Lucky Larry Celebrates 25 Years Of Being On The Air In East Texas
Twenty-five years ago today I cracked the mic for the very first time in my professional career right here in East Texas. For the past 25 years, I've been extremely fortunate to do something that I dreamed of doing when I was about twelve years old, being on the radio.
Just like anyone else, as a kid, I would listen to the radio and play the contests. When I was caller nine and won that Pepsi picnic prize pack one summer from 99.5 KPLX in Dallas I was hooked. I knew that's what I wanted to do. Growing up in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area there were all kinds of stations and personalities to listen to. One station that really caught my attention and interest became one of my all-time favorite stations, Y-95 (KHYI) in 1987. That station was on point and slick, I was a fan even after they changed it to Power 95, and then eventually they signed off, but I never lost interest in radio.
After going to school for broadcast communication and meteorology, which I failed out of, yeah, I wanted to be a TV weather guy too, but that didn't work out so much. So radio it was for me. I worked on the closed-circuit college radio station for a couple of years while also interning at 106.1 Kiss FM in Dallas.
My air name, Lucky Larry, was actually given to me by JB Hager while I was an intern at 106.1 Kiss FM working in promotions and on the 'Kidd Kraddick In The Morning' show. How I got that name is a story for another time. After being at the station for a while and learning a lot while watching Kidd Kraddick, Kellie Rasberry and Valentine, it was time for me to get my own gig. Along with some help from Jake The Night Guy on Mix 107.3, I kept calling the program director of the station in Tyler every day for a month until he finally gave me the overnight air shift. Thank you Michael Storm.
I will say that a lot has changed since opening that mic for the very first time right after midnight on Monday, February 17, 1997, and saying
"Mix 107.3 I'm Lucky Larry and here are the Spice Girls".
It was a quick three-second intro and I was terrified because I was actually on the radio at a commercial station and EVERYONE could hear me! Everything back then was on cd or these 8-track looking things called 'carts' and you constantly had to punch buttons, a lot of buttons to get things to play on the air. Today's radio station is much sleeker and streamlined thanks to automation and our computer system (but what job isn't affected by computers these days).
Where stations has Lucky Larry worked at?
I've been here in East Texas (Tyler - Longview) just about my entire career, except for a year and a half stint when I worked in Portland, Oregon. Again, thanks to Michael Storm - that was an extremely cool experience and a fun time. Here's a list of stations that I've been on:
- Mix 107.3 - 1997 - 2001 - I did overnights, then mornings with Michael Storm, and then mornings as a trio morning show - Jake, Janna and Lucky Larry
- Star 105.9 - 2001 - 2002 - Portland, OR
- Kiss 107 FM - 2002 - 2006 - afternoon
- Mix 93-1 - 2006 - current - middays and afternoons
I will say it is rare for an air personality like myself to be in the same market for as long as I've been here, much less at the same station or with the same company. After returning to East Texas from Portland, I realized East Texas was home and I never really wanted to leave.
What is your proudest moment while being on the air in East Texas?
There are actually a couple of them. The first one is being involved with The Children's Miracle Network and the Mix With Kids Radiothon. I was involved with the first radiothon we did 22 years ago, I was blown away by the generosity of the East Texas listeners who called in and supported us and the mission of CMN. The mission of raising funds for the pediatric services at CHRISTUS Mother Frances Hospital in Tyler so that life-saving equipment and training would be available to all East Texas children.
I have had the pleasure of watching many of these kids that we feature during the radiothon grow up to be amazing young people. I love the fact that our community supports this program and these children and their families. The other thing I am proud of is being a part of the Kidd's Kids organization through The Kidd Kraddick Morning Show. Again, this is a children's charity that takes kids that have a life-altering or life-threatening condition and gives them a four-day experience of a lifetime with their families at Walt Disney World in Florida expense-free. This memory-making experience is paid for by the generosity of KiddNation.
Again, when we raise money for this event, East Texas blows me away by how giving they are when it comes to children. Here too, I've been fortunate to meet many of the East Texas children that have been selected to go on this trip of a lifetime and attend their send-off celebration at Love Field in Dallas.
What are some of the big things you remember doing while on the air?
Promotions, events, on the street live are a big part of the job and one of the things that I love to do because I get to meet our listeners. There have been so wild things that have happened throughout my career that are memorable. There was one time when I was doing mornings with Jake and Janna that I sang 'Here Comes Peter Cotton-Tail' while sucking helium out of a balloon. Kids don't try that at home! While on the morning show once we were giving away tickets to an 'NSYNC show in Dallas and the contest was called 'NSANE for 'NSYNC. We were set up in the On The Border parking lot in Tyler one morning and I was turned into a human sundae! Yes, a listener said it was insane and she wanted to do it. Janna peer pressured me into going through with it because this lady came prepared with all her ingredients to turn me into a sundae. Needless to say, after that I went straight to my apartment and showered and let Jake and Janna finish the show!
As far as other memorable things: drive-thru weddings, Women's Night Out, Red Dirt BBQ + Music Festival, Inflatable 10K, donkey basketball, playing in a Harlem Globetrotters game, riding in a race car on the Texas Motor Speedway and playing football on the field at Texas Stadium in Irving where the Dallas Cowboys played, thanks to Kidd Kraddick. There are so many other fantastic memories too.
What celebrities have you met?
You would think that being on the radio that I would be meeting with celebrities all the time as they stop by the station trying to get us to play their music. Well, that rarely happens in the real world. I have though been fortunate to meet many new stars as well as some big-name celebrities throughout the years. Taylor Swift, Kelly Clarkson, Train, John Mayer, Avril Lavigne, Rob Thomas, Phillip Phillips, Hanson and quite a few others.
I have worked with some amazing people along the way too, you know who you are, I'm not naming names because I don't want to leave anyone out, but my amazing colleagues in and out of radio know who you are, and I'm very grateful for you and your friendship. Starting out I was mentored by some of the greats, like Kidd Kraddick, and continue to be mentored by other talented people too. Along the way, I have ended up becoming a mentor to others and for that, I am honored and proud.
I still can't believe that 25 years ago I was given the opportunity to do something I dreamed of doing as a child. I am grateful to everyone that has listened to one of the stations that I have proudly been a part of throughout my career. Without you the listener (and now the reader of this self-promoting article and the other I create!), I would not be where I am today. So thank you for always being there and listening and reading and laughing at me while I laugh at myself when I make a mistake on the air!
As a bonus, a co-worker of mine just happened to un-Earth an interview clip from 1998 featuring Michael Storm and myself on YouTube recently. This is when I was on The Michael Storm Morning Sheaux on Mix 107.3. Man, I'm awfully young in this clip!
Thank you again for being there and supporting me for the past 25 years. I appreciate each and every one of you for listening and reading the content here on the app and website and I look forward to bringing you more in the years to come.