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radio voices


story extras
Writer's note: Josh's early days

web extras
KDGE-FM 102.1 - The Edge
KHKS-FM 106.1 - Kiss FM KNTU-FM 88.1
KRLD-AM 1080
KSCS-FM 96.3
KTCK-AM 1310 - The Ticket
Many talented DJs are UNT alumni. These are the stations of those we featured.

other features
Trading Places
Changing the Game
The Sound of Healing
Overcoming the Jitters


George Gimarc ('80)ALONE IN THE STUDIO through the darkest hours of the night, Josh Venable, the overnight DJ for KDGE (the Edge) in Dallas, spins records that mean something to people.

And that means something to him.

"If you're listening to the radio when I'm on, you're probably alone, too," the 25-year-old former UNT student says. "You're either laying in bed trying to sleep or you're up wandering around because you can't."

Venable believes that helps him make a connection with listeners.

"Ever since I saw American Graffiti I have had this romantic notion about what DJs are," he says. "They're there as we fall in and out of love, and they tap those memories for each of us with the music they play."


Night-time adventures

Venable loves being that person.

At 17, he knew he wanted a career in radio. So he set out to get it. After a year of persistent phone calls, George Gimarc ('80), one of the founding DJs of the Edge, hired him as an intern.

Over time, Venable's coffee runs led him into the studio, where he eventually took over the Sunday night new-music show, the Adventure Club.

With the help of Keven McAllister, a fellow intern-type who was his complete opposite in every way, the Adventure Club with Josh and Keven became one of the highest-rated segments in the Edge's line-up and won national critical acclaim.

Today, it remains that way even though its winning formula of conflicting DJ personalities and musical styles changed with the departure of McAllister in 1997.

What the show has proven to Venable is that his notion was right people love music, and they love radio.

Gimarc, who essentially created the Edge's format with the help of fellow DJ Wendy Naylor before it went on the air in 1989, also understands that.

"Radio is something we have on in the background," he says. "It provides each of us with a soundtrack for the movies that are our lives."


Early-morning laughs

And that soundtrack is not always filled with music.

In fact, radio's prime time is the morning commute. In the Metroplex, where the freeways are always jammed, the people who serve as morning drive-time jokesters are critical in the battle against road rage.

Dallas-Fort Worth's two top-rated morning shows the Terry Dorsey Show on KSCS and the Kidd Kraddick Show on KHKS (Kiss FM) both feature UNT talent.

Mark Louis Rybczyk ('83), a.k.a. Hawkeye, has served as Terry Dorsey's partner for 12 years. And loved every minute of it.

The two were named Billboard's On-Air Personalities of the Year in 1998.

In addition to offering his own commentary in the morning, he writes the scripts for the show's famed recurring character bits.

"I can't do voices myself, but I have all these funny little conversations floating around in my head and writing the characters for the show gives me an outlet for those voices."

At the rival station, Big Al Mack, who was a North Texas student in the early '80s, serves as Kidd Kraddick's "stunt man."

Big Al is the guy who makes all the crazy things happen (or not).

He is the person who offers complete strangers money for their bags at the airport. ... He's the guy who traveled across the country with a band of the show's misfit listeners, so one of them could try to win $10,000. ... And, he's the one who appears at various places around the Metroplex in a bunny suit at inopportune times.

Every morning it's something different.

And he does it all because it's meant to keep people smiling as they drive to work.


Sports nuts

Two other UNT alumni took their passion for sports and turned it into another top-rated Metroplex morning show.

The Musers, as George Dunham ('88) and Craig Miller ('88) of KTCK (the Ticket) are lovingly known, wax poetic about everything from the future fate of America's Team to the best way to cure a cold.

They also occasionally take time out to offer some of their own comic relief by regularly crank calling other morning shows.

Dunham and Miller met as freshmen living in West Hall.

Their shared love of sports immediately drew them together. And it has kept them together.

However, both say that age has muted their passion.

"Life has kind of made sports play a less important role," Dunham says. "Now, I'd rather go see my sons play in their pee-wee games than see a professional team."

But that doesn't mean he's not a sports fan.

"Oh, you measure me against any normal person, and it's pretty clear I'm a fanatic," he says.


Behind the music

Gimarc is just as fanatical about music and all things audio.

His current DJ gig allows him to explore and share that fanaticism he's the host of KRLD's Saturday night show, the Lost Tapes.

The program allows listeners to discuss music with Gimarc and hear old commercials, radio airchecks, the latest music news, TV theme songs and rare music recordings.

"I love doing that show because I get to talk about the stories behind the music and behind radio," he says. "I also get to share a lot of the stuff that isn't heard at any other time on radio."

Gimarc's love for music started at an early age, and he, like Venable, started working in radio before he went to college.

While he was at North Texas, Gimarc found himself on-air non-stop, due to his DJ jobs at two commercial stations as well as North Texas' station, KNTU.

He went on to create KRQX, an AM classic rock station that proved to be the blueprint for what would become KZPS and other classic rock stations in the early '80s.

In the time since, Gimarc has written three books covering a wide variety of bands and musicians. He served as a consultant on the Time/Life History of Rock and Roll project, and he regularly works with VH-1. Today, he is working on his fourth book, and he is the head writer for Johnny Rotten's VH-1 show, Rotten TV. In addition, he is working to launch a completely new format for Top 40 radio.

The format, while unlike anything on the air today, capitalizes on his understanding of radio's role as background for people's lives.

The new sound will be unveiled for stations across the nation via satellite this year. Stay tuned.


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