Bob Dearborn, of WTAE Radio fame, recently began a morning show-prep blog – The Olde Disc Jockey’s Almanac. The site is free and is “meant to be a service for professional broadcasters who need an accurate and dependable source for this sort of information, another tool for the disc jockey’s arsenal, an alternative to existing sources that [Dearborn has] found to be lacking in accuracy, inclusiveness and reliability.”
“The inspiration for ‘ODJ Almanac’ was part boredom, part looking for something fun to do, part wanting to put to good use some of the information I’ve collected over the years,” Dearborn told PBRTV. “Make no mistake, I’d rather be prepping a show for myself than disseminating stuff for others to use, but in today’s youth-obsessed radio there aren’t too many places that welcome someone of my age and appeal despite all the major-market experience and success I’ve enjoyed.”
Dearborn has several databases full of interesting material which he figures somebody might as well get some use of. Despite being a free service, he does have a few ads on the site. “They pay pennies,” he said, “but it’s something.” Nonetheless, money isn’t the main issue right now and Dearborn is more interested in seeing how many repeat visitors there are after people take the first glance.
Depending on what needs to be done, Dearborn spends 20 minutes to 4 hours each day putting work into the Almanac. “[It] is put together in strips. The components are in their databases. Although they have to be monitored for changes (a celebrity dies, for instance), they are ready to be copied and pasted into the Almanac several days at a time,” he said. “There’s always a full week loaded with each day ready to update automatically at 4:00 a.m.” Dearborn continues that there are about two weeks worth of drafts in different stages of readiness and each day is spent working on a particular section of each draft.
The prep information is lengthy, but Dearborn says it is meant to be “cherry-picked” to either be tied together or keyed off for songs and bits. In its first week, the blog enjoyed over 1000 hits from all over the world.
Bob Dearborn was on the air at WTAE-AM (1250) for a total of four years, but was only on premesis for about a year and a half when he hosted the afternoon drive from August 1977 to February 1979. The station carried his overnight RKO Network program, “Night Time America” for 2 1/2 years in the early 1980s after it was dropped by FM 97 (PBRTV guesses it was WFFM at the time…) when it changed format. “Add it all up and I’m proud to say that I was on the air in Pittsburgh for five-and-a-half years!” he said. Pittsburgh is also where Dearborn met his wife of 30 years and they return often to visit family. But, unless “some great radio opportunity elsewhere presents itself,” the Dearborns plan on staying in southwestern Ontario where they have been for the last three years.