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Everybody loves Randy: WCPZ 102.7’s Hugg celebrates 30 years

Melissa Topey • Nov 25, 2013 at 7:40 PM

Without a clever on-air name — like “Top-hits Topey” or “Melissa in the Morning” — I was up early Thursday nevertheless, working as a radio personality with WCPZ 102.7 FM’s Randy Hugg.

Vinyl is no longer spun on “The Morning Mix with Randy Hugg” show. It’s all much more high-tech than that. But Hugg, celebrating 30 years with the station, remembers those days.

Three decades on air in Sandusky is no small feat, and it was a thrill to be there with Hugg and the WCPZ family to help mark the achievement.

Hugg received several phone calls from listeners congratulating him. Co-workers at the station came in at the end of the show with a cake in celebration.

In a “walk in another person’s shoes” lesson, I learned a new appreciation for the folks on the radio. The job involves a lot more than sitting in front of a mic and talking to listeners, and it wasn’t my finest hour.

In fact Hugg fired me — on the air — four times.

The first time happened before even being assigned any tasks: Radio people can never be late, Hugg told me. It has something to do with “dead air,” and that’s not a good thing in the radio business, he told me.

Hugg gave me a second chance, however, and we started talking about height.

“She is much shorter than you would think?,” Hugg observed for his listeners. “How tall you are?” I asked.

For the record, he is 6-foot-4. I am not even 5 feet. Then I asked another question after doing a quick inventory of all the high-tech equipment surrounding us. “Can you drop my voice so I have a sexy, sultry, smoky, jazzy singer voice?” I asked. “No,” he said, before I was even done asking.

“I always wanted that,” I said.

Watch video of Melissa in studio with Randy in the player below

The boards in the studio are filled with buttons that control mic levels, queues and other sound that makes it on air. Hugg is a master at knowing which button does what, but I had no idea which tripped the fade-outs or what buttons start the next spot.

Pop-up screens display what is still in the lineup to play and how much time an announcer has before returning live on air.

There are two main enemies for radio announcers: the dead air mentioned earlier and “winging it.”

Business owners and advertisers hate dead air.

Winging it is also known as “rip and read,” which is all I was doing Thursday. Essentially that means an announcer does not have a plan to fill air time, and that’s not good, Hugg said. It leads to mistakes, such as my mispronouncing meteorologist’s Chris Vickers name the first time I queued up the weather segment.

I also kept forgetting to identify myself when we would come back on the air from a spot.

But despite all this I did OK, Hugg admitted, on the air. I was doing better than he did 30 years ago when he first stepped into a studio, he said.

It was a great time and I think Hugg and I had great on-air chemistry.

If I had to bet, he’s probably trying to figure out how to lure me back on the morning show.

Randy, let’s talk.

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