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Where Is That? Back Then…The Unofficial History Of NJ 101.5

I have been in radio for a VERY long time.


When I was young and had just been in this game for a short while, I worked with some old guys, guys who had been around radio for quite some time. Now, I am one of them.

I remember, back then, my first real radio jobs were in Vineland, back in the early 70’s. Long time ago, eh? The first real station that I worked for doesn’t even exist anymore!

Anyway, when I auditioned for that first real radio job, they gave me some news copy containing local stories and sent me into a studio to record an audition tape, (anyone remember tape?)

One of the stories in the audition contained the name of the Mayor of Vineland at the time….big, complicated Italian name. I had never seen this name before in my life. Hey! I grew up in a neighborhood in Philly!

So I read the stuff and turned off the recorder and the General Manager listened to it. I was waiting outside.

He came out and said to me, “Kid, you sound okay. I’m gonna give you the job. But one thing you are gonna have to do: learn how to say the mayor’s name if you want to work here.”

Ah! Local names! They can be quite a sticker for the uninitiated.

I remember, back then, I think I had been working here at New Jersey 101.5 for all of about ten days or so when I pronounced a local name in a news story by saying, “Forked River.” I didn’t know the locals there say, “FORK’-ed River.”

As I recall, I answered about ten phone calls in ten minutes from some good people in Forked River who, for the most part, politely let me know that I badly mishandled the handle on their beloved village. And you know what? I never made THAT mistake again.

And there are so many other local names. After 22 years here, I am still learning…Moonachie…Mahwah…Buena, that’s Byoo-nah, not Boo-ain-ah, by the way.

I have always loved hearing from you to chastise me when I mispronounce your town. It shows you are paying attention, and that’s a good thing.

And thanks for the help! Someday, I will learn how to say all of the local names in New Jersey…

Check out past editions of “Back Then…The Unofficial History Of NJ 101.5

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