Why You Shouldn’t Wait to Renew Old Acquaintances

I received an email this morning that made my heart sink.  The email shared with me that Dean Maggard, the former engineer for the first radio station I worked at (WLBJ-AM/FM in Bowling Green, KY)  had died.  The person who contacted me, Jay Swafford (aka Jay Preston, James Preston Swafford) used to be the Assistant Chief Engineer at WLBJ and the head of the FM side of the radio station known at the time as Natural 97, an album rock station patterned after KDF in Nashville.  I remember when the FM side went stereo in the mid 70s.  The promotional slogan was “Natural 97, now a little to the left of your right ear” and “Natural 97, now in both ears“.  I started work for WLBJ as a DJ on their AM/ Country side before eventually sliding into the news position when the person there departed for greener pastures.  I think her name was Jennie.  Anyway, I will be the first person to admit that I had no business being a DJ for ANY station but it was a chance to get my foot in the door and I took it.  The chief engineer, Dean Maggard, was one of those guys with a miltary background with a gruff exterior and who could be a real pain but was generally a nice guy.  He always seemed to wear short-sleeved jump suits and he smoked a pipe.  The bottom line:  he was a good guy and once when he knew I was short of money and needing some extra work, he told me I could make some extra cash by climbing the three, 250-foot radio towers on site and change the bulbs.  He told me he’d pay me 50 bucks per bulb and he  just wanted the top bulbs changed.  Hey, the prospect of 150 dollars for about four hours work helped me overcome my fear of heights. (I only later found out he paid Jay Swafford $100 per bulb!)  He also hired me to build the desk top for the FM side control center  and the shelves for all of those Natural 97 albums.   I lost contact with all those folks from the early radio days when I moved to Jackson, TN for my first TV gig.

About a year ago, my former coworker, Jay Swafford, now at WTVF in Nashville,  helped me get back in touch with Dean Maggard and we emailed back and forth.  I had planned to stop by to see Mr. Maggard the next time I was in Bowling Green.  I had hoped to do that this summer but my schedule prevented it.  Now it’s too late.  So, I’m left with my old, fond memories of Dean Maggard.  Oh, I’m headed for Bowling Green this weekend unless the weather keeps me grounded, so I will pay my respects.  DM’s passing was noted on the local TV station in Bowling Green.  JW shared this link for those who want to check it out. The bottom line:  Don’t wait too long about renewing those old acquaintances…there’s less time than you might think.

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One Comment on “Why You Shouldn’t Wait to Renew Old Acquaintances”


  1. For $100 per bulb I gave him a money back guarantee…& drank a few beers with him too! hehehehehe ;0)


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