Local Radio: Changes Underway

“Mookie” will return…

Recently Fired 91X DJ Mookie Already Planning A Comeback

A first-person essay for Reviewer Magazine
by Marc “Mookie” Kaczor

[At right: Mookie at the mic. Photo from his Facebook. -Editor]

Most of the old school radio veterans in San Diego are quick to tell stories of how the industry used to be. They said the DJs were actually larger than life. I’ve also heard stories of the payola days when record label representatives literally traded program directors duffle bags full of cash in exchange for air time. Much has changed since the glory days. You can blame the changes on the Clear Channel model of doing things or you can blame it on whatever. It’s okay to blame Clear Channel for everything, right?

Don’t get me wrong, there are still major perks in the radio industry including the concert tickets, making lifelong friends with like-minded people, quasi local celebrity status and yeah, sometimes there would be groupies. Fun times. Radio is different now, partially because there are so many avenues for the general public to get their music. There’s satellite radio, internet radio and just about everyone has an ipod, but broadcasting and music are still my passions. I must be nuts… like certifiably insane.

I’ve paid my dues in this market. I started off as a bright eyed intern then quickly moved from overnights and weekends to being on the air every single day for two years straight. In my time with 91X I’ve worked for 4 program directors, was around when the station changed hands in ownership a few times and seen jocks arrive from other markets, just to get fired several months later.

About a month ago it happened to me with no warning. They wanted to move the midday slot in a “different direction” and I was shocked. My boss called me into his office on October 15th after my show and essentially said, thanks for everything but you’re done here. The first thing that went through my mind was, “damn, I gotta pay for my own Coachella ticket now?!?”

The first few days of unemployment were difficult for me. It was a change. My new routine involved going to various North Park and Hillcrest coffee shops each and every day and I started making daily trips to the record store on University Avenue for some new music too. I threw on my clunky headphones and immediately started emailing most the contacts I’ve made throughout the years, all the while still going to shows, but trying not to spend money like a drunken sailor and instead of blogging for the radio station website, I started writing on my own.

They say that your job or occupation should never define you as a person, but I took on the “Mookie” persona and embraced it. It may be too soon to announce anything yet, but “Mookie” will return to the airwaves in San Diego before you know it. I can’t wait to crack the microphone again. Now that I think about it, that’s just how the industry is. It’s the nature of the business.

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