Dennis started working at WPLA in late 1967 at the age of 16. Like most starting out in the business back then, his first shift was the Sunday morning church block. Not long afterwards, his schedule expanded to include an hour of rock ‘n’ roll afternoons after school and setting up the remote equipment for the Sunday morning church service broadcast.
Al Berry, WPLA’s sales manager at the time, suggested he consider attending REI (Radio Engineering Institute) in Sarasota and get a First Class Radio-Telephone License. He took Berry’s advice and returned with his ‘first ticket’ (with radar endorsement) authorizing him to legally do light engineering work and sign the station’s transmitter logs. WLAK Electronics in Lakeland continued to do all the heavy-duty procedures, as they had been doing for many years. At some point, he was given a Saturday afternoon air shift, which meant more hours. However, the 18-year old didn’t like country music, so he began to think about other options for long-term employment.
In February 1969, the Plant City native signed on with what was then called the General Telephone System while continuing to sign WPLA’s daily transmitter logs. He eventually signed the logs for WPAS in Zephyrhills, too. After putting in 30 years with the phone company, he retired from GTE (which was about to become Verizon) in 1999 and spent the next ten years working for a contractor/manufacturing firm installing telephone and cable TV equipment.
Today (2013), Dennis can be found in his food trailer at the annual Plant City Strawberry Festival. When not cooking and selling corn dogs, fries, and pork tenderloins there, he takes care of a few head of cattle, harvests and cans vegetables from the family’s garden, and keeps up any needed repairs on his rental properties. He’s also a motorcycle enthusiast and has taken occasional motorcycle trips to destinations as far away as Alaska.
1967 - 1969 WPLA (On Air Personality)
1968 - 1972 WPLA (Engineering)