How do I begin? What can I say? WTF?!? How can a so-called 'radio broadcaster' or professional wordsmith be at such a loss for words? (Looong deeeep breath)
Alright. Here we go;
Back as a baby deejay (early 80's) I would drive halfway to Chicago from Milwaukee on I-94 (about 40 minutes) where I could pick up the Chicago FM signals alot better. There I'd be with Big Mac sauce dripping all over me while fumbling with a boom box to record a killer jock on B96 named "Smokin' Joe" Dawson. Frikkin KILLER! Fast forward a few years (around '91) and I'm mulling over two decent gig offers. 1) WDIA/KDIA-Memphis or 2) Afternoon Drive at a new urban FM start-up in Milwaukee (V100). I was actually leaning toward staying in Milwaukee when I noticed in the trades that a certain jock named Joe Dawson was headed to market #218 Battle Creek, MI to cut his teeth as a program director AND he was looking for jocks! What!?! Wait a minute! Next thing you know I whipped him off a tape and you guessed it. I was off to The Cereal City. In the process of course, I pissed off a couple of 'big names' in the industry. How DARE I turn THEM down to go work in lil' ol' Battle Creek! And to work for some 'unproven', snot-nosed virgin pd at that! And one of those 'names' refuses to take or return my call to this day lol. Well do ya think I give a sh*t? It was the greatest move I ever made in my career and life. I raced to that gig like it was gold. I was going to get some of that good radio juju if it was last thing I ever did. I know lots of people who met their idols or heroes and it turned out to be a horrible disappointment for them. My radio hero was everything I imagined and waaay more. Oh, so much more. We did the radio circus rodeo circuit a few times together and it was always the most fun and the most belly (ache) laughs I ever had bar none. There were serious times too. Like when he would ask me for my Big Book and say he was curious and wanted some information 'for a friend'. But I knew better lol. After many years of struggles he finally made it and as far as I know, he was doing well.
To Miss Ellen, I never got to know you but my deepest condolences and if you ever want to hear/share some great SJD stories PM or call me on FB messenger and we'll have a ball! To Miss Monique Harris Dawson deepest sympathies to you and all the children and looking forward to seeing everyone at the memorial in June. To anyone and everyone that was ever touched by the great Joe Dawson on or off the air, in or out of a studio or radio facility, I know I'm preaching to the choir when I say we lost a giant on this plane of existence. A giant talent. A giant human being with a giant laugh and a giant heart. A man who could spread so much love and good will that inspires and motivates good spirits in everything around him. Joe desired to be a priest when he was a very young man even attending the seminary for a time (a few more classic JD stories racking up as we speak lol). In some weird way I think he always was and is a 'man of God'. He just didn't wear the collar and okay, maybe misbehaved just a little.
Lastly I love you Smokin' Joe and I selfishly miss you in the flesh but we both know better. You are not APART from us, you are now A PART OF us.
Here come the second-line bruh, and I'm on the snare 🥁. I got you brother
"The Real Deal" Mike Neil
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