Age: 57 (going on 12)
Birthplace/Current Location: Pittsburgh Magee Women’s Hospital (so I could be near my mother).
What stations have you worked at? Pitt’s student-run station (then known as WPGH radio), WZUM, WIXZ, WEEP, WTAE, WBVP and of course, 1020 KDKA. And that’s just in this area. Other stations include WFLA, KSDO, 3WE, WERC and WWVA – all great news/talk stations.
Have you had any other jobs outside of the broadcasting industry? Yes, too many jobs in too many other fields: real estate sales and management, car sales, taxi driver (two weeks of abject misery in Tampa), mall marketing, the rest is a blur.
Who are your mentors/inspirations? Well, if you’re really talkin’ inspiration, I’d start with God. Ed Salamon, Mike McVay, Gabe Hobbs, Marshall Adams, Tom Clendenning, Bruce Gilbert, Larry Anderson, Rick Sklar, Jim Glass, Jack Merker, just to name a few of the many people who were so kind to me in radio. They and others were so very helpful. I cannot begin to list all of them. I’m a very lucky guy.
Radio air talent that influenced me includes Scott Shannon and Cleveland Wheeler (the original Q Morning Zoo), Rege Cordic, Jim Horne, Ed and Wendy King, Jim Quinn (when he was a great Top 40 DJ), Clark Race, Larry O’Brien and John Garry, Intrepid Scout, Neal Spence, Howard Stern, Bob Prince, Myron Cope, Paul Harvey (who taught me how to communicate by using silence), Darren Feist, Laurence Gaines – and my former co-host on 1170 WWVA in Wheeling, Kathy Fortunato (may God rest her glorious soul).
I’m like a sponge, always trying to learn by listening to what my fellow broadcasters do and how they do it. Not to mimic, but to process and maybe adapt something I picked up to my unique style. For example, radio graffiti is a very old bit. Some say it started in the ’70s in Berkeley, California when a public station placed a microphone on the sidewalk and invited people to say or do whatever they wished. I refined that idea, adding a music bed suggested by Feist “What’s On Your Mind (Pure Energy)” by Information Society, refused to interact with the callers and re-branded it Dimitri Graffiti.
Tell us about your family. Mom and Dad are gone. One sister, One wife and one ex-wife. One offspring and one step-son.
What’s one item we might find in your refrigerator on a regular basis? A lightbulb
How did you come up with “Dimitri Tweeter” and how has it been working? The bit is a kinder and gentler version of the Dimitri Graffiti bit I had done in Wheeling for many years. Just call in and say or do whatever you want (without violating the law or FCC regs) but do not interact with the host. Dimitri Graffiti had great ratings, especially among the younger demos, believe it or not. Dmitri TWEETER is the same concept but it does not push the envelope. I love not interacting with the callers. Yes, it sounds counter intuitive, but I think it’s great radio.
Who would you like to see interviewed for Person Profile? Marshall Adams. He was born and reared in this area and he has accomplished much in a very short period of time. He is a real radio guy. He gets it.
Station: KDKA-AM (1020); Show: Saturday Night with Dimitri; Time: 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. (“Dimitri Tweeter” – 8:30 – 9:00 p.m.); Day job: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review; Facebook Link – http://www.facebook.com/dimitri.vassilaros?ref=profile