A CLASSIC TALE OF MISSPENT YOUTH. Growing up in the quintessential radio market of New York during the golden age of Bob & Ray and Jean Shepherd, Wayne spent many nighttime hours under the bed covers, listening to a transistor radio with an earphone while he was supposed to be sleeping.
During the day, when other children were outside playing football, Wayne was often playing “radio host” with his friends, a phonograph and a reel-to-reel tape recorder.
Years later, Powers got his first chance hosting a real radio talk show on KSLQ in St. Louis, (then one of the top FM stations in the country), after the Program Director heard him being interviewed as a guest. That led to other radio gigs (KSD, KKSS, etc.) in every capacity from talker to deejay.
From then on, “radio” became one of the hats that Powers would wear intermittently throughout his career.
More recently, Powers spent several years as frequent guest host and special programming host for one of the nation’s oldest and most respected radio stations, WBT in Charlotte, North Carolina. There, Wayne’s radio formula was further developed, talking with Senators, Congressmen, Governors, Presidential candidates, Mayors, City and County officials, community leaders, etc. – in an entertaining, informative mix with authors, comedians, various other show biz figures and even frequent visits with musicians performing live in the studio. Add listener phone calls and you’ve got a helluva show where anything can happen – and usually does.
Here’s what can happen to a host on LIVE RADIO when the producer presses the wrong button and, instead of the soothing music Wayne asked for, a Rush Limbaugh invective suddenly blasts over the air:
Wayne’s most recent radio foray was in his current home of Kalamazoo, Michigan, where he expanded on his signature formula when he took over the flagship morning show on WKZO, another heritage station which boasts Paul Harvey, Tom Snyder and Harry Caray as alumni.
“The Wayne Powers Show” was wildly popular in the ratings, increasing listeners by 44% over its predecessor, but its all-too-brief run was cut short due to what Wayne calls “differences with management.” (It should be no surprise that “Corporate Types” and “Creative Types” like Powers can be oil and water).
Wayne shrugs and sums it up as, “In this business, sometimes that’s just the way the cookie bounces – but we all sure did have a raucous good time for a while.”
Click below for a tiny dose of how Kalamazoo listeners with good taste started every weekday morning with “Wayno on the Radio.”