It was 45 years ago that I graduated from high school. It’s really hard to believe that much time has passed, but this weekend I’m back in my hometown of Pittsfield, Massachusetts – in the “Heart of the Berkshires” – celebrating that teenage milestone.
This invitation has been on my refrigerator for months. The anticipation has been building steadily and now it’s almost over.
Friday night we all went to the wonderfully restored Colonial Theater to see Mary Poppins. Saturday night was our big reunion dinner/dance. This morning we will meet one more time for Sunday brunch before we depart, all hoping we’ll be able to make it to the 50th reunion in 2020.
2020 is the year that commercial RADIO will become 100 years old. I was fortunate to start in radio back in 1967 while just starting high school. I earned my 3rd class Radio Telephone FCC Operators License in February 1968 allowing me to professionally start working in radio shortly thereafter. Radio would help me pay for my college education; bachelors and masters degrees.
My first radio station was WBEC – AM1420 in Pittsfield.
I had visions of being a big time disc jockey working at one of the major market 50,000-watt clear channel signal radio stations like WBZ in Boston or WLS in Chicago or WABC in New York.
But that never happened. Instead I would move into radio sales and very quickly into radio station management. It is in this senior management position that I would spend over thirty years of my radio life.
But never give up on your dreams. Because when I began teaching at Western Kentucky University’s School of Journalism & Broadcasting, I invited radio & TV professionals into my capstone class. One of those professionals, the operations manager & program director of Nashville’s legendary 650AM – WSM invited me to be a guest disc jockey on this 50,000-watt clear channel signal radio station.
Those high school dreams really can come true!
For four hours on Sunday, July 13, 2014 I was in the air chair doing “The Dick Taylor Show” on this iconic radio institution.
This weekend we all remembered the good times, like the price of a gallon of gas (35-cents) or the price of a 1st class postage stamp (6-cents). But 1970 was also the year that the Beatles broke up and four students were slain by National Guardsmen at Kent State University in Ohio.
The record of the year was “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” by the 5th Dimension. The song of the year was “Games People Play” by Joe South and the album of the year was the self-titled album by Blood, Sweat & Tears.
Five years ago, we all stepped out of the dinner/dance hall for a group photo. We looked FABULOUS!
We’re Baby Boomers. A generation that was so big that the city had to handle our class size over three high schools – Pittsfield High, Taconic High and St. Joseph’s High.
We may have been separate back then and even competitive, but today we celebrate as one big high school class.
We’re the high school Class of 1970.