Gary grew up in Sarasota and began his radio career by broadcasting to a square mile of neighbors through a cheap Radio Shack transmitter and a bare copper wire antenna strung across trees in his backyard. Like many who wanted to get into the business, he spent his free time in his room “playing radio” while his friends enjoyed baseball or some other “normal” activity.
To get into radio in those days, most found a radio station nearby that would let them hang around after school or on weekends and be a “go-fer,” and for Gary, that station was Sarasota’s “Surf Row Radio” 1280 WYND. During his senior year of high school he landed a job at Englewood daytimer 1530 WENG, spending his “school day” attending class in the morning and then working at the radio station in the afternoon.
In 1974, Gary sent a fan letter to 97 WFLA’s morning man, Jack Harris, who invited him to stop by for a tour of the downtown Tampa station. By the time he left, he had accepted the program director’s offer of a part-time job working weekend overnights. But that soon developed into a full-time position hosting the evening shift. Since he had filled in for traffic reporter Tony Zappone on various occasions, it wasn’t a surprise that, three years later, he became a WFLA airborne traffic reporter when Zappone left for WTVT Channel 13.
Gary jokes that his meteoric rise through the ranks ended right there, because today (2007), over 30 years later, he is still reporting on Tampa Bay traffic for Newsradio 970 WFLA. He spent a brief time in the studio as part of the “Big Mac and Crackerjack” morning show with Jack Harris on the former Z93 oldies station, but the rest of his time has been “up in the air.”
1973 - 2007 Other Tampa Bay Area Stations (Traffic Reporter)