RICH FIELDS' BLOG
I started my broadcasting career in 1979 after being inspired by listening to the legendary Q105 in Tampa, Florida during my youth.
If you have been a resident of the Tampa Bay Area since the 70's... you'll remember air-personalities like Scott Shannon, Cleveland Wheeler, Bobby Rich and of course, Mason Dixon. These were the guys on Q105 that made it sing to me. I wanted to have the kind of fun that they were having on the radio every day. At least it sounded like they were having fun.
So, in 1979, after graduating from Clearwater High School, I set out to become a Broadcasting Major at the University of Florida. I didn't know it at the time, but the UF College of Journalism and Communications was one of the top broadcasting colleges in the country (and still is). The reason is not only because of the curriculum, but that the University of Florida also has it's own commercial-market television stations (WUFT and WUFT6) and three commercial-market radio stations (WRUF-FM, WRUF-AM and WUFT-FM).
I had found out that the University was holding auditions for one of the college's radio stations, so I packed up my stuff in Clearwater and headed up to Gainesville. When I arrived at the designated place for the auditions (at Florida Field BTW... the College of Journalism and Communications didn't even have it's own building yet), I was surprised to see that there were about 50-60 people in line. I asked one of the folks if the line was for WRUF auditions, when they said, "yes", I was sick to my stomach thinking, "I'll never get this job".
To make a long story short, there was only one DJ position open... and I got it. I ended up working at WRUF-FM all four years that I was at UF. It was a great training ground for a newbie. The things I learned while on-the-air in Gainesville have been with me all of my life. I credit part of my radio success to the station's Program Director at the time, Harry Guscott for his guidance and instruction.
So, now to the photo posted above...
This picture was taken in the mid-90's in the studios of Coast 107.3 here in Tampa which was owned (and still is) by Cox Radio. The station's format has changed, but at the time it was America's first all-70's radio station. I was on-the-air at Coast 107.3 for many years holding down the prime 3-7pm slot (what is called Afternoon Drive in the radio biz). As a matter of fact, most of my radio career has been spent doing Afternoon Drive. There were times that I did mornings. Like after returning home from being on CBS Radio in Los Angeles for over a decade, I hosted the morning show (for about three years) on U-92 (Oldies Radio) here in Tampa, with my side-kick Maria Janello. I also did mornings at KUAD outside of Denver, and I have held down other day-parts too, but Afternoon Drive has always been my bread and butter.
While working at Cox Radio here in Tampa I hosted shows on several stations in town including; Coast 107.3, WARM 94.9, WSUN-AM, and JO-101.5. "JO" was what they called "Jammin Oldies" and it didn't last long. Just before JO was flipped to another format, I had left Cox to join Mason Dixon at Oldies 104.7. I worked with Mason at 104.7 for about a year before getting my meteorology degree and leaving for California to become a television weatherman.
Why did I want to be a TV weatherman? Well, I knew that Pat Sajak was plucked from being an L.A. weatherman to host Wheel of Fortune. So, I thought that if I could get on television in Los Angeles... maybe that cache' would help me in my ultimate goal of getting a nationally televised game show. And I think we all know how that plan turned out for me.
Below are logos from some of the Tampa Bay radio stations that I have worked at in the past, along with some photos from over the years. If you are reading this blog from outside of the Tampa Bay Area, I am currently working Afternoon Drive on the legendary Q105 in Tampa, FL. (I know... full circle, right?) Tune in and listen some time. I am on from 3p - 7p, Monday through Saturday. You can live-stream me and Q105 by going to our website at MyQ105.com.