in my 20s. I ended up working for him for a short period of time when he was general manager at WTDY. But that adventure is coming in the future blog post.

Daun I know I probably said it back then but thank you for a really cool experience. Definitely one I will never forget.

1 Comment

  1. Deanna McCoy

    This is awesome! I’m so glad you had this experience! And yea, fuck you Sly, look at The Prince of Darkness now!


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