Written by on March 5, 2023

This is a “very special” edition, my last, for now. As Sean Connery once said, “never say never”.

I’ve retired after 46 years in broadcasting, half of that so-called “career” in the Capital District/Region (which phrase depends on your age, hell I still call it the Knickerbocker Arena).

This is most likely not the last time you’ll hear from me, but I’m in a mindset to enjoy the retired life a bit. Art Fredette suggested I do a thumbnail look at my journeys over those 46 years, so here we go.

Let’s talk about names. I mentioned before that Jeff Spaulding is a pen name, in my case an on-air name, I’ve had quite a few of those.

My real name is Mike Marchinuke, proud member of the Class of ’74 of Shaker High School (go Blue Bison). It wasn’t till my junior year that I started to get the “performing” bug, which started with my first theater role as one of the Jets in “West Side Story”. After the roar of the greasepaint and the smell of the crowd, I decided I wanted to be an ACTOR! Thank goodness my mother and guidance counselor talked me out of being a waiter in New York City, and told me I could use my talents in a safe, secure profession, where there will always be a job whenever and wherever I wanted, broadcasting. As I look at the sad pathetic state of my industry, I wish I was smoking what my mother and guidance counselor were smoking.

Off to college in the Buckeye State I go. Come 1977, after three years of “practice,’ I got my first ‘paid’ job in radio (as opposed to ‘paid’ through payola, but the statute of limitations hasn’t ended yet). It’s part time to start, and in time turns into my first full time gig, doing overnights on a hardcore country music station.

Sidestep, here’s the problem in not just broadcasting but many fields of business, there are too many people doing too much work for too little pay. Where’s the next generation of whatever? How do they get training if the full-time people are doing their jobs and potentially yours as well? People learn by making mistakes, it allows you to grow, to become better, to see if you really want that career or not. I’ve met many young broadcasters who focused strongly as a part timer and became established professionals in the field. I’ve also met many young broadcasters who couldn’t announce blue light specials, they either (A) got out quickly (B) were rightfully fired or (C) got into management.

In 1980 I moved to a new gig, where I stayed until 1983, that brought me to mornings on a hot rockin’ flame throwin’ Top 40 station. After a position adjustment (I got demoted), the stage was set for me to come home. In October 1986 I started five years of doing nights at FLY 92 as “The Crier of Desire”, Shadow Michaels, the biggest mouth and biggest ego of the Tri Cities. We kicked major ass in those days, and part of me wishes that kind of radio was still around today. Alas, not on terrestrial radio, and I feel sad for those who only have cookie cutter radio to listen to.

In the early 90’s I was “On the Beach” (out of a radio job) though I used my so-called skills as a teacher of radio at The New School of Radio and Television (too many other names to include here). The year 1996 brought me back on the air, part-time to start, first on FLY 92, then the late Power Country 96.3. Realizing that gig may not have had the future I had hoped for, it was “Go Midwest young man” and I ended up in Indiana, where men are men and corn is king. Forward to 2002 when family matters brought me to Vermont, then Pittsfield, then Glens Falls, and in 2011, back in Albany working for the legendary WGY.

On Friday, January 27th, my career ended, and I must say it was a hell of a ride. Am I done? Is it over? Will I be back on the air again?

Only The Shadow knows…

Be hearing you

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