So it all began with a half-eaten hot dawg and the backwash of a beer bottle embedded in about six inches of sand in the middle of downtown Oklahoma City… That was the day that my radio career started (although I didn’t know it at the time).
Up until that time, I was just a fresh-out-of-high-school-punk from the “teenage wasteland” who was working as a grocery bagger (for what would be a precursor to Wal-Mart Supercenters) called Gibson’s Discount Center. My only claim to fame back then was a creation of mine called “Captain Carryout,” which was a real stretch of any kind to be referred to as any type of claim to fame. Basically, Captain Carryout was where I would take my red-colored Gibson’s apron, turn it around and throw it behind my back to make a cape. I would then proceed to run and jump on the grocery carts riding them at full speed (full of groceries) out to the customer’s cars all the while yelling “I’m Captain Carryout!” – doing my very best to piss off as many customers as I could, one customer at a time (just like I did with my soon-to-be radio career – ha!). This, on more than one occasion, almost got my ass fired (which, looking back, I think that I should have tried even harder to get fired).
Oh yeah, back to the half-eaten hot dawg and beer backwash… My real goal in life back then was to become a legitimate rock star, touring in a rock band as a drummer. Well, as with most “wanna-be” rock stars, I figured out real quickly that I had a better chance of becoming a six-foot-man-eating chicken, publicly wearing pajamas with duck slippers, having a part of my colon removed, and becoming a deejay for a local rock-n-roll radio station than becoming a real rock-n-roll star. (And yes, all those things actually did happen to me.)
So that is exactly what I set out to do. I had a buddy who worked for the top local rock-n-roll radio station at the time in Oklahoma City. I would do anything I could to “hang out” with him and the other radio station staff, after all, they were the closest thing to the real “rock-n-roll” scene (well at least in a city that is in the middle of the absolute furthest place from the music industry). I would actually call in “sick” on many occasions from my “Captain Carryout” supperhero (yes, supper, not super) gig just to hang out with the radio station staff and be a part of the local “rock-n-roll” scene.
It was on one of these occasions that I was hanging out with the radio station staff at their yearly beach party. (And the term “hanging out” should be more clearly defined on this occasion: Basically “hanging out” consisted of sweating your ass off by picking up nasty, smelly, dirty trash that was embedded in six inches of sand that was temporarily put down on an entire city block in downtown Oklahoma City for this beach party – and doing it all for FREE.) So there I was, picking up that nasty half-eaten hot dawg and backwash beer bottle. While I was doing this “prison labor,” I, coincidently, was also standing next to another older man that was also picking up trash (not knowing what he had done to deserve this “prison sentence” either). The two of us started up an innocent polite conversation. Well, what I didn’t know at the time, was that I had struck up a conversation with one of the Vide-Presidents of Coca-Cola (who was also a sponsor of this beach party)!
This one conversation made enough of an impact on the Coca-Cola VP to hire me to become the operator of their $250,000 promotional vehicle called the “Coca-Cola Video-Van,” which also happened to be sponsored by this same rock-n-roll radio station that I was serving my time for (I mean working for free for). For the next two years, I spent up to 80 hours a week going all over the state of Oklahoma promoting Cola-Cola and this rock-n-roll radio station as “Dan-The-Man-In-The-Video-Van.” This included being at grand openings, parades, air shows, movie premiers, college dances, high school dances, D.A.R.E. public events, concerts, sporting events – you name it – anything and everything fun, I was there.
The only problem with this new “dream gig” of mine was that when I started operating the Video Van, I was so mortified of speaking in public that I actually flunked out of my senior high school English class simply because I refused to get up in front of the class to do an oral report. So when Coca-Cola hired me, they wanted me to become their “official public spokesperson” – like their Coca-Cola “Veejay” of sorts, publically promoting Coca-Cola and this rock-n-roll radio station while emceeing music videos, etc.
Well, just shy of heart palpitations, “shatting” in my pants, and wanting to quit on many occasions – I, reluctantly, began my “Veejaying” career by locking myself in the Video Van, closing all the doors, pulling all of the blinds, and turning on the sound system (that was as loud as a 727 jet plane) just to say in almost a whisper monotone voice: “Hi, My name is Dan. Buy Coca-Cola. Listen to the KATT (call letters for this radio station). That is all.” Needless to say, after two years of doing this almost 80 hours a week, I quickly overcame my fear of public speaking!
So much so, that people who were in the vicinity of the Video Van actually thought that I was broadcasting live on the air on the rock-n-roll radio station. It was at that point that one day I had the Video Van out at one of the radio station’s events. On this day, the Program Director of the radio station heard me talking over the Video Van’s sound system and walked into the Video Van and offered me a job on the spot to be on the air at this radio station (which happened to be the number one rock-n- roll radio station in Oklahoma City at the time). No formal experience, no formal training, nothing. Just me being at the right place at the right time again, with the right tone in my voice.
It was at this rock-n-roll radio station that my name went from being “Dan-The-Man-In-The-Video-Van” to just “Dan-The-Man.” It was also at this point that I and the Bladerunner met and became lifelong friends – a friendship that has lasted long after both of our careers at that rock station. As time went on, I decided that it was my time to leave terrestrial radio once and for all – leaving behind all of the B.S. radio station bureaucracy, the pompous-ego-driven-little-Napoleon-syndrome-mentality of management, the idiotic radio ratings game, the childish little “clicks” of radio station employees, the stale repetitive rehashing of the same old twenty songs over and over, and finally the handful of peanuts that I worked for like a circus monkey.
That’s right, I just walked away from it all. I left my “radio super-powers” to become a “mild-mannered middle-aged yuppie,” fitting into society’s masses just like any other average consumer. Marrying and producing little yuppie larvae – all but denying my internal itch and dream of being on a superior radio station, playing, and supporting superior rock and roll again someday.
With the radio waves of my voice from 1994 having traveled way past Uranus (oh yes, I did just go there!) by now, I had pretty much given up on ever being on the air again. It was only when the Bladerunner shared his vision of forming a new type of radio station (one that would strip away all the B.S. that has made terrestrial radio the shell of what it once was) with me. That vision re-sparked my on-air appetite into wanting to be a part of something that truly was “All about the rock!”
After several negotiations between our attorneys, contract revisions, stock options, a pact written in lamb’s blood, a presidential pardon, a year’s supply of Yak milk, and an oath to never sell out to lame-ass terrestrial radio, I agreed to pay the Bladerunner an undisclosed amount of money to return to the airwaves again as the legend in my own mind, I mean, own time – “Dan The Man.” To this day, I still enjoy beating my skins, loud rock-n-roll, and am still in recovery from my Coca-Cola addiction drinking days (hey, you’d be addicted, too, if you had all the free Coca-Cola that you could possible drink)!
I am honored to be associated and working with the BEST people in the business here at Bladerunner Radio. It’s great to be home and I am convinced that Bladerunner Radio will bring back rock radio the way it was meant to be. We will do it one listener at a time. And if you are reading this, then congratulations! You made it! You are one of those listeners… Welcome to the official rock-n-roll station of Planet Earth!!!!