Gary got his start in radio in 1972 when the U.S. Army decided that, based on a multitude of pre-enlistment and basic training tests, he should go into Advanced Individual Training to be a print and broadcast journalist. Training was at the Defense Information School, then located at Ft. Benjamin Harrison, Indiana. His first assignment was Fort Hood, Texas, where he wrote for the fort’s newspaper.
On Sunday mornings when much of the nearby town of Killeen was attending church and he was off duty, Gary cut his teeth as a Top 40 deejay on Killeen’s KIXS-AM. In 1974 he was assigned to a one-year tour at the American Forces Korea Network in Seoul where he broadcast radio news and hosted a Top 40 show for the troops. After that tour was completed, he was honorably discharged, earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications, and went to work as a reporter and editor for two West Central Florida newspapers.
By 1988, while still working full-time in print journalism, Gary decided to keep his foot in the door as a broadcaster and work part-time as a board operator for WLKF-AM. In 1990, he took on additional responsibilities at sister station WEZY-FM until it was sold five years later. On WEZY he regularly hosted a Sunday morning sacred music show, and occasionally filled in on other shifts as needed. After WEZY was sold in 1995, Gary remained with WLKF. Hall Communications purchased the station in October 1996 and Gary continued to work not only for WLKF, but also Hall’s other Lakeland stations, WONN, WPCV, and WWRZ.
Through the years Gary earned a reputation as one who could be counted on to fill in for someone else on short notice, to take a grueling schedule, or – on those rare occasions when no one showed up to relieve him after a shift – to work a double shift. Early on, longtime WLKF Program Director Bob Crews dubbed him “The Iron Man,” a moniker that remains today. It’s also believed that Gary might hold some sort of longevity record for a part-time deejay working continuously at the same station.
1996 - 2006 WONN (On Air Personality)