I have already chronicled my former radio career in an earlier blog, which ended abruptly in September 2008. I was out of radio 4 years, the only time period I was out of the business since 1973. After spending these four years out of radio, I am back! But before I get into that, I want to look back at the time I was out of the business. I have kept busy doing computer and IT work.
I had two full-time, but temporary jobs in 2009. I worked six months for Northrop Grumman Information Systems, and VITA (the Virginia Information Technology Agency.) I had to drive an hour each way to the Division of Mines, Minerals and Energy building in Big Stone Gap Virginia. I learned a lot about the coal mining industry! I could have continued in that job but left to take another temp position at Aerus (formally Electrolux) in Bristol Virginia. It was for the same money, but only a 35 minute drive. I was also told that there was a better than 50% chance that it would lead to a permanent position. Well it didn’t. My job was finished after completing their move of EcoQuest from Greeneville. The Director of IT who hired me there was laid off the same day I left! I learned a lot about vacuum cleaner manufacturing…and even bought one with my employee discount!
Speaking of Greeneville, I worked there for about three months in 2010 at BetterBuild Computers. It wasn’t a bad drive. I really enjoyed the people, and the work…which was basically fixing computers all day. I was hoping that it would lead to a permanent position, but after getting their backlog of ailing computers out the door, they did not need me anymore as business slowed. I should have worked slower!
Later in 2010 I starting working for WebChartMD, a local start-up software company in Johnson City. They provide a software system for hospitals, doctors, clinics and other medical providers for dictation and transcription services along with managing the related documentation. All the other people working there were under 30. (Let’s just say I am old enough to be their daddy!) I had to put up with such things as getting shot in the back with Nerf guns or having remote helicopters fly over me while I was on the phone with clients! They were big on playing computer games, sometimes pulling all-nighters and even installed a foosball table! After a year and a half of this sort of thing, I needed a “grown-up” job!
In 2012, I took a brief job working at AFG Glass in Kingsport and Church Hill. The position did not work out as they have since closed the Kingsport plant. As of this writing I am currently working for Tele-Optics doing computer tech support for Eastman in Kingsport. During all this time, I also ran my own computer repair and IT/Web support business. I did a lot of PC repairs for people through word-of-mouth (and Facebook friends!) I did several contract jobs for businesses like Dell and HP doing deployments, installations and repairs. I also had (and still have) several local business clients who I provide support to.
This past week, I received a wonderful early Christmas present and accepted the position of Program Director at 98.5-WTFM! Holston Valley Broadcasting is the only radio company in the area I had not worked for, so this kind of comes full circle for me. I am looking forward to starting January 2nd. I will also be back on the air; working the afternoon drive shift of 3-7PM. Positions like this do not come along often in this market as I know people that have been around for 20-30 years and longer! Sadly, I am replacing someone there who recently passed away but it goes to prove the longevity of radio positions here, which goes against the “swinging door” policy of radio in most parts of the country. There were several people who went to bat for me with this position; Many thanks to David Widener and especially Steve Mann, Don Raines and Ken Maness! Now that I am back in radio, the career I started back in High School, I hope to be doing it until I retire! Hopefully that will be possible some day. Even if I have to work to 70, I’ll hang in there as long as I’m healthy, I enjoy what I do and my employer is happy with me. All I know is that right now, after four years away from the business, I have a great radio job again….with a great local company…with full benefits! A big heartfelt “thank you” to my family and friends for all your support and prayers during this most trying time of my life!