by Blake Lindsay
* This story appears in the book San Antonio Radio Memories.
Billy and I had a very positive introduction. I firmly shook his hand as if there was nothing especially unique about me. I readily observed that he dealt with this unexpected surprise quite well. I sensed he was taken aback, but he honestly didn’t show it. I would come to learn that he was a man who followed through on his word, as opposed to giving good lip service and making empty promises. This is what truly made Billy Thorman special.
Doing my best to communicate confidence to Billy, I blurted out, “So…Do I begin this week or next?” Yes, I was a bit presumptuous, but I had no doubt that I could perform well. Billy’s reaction was upbeat and slightly inquisitive. He asked me what special needs I required, in order to function on the air. His questioning inspired me. It also gave me hope that he was not opposed to hiring a blind disc jockey. Later, Billy told me that he liked my positive and slightly over-confident approach.
A few days later, I started working for KTFM. The opportunity at KTFM provided me with my first full-time employment as a commercial disc jockey. KTFM was ranked as number one in the San Antonio market area with one hundred thousand watts of power. I spent the next four years at KTFM, part of the Waterman Broadcasting Company. Some of the best memories I have are from my very first air shift in San Antonio.
Billy went the extra mile by providing me with a show producer. Each hour, the producer would read the upcoming song titles and commercial out cues onto a blank cassette tape, this enabled me to otherwise work independently. Additionally, my assistant helped by completing required paperwork, such as program logs. I operated the broadcast equipment myself. These extraordinary individuals helped me to enjoy my job even more. Through our combined efforts, we never missed a beat.
I was happy when I learned that Mr. “Boss Man” Billy was quite impressed. He had never worked with a blind person. I am eternally grateful to him for taking a gamble on me, a gamble that ultimately made both of us winners.
Today, Billy resides in Fort Worth, Texas, about 40 miles from where I live. He is the production director for KFWR 95.9 “The Ranch.” I am happy to report that we have remained close friends to this day.
Eventually, I moved across the hall from KTFM to sister station KTSA. Powerful KTSA AM-550 was popular as it covered 93 counties in Texas. For two years, I worked as an on-air personality playing requests, dedications, and oldies from seven to midnight. The KTSA signal covered so much territory, that it made my job extra exciting. I was able to talk to people all over Texas and even Mexico.
My younger brothers, Bryce and Brock, lived in Dallas Texas. They used to listen to me until it was time for them to go to sleep at night. They found it quite amazing that even though I lived 260 miles away, we could still be connected through the medium of radio, which brought my voice into their bedroom each evening.
Each week KTSA had a special breakfast broadcast. When I met listeners at these broadcasts, I always got a kick out of them saying that I didn’t sound blind. I would laugh it off. But…I used to think to myself, “How is a blind person supposed to sound?”
One year, for a few days during Christmas Break, my family drove down to visit me in San Antonio. Bryce was 12 at the time and Brock was nearly 9. I invited Bryce to KTSA for a Friday morning breakfast broadcast. On this particular Friday our breakfast broadcast guest was Mean Joe Green. Bryce got to shake his hand and received an autograph. I think he thought that big brother Blake was pretty cool.
I ended up spending eight years in San Antonio Radio. I had an awesome time working at: KTFM, KTSA, KSAQ and KITY.
Copyright 2009 by Blake Lindsay and SanAntonioRadioMemories.com—All Rights Reserved.