By Bob Andelman
(I used to write a bi-weekly column, RadioRadio, for Players magazine in the Tampa Bay area. The following story appeared in 1991.)
D.J. Prior is one of those jocks who gets around.
KQKS in Denver, KSON in San Diego and stops in New Orleans, Kansas City and Wichita all mark the 18-year trail which led him this summer to his first East Coast job – at WYUU FM, U92, in Tampa Bay.
“I thought it was a great way to see the world without joining the military,” says Prior. “I’m a preferred customer with the moving company because I’m a regular.”
How many stations have employed the veteran? He won’t say, exactly.
“I’m not shy; I just can’t count that high,” he says.
Prior took over the 7 p.m.-midnight shift at U92 from Q105 alum Jo Jo Walker. The “habitual jock” goes by “D.J.” because the station already had a “Dennis” when he arrived. “People ask me what ‘D.J.’ stands for and I say, ‘Da Jock.’ If I was a crane operator, it would be ‘C.O. Prior.'”
It’s not the first time he’s used a name other than the one he was born with, however. Ever heard of “T.J. Bryant” or “Cat Summers”?
“The program director at one station said, ‘We gotta come up with a real name for adults, but one that appeals to the kids as well,'” recalls Prior. “I said, ‘How about MY real name – Dennis?'” The PD preferred “Cat Summers.”
“I was ‘Dog Winters’ to my friends,” says Prior.
Cat Summers didn’t last long at that station, but the same PD who tagged him pushed Prior into comedy writing, for which he’s grateful. Prior – who once did improv with a San Diego group called Today’s Reality – sells his jokes on a regular basis to stand-up comedians and is a contributor to the syndicated Byron Allen TV show.
Prior prefers writing to performing these days (“I’ll write it, you bomb,” he says). “I’m popping stuff in the mail every week to Leno and Letterman,” he says. “I’m trying to cover my bases with Letterman, sending my stuff to NBC and ABC.”
Talk Ain’t Pretty! WFLA 970 AM is tinkering with its late night and weekend lineup. Bruce Williams, who relocated his residence and business from New York to Pasco County, joins WFLA on a tape delay basis Mon.-Fri. from midnight-2 a.m. and Saturday afternoons from 4-8 p.m. Picking up Williams pushes Tom Snyder off to the 2-5 a.m. dead zone on weeknights and caused the cancellation of “Cop Shop” and “Your Money and Your Life” on Saturdays. Mercurial talk show host Freddie Mertz left the station to do afternoon drive at WFLA’s Atlanta sister station, WGST, which opened up additional weekend time for Rush Limbaugh reruns, now heard Saturday & Sunday from noon-4 p.m.
The only comment RadioRadio can make is that we think Tom Snyder keeps getting a raw deal in Tampa Bay. First at WTKN, now at WFLA. Too bad.
On another note, you may have heard by now that former WFLA bad boy Bob “Mad Dog” Lassiter was canned at WLS in Chicago. While it seems unlikely Lassiter will turn up on the air in Tampa Bay at this time due to the paucity of talk stations, WFLA’s Gabe Hobbs won’t close the door entirely.
” … unless Lassiter wants to do a part-time weekend shift. I’d be happy to talk to him about following in the footsteps of Freddie Mertz,” jokes Hobbs. “I would, in all seriousness, talk to him about part-time. We have heard he may come back to Tampa to live while he looks for a job.”
Cleveland in Tampa! Another legend of local radio, Cleveland Wheeler, is also looking for work. The station he went to in Houston with Nancy Alexander changed format twice in six months and bought out Wheeler’s contract when it finally went country.
We hear Wheeler may return to Tampa while he looks for work. Non-compete or no, don’t expect to hear him on Q105 or Mix 96 anytime soon.
In Concert! Tampa-based saxophonist Richard Elliot will be featured on WHVE 102.5 FM in a concert recorded at My Place in Santa Monica, Ca. The show airs Oct. 26 at 10 p.m. If you can’t wait that long, he’ll also be perming at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center on Oct. 12 in support of his new album, “On The Town.”
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