Observations and Ramblings from a Cranky Old Guy -By Jeff Spaulding

Written by on September 3, 2021

As I write this, it’s hitting September, the month where we celebrate the 55th year of Jim Barrett being on the radio. 

And not just because of that long of a career, but that his talents have been heard on various radio stations in the Capital Region over the decades.

As I mentioned couple of issues ago, my introduction to Jim began at WRPI in Troy in the early 1970’s.

A fellow Shaker High School grad, Ken Haverly, had an air shift at the time on WRPI.

I may be wrong, but he may have stolen the name “Captain Pissgums” for his on-air identity.

I sat in watching Ken do his thing, however, that was actually my second time, in a real live radio station.

The first was at 1540 WPTR, when we used to stop by and bug the disc jockey with question about what he does.

Through Ken, I met Jim and his cohorts.

Art Fredette may have been there too, there WAS a guy in handcuffs strapped down by duct tape, he may have been foaming at the mouth as well.

That introduction leads to more of “my beginning.”

Since I truly discovered radio on a college radio station, my tale starts here.

As mentioned, I’m a 1974 graduate of Shaker, and heading into spring ’73 I still had had no idea what I wanted to do when I grew up.

That’s when I connected to the theatre, my first show as a member of the Jets in “West Side Story”

After the run of the show, I met with my Guidance Counselor Ed Gee, and my mom Marie, proclaiming 


Both looked at each other in fear.

Mr. Gee gave me the “staving actors” line, and the “most actors are waiters” one too, followed by “Mike, it’s only your first show, you may not be very good.

Then he said. Hey, what about a more solid career, with a great future, and you can be as creative as you want to be. More than that, you’ll make money hand over fist.

How about radio?

My thoughts raced to local heroes like Boom Boom Brannigan, Jerry Tyler, The Wild Child, and so many others.

As a disc jockey, you got free EVERYTHING!

As a disc jockey you got FREE WOMEN.

So as a very horny 17-year-old I said SIGN ME UP!

Mister Gee suggested Ashland College in Ohio.

I didn’t know anything about Ohio.

It was the first school I applied for and the first that accepted me.

My mother, dear darling woman she is, told me to take it, she wanted by ass out of the house and didn’t want to risk potential rejection

At the time my mother didn’t drive, and the old man had been dead about 4 years.

With luck, we found another graduate whose family was taking her, we hitched a ride.

I think it took us one day.

The problem was, my fellow grad had BIG braces, and spit, a LOT.

Guess who sat next to her for over 500 miles?

Little Ole Mask Wearer me. 

We got to Ashland early evening. Got a hotel and prepared to hit the campus in the morning. That evening, I learned some things about Ashland.

At the time, even though I was 18, the only beer I would drink was something called “near beer,” with half the usual alcohol.

Between 18 and 21, that’s all you could legally drink.

There were also wine and spirits with the same alcohol content.

You could buy all the real stuff in what they called a “state store’

I didn’t care, I was a COLLEGE BOY!

Besides, I can bribe seniors.

And weed is just was powerful no matter how young or old you are.

I have SO much more to tell you, I’m saving it for the next edition.

It’s a wonder I graduated when I did, let alone I’m still alive today.

Be hearing you.

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