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The Modern DJ
By Eric Crosswhite
JOPLIN, MO.--- You might listen to them while driving to work, cleaning your house or when you go to bed at night. The radio DJ has been an important part of communities for decades, but with time comes change. Many radio personalities, like Lisa Davis, have a unique story of how they ended up in the business.
"I talked to a guy named Gary Bandy who was the program director. He gave me my first job," said Lisa Davis, Radio Personality.
Local DJ Howie Nunnelly has one you might not believe. His made for radio personality was discovered at Kentucky Fried Chicken at the age of 19.
"I was working the drive through and somebody came through and asked me if I'd be interested in a job in radio," said Howie Nunnelly, Local DJ.
It was an opportunity that taught him an important lesson.
"Never give up on the drive through," said Nunnelly.
Lisa began her career in radio in 1982. She and Howie say from a technology aspect, a lot has changed.
"We had records, the vinyl type that you had to cue up. The problem with that is that you get cue burns, scratches. A thing we played commercials on was a cart, for those that remember that looked like an eight track tape," said Davis.
Everything was very hand operated and manual.
"Honestly, if you wanted to go to the bathroom or take a break, you had to find a long song that was maybe five minutes," said Nunnelly.
Lisa was hesitant when she was asked to begin running her broadcasts through a computer.
"You have to remember, back in my day we took typewriting class and we were excited to have electric typewriters and correct tape," said Davis.
With advancements in technology also came the rise of satellite radio and syndicated broadcasts.
"I'm hoping that the public and the local folks in the community are always going to want and demand to have a local station, local media," said Davis.
They believe local radio personalities provide a certain comfort.
"Whenever you're all alone in those night hours or in those early morning hours and you feel like you're all alone, you have that voice on the radio," said Nunnelly.
"In May of 2011, it was the local stations here that got together and were able to on the spot announce the weather situation and what was going on," said Davis.
While Lisa and Howie may have different styles on the radio, they agree on what it takes to make a good DJ.
"Being personal and being real," said Davis.
Being able to be real and open and share your life," said Nunnelly.
Looking back, they're both happy with their life in radio.
"It's not a job. I haven't worked a day. Don't tell anybody. This is the biggest racket known to man," said Nunnelly.
"I love radio and I continue to enjoy it. The people that I work with have always been great and taught me things. You're always learning something new," said Davis.
Lisa and Howie say very few radio broadcasts are performed live these days. They use a system called voice tracking to record their segments.