Wait! What are you doing? You really what the story of my life? I’m honored… and surprised, but thanks for spending some time getting to know who I am. You wanted my my life story, so here you go!
I made my first major impact in Flint, Michigan in 1978. Though I can’t say I remember September 7, I put the wonderfully delightful Judy through 44 hours of Labor. Her and her incredibly punny husband Dave Fenech raised me in Durand, Michigan until I was in 8th grade, but a lot happened in Railroad City, USA before that move.
I had a bizarre childhood to say the least, but how else can you explain my ‘uniqueness’? There was a lot of love in our home, and as our family was completed when my my sister Nikki and brother Alex came along. We loved to laugh, and we did a lot!
My good friend Josh Strickland and I created a fake radio station called Power 103.3 sometime in the middle 1980s, and the rest is history. I’ve been hooked on radio ever since! As I went from a Railroader to a Blue Devil, Josh and I kept in touch when my family moved to the Lake Fenton school district in 1991.
I launched another fake radio station in July of 1993, hence it’s frequency. Along with Josh and another great friend, Brian Figula, Paradise Cove’s Hot 93.7 was born! So where the hell is Paradise Cove? It’s a fake city we made up somewhere in Northern Florida.
As our mutual love for radio turned into a passion, the three of us found ourselves working together in Flint at Faircom Broadcasting together in our mid-teens. At the time, the cluster consisted of Cars 108, AM 1470 WFNT and K101.7. That’s where we met some amazing people that would become my icons, including J. Patrick, George McIntyre, Cindy Miller, Jeff Wade, and so many other local legends in the radio industry.
On my 21st birthday, I had recently moved to Evansville, Indiana and was interviewing for my first programming position. At this point I already had 8 radio stations on my resume. I got the job running WDKS-FM, now known as 106.1 KISS-FM. I met more amazing people in Southern Indiana and spent close to five years of my life there. To this day I still have many good friends in the ‘ville!
It was due to an illness in the family that prompted a move back to Michigan, and thankfully everything that initially triggered my return eventually worked out for the best. I quickly scored some part-time radio work and made ends meet with another passion of mine, hosting karaoke!
I spent 12 years hosting at Maxie’s, a popular restaurant and nightclub that offered two sides; one for dancing, and one devoted exclusively to karaoke. Studying my craft under Bob Wells, I took a fantastic hosting mechanism and added my own touch and personality.
On April Fool’s Day of 2004, I covered for George McIntyre on Cars 108 until 4pm, then went and signed a contract that changed my life. I started that night at 7pm, just three hours later, on WWCK-FM. It was George who encouraged me to pursue the full-time position, and J. Patrick who gave me his blessing.
That night at 6:55, we were struggling to come up with my new radio name. We decided to have people vote online for a name during my first week on the air which was fine, but I wondered what I would call myself for that first week. I said, “What about Bob?” My boss, Scott Free replied, “Bob what?” Right then I said for the first of what would become hundreds of times, “No, no! Just Bob!”
On day four of that first week, listeners were calling up asking why Just Bob wasn’t listed as an option for voting. There were several options that escape me now, but Romeo sticks out as one of them that I was desperately hoping wouldn’t win. We added my temporary name to the online options and to everyone’s surprise, Just Bob won by well over 200 votes!
It was during my run as Just Bob that I really got to explore my creativity. I enjoyed finding ways to say things without saying them, make people look at things in strange and different ways without realizing it, and making them laugh in the process. I put together an incredible Party Crew including another name that keeps popping up, Chris Monroe, who was renamed Lil’ Rock.
Not only did I meet another list of people too long to mention during my time at Cumulus Broadcasting, I met the most important person in my life but I had no idea at the time… and neither did she!
I met Erika one night at Maxie’s when I got off the air. My boss, Scott, introduced us and invited her to hang out during the night show. (She thought I was an intern.) I got up the nerve to call her and to my surprise she answered! We talked for hours and hours. I asked her our at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve of 2005! That year we were married and starting our family.
Even though Just Bob & The Nite Time Party enjoyed ratings success, I struggled with many issues, including constantly changing management. Even though I had the wonderful opportunity of working with great programmers like Brian ‘Fig’ Figula and Shawn Powers, there were many others on many levels of management that made it difficult to enjoy going to work. For the majority of my time at Cumulus, I also struggled with depression.
Half-way through my almost five-year tenure at CK105, I contacted J. Patrick about returning to Cars 108, but I was legally bound by a non-compete. I finally got out of that headlock when they fired me in October of 2008 to automate the night show with a syndicated program. It was heart-breaking and unexpected, but in retrospect it was the best thing that could have happened.
In January of 2009, I returned to Cars 108 as promotions director, and served as morning traffic and news announcer for all of our stations. I also began to use my real name on the air for the first time in my career, something that took some getting used to. At this point, K101.7 was long gone, replaced by Banana 101.5 more than 20 years prior, and three new stations were part of the group; US103.1, Club 93.7, and 1530 WLCO.
A few months before J. Patrick retired in 2014, I conquered a demon that I had been battling all of my adult life, alcohol. Renewed and sober, I was humbled and honored when I was asked to take over for J. Patrick after his 30-year run on Cars 108. It was a major milestone in my career to fill his shoes, and I had a blast interacting with listeners through The ’80s Request Lunch which I was able to take to #1 in the ratings!
In March of 2016 I was approached by WRSR with an offer that I couldn’t refuse, a more than 50% pay increase. After careful thought and soul-searching, I decided to end my fifth run at Cars 108 and take on the job Program Director for 103.9 The Fox, Flint’s Classic Rock Authority.
Working again with many of my good friends from points all throughout my career, I already feel at home! My new full-time staff, Scott, Roy, Andre are great people that I have known for years. I’ve also known two of The Fox weekenders Scott and Gunther for at least a decade, but it’s the newest part-timer that I’ve known since the beginning, J. Patrick!
My wife, Erika, and I lead busy lives with three children keeping us on the go, but after years of dealing with my alcohol struggle, I couldn’t be more in love with her, my family, and with life. I risked and almost lost her, and thankfully I found it in me to self-correct.
I still host karaoke on weekends, but at a new venue, The Point Bar & Grill, and host trivia twice a week. I’m in a bar four nights a week and the only drinking problem I have is too much Coke!
I invite you to tune in to one of the many stations I am on, join me for a night of karaoke or trivia, or perhaps let me represent your business with professional voice overs! God has blessed me with many talents (most of them ridiculous), and I know that I was put on this planet to entertain people. I hope I have the opportunity to, at some point in time, put a smile on your face!
I hope you enjoy JeremyFenech.com, and feel free to get social with me!