June 18, 1996. My first broadcast: 5-8 p.m. on Northeastern University’s 104.9 WRBB. That means I’ve been on the radio for 25 years.
Quick story about that first show: I prepped the hell out of it. The 5-8 p.m. block on WRBB at the time was for alternative and indie rock, right in my wheelhouse. I gathered a bunch of my favorite CDs and records from home, planned out my sets by genre, and even brought along a notebook to write it all down for posterity. You know what I didn’t bring? Headphones.
No worries, I thought. I’ll wing it. I cued up my first song, hit my background music, potted up the mic right after 5 p.m., and started my very first talk-break. As I was yapping, the co-op student working in the station’s office poked her head into my open studio door and gave me a quizzical look. I wrapped up my break, potted down the mic, and was informed by said co-op that my break didn’t go out over the air.
You see, I had potted up the mic, but I had neglected to TURN IT ON. Of course, had I been wearing headphones, I wouldn’t have made such a gaffe. 25 years on, I’ve at least figured that out.
You can hear audio from my first-ever radio show below. And I’ve been celebrating my anniversary by spotlighting some of my favorite albums, stations, and DJs from the last 25 years, so dig into those memories with me, too. Eternal gratitude to ROCK 92.9 Program Director Ken West, as well as Beasley Boston’s Mary Menna and Cadillac Jack. Thanks to them, I’m on the radio in Boston, celebrating 25 years. And thanks to you for listening, of course.
On June 18, 1996, Adam 12 hosted his first-ever radio show on Northeastern University's college radio station.— ROCK 92.9 (@rock929ROCKS) June 18, 2021
To celebrate the anniversary, he's listening to the tape, 25 years later.
Cringe along below! pic.twitter.com/qemWz7mqGT
The Old School Zone with Hollis: I started as a DJ at WRBB in 1996, and soon became Music Director. Hollis was spinning classic hip-hop and R&B on Saturdays at midnight long before my time at RBB and he's still there now. A masterclass on doing radio for the love of radio. pic.twitter.com/ph5qtsdJoN— Adam 12 (@adamxii) May 17, 2021
Planet Sensitivo on WRBB: A cool thing about college radio is meeting your people. Chris Macri turned me onto a ton of great music, and we would cohost a Holiday Surf Spectacular every year. Here we are at The Other Side Cafe on Newbury St. for a listening party. Bran Van 3000! pic.twitter.com/8mtjhI1Uvo— Adam 12 (@adamxii) May 18, 2021
Looking at the Law with Neil Chayet on WBZ: Along with FNX, I was PD of WRBB & producing Neil's 2-hour talk show from his Manchester studio. Gifted broadcaster, class act. I learned a ton. And the eclectic & eccentric programming on RBB on my watch held its own beside MBR & ZBC. pic.twitter.com/vGXO2ThWko— Adam 12 (@adamxii) May 19, 2021
The Industrial Factory with DJ Brian L on WZBC: The truth? I wanted to go to BC & be a ZBC DJ. I got in, but NU gave me a scholarship. I hosted Industrial Strength on RBB, which led to meeting Brian, which led to filling in for him a few times. So I got to be on the Z after all! pic.twitter.com/1RHhWSMEy5— Adam 12 (@adamxii) May 20, 2021
Storm Zbel on WFNX: Storm hosted 6-10p, I followed with XtremeFNX 10p-12a. Watching him edit phones on reel-to-reel & produce bits & drops was a nightly clinic in radio: you can be about the music but also have personality. So much of what I learned from him carried to The Edge. pic.twitter.com/YNiuWfAIqh— Adam 12 (@adamxii) May 21, 2021
KTCL, Denver: Channel 93.3 was (& is) one of the preeminent alternative stations in the country. I voicetracked nights & p.m. drive there remotely from NM, working alongside great talents like Rubin and Nerf & under legendary programmer Mike O'Connor. They made me so much better. pic.twitter.com/aIPBm8umfc— Adam 12 (@adamxii) May 24, 2021
Bill May: The self-described "hill-fuck from Kentucky" was my OM in NM. He put me on in mornings at The Edge, put me on Channel 933 in Denver, and put me on Channel 1057 in SLC. I was young, inexperienced & doing dumb stuff & he still gave me opportunities to learn & succeed. pic.twitter.com/3Gs2FfShyH— Adam 12 (@adamxii) May 25, 2021
Oedipus: I auditioned in the WBCN DJ search in Nov. of '02. I had other gigs lined up, so in Jan. of '03, I called BCN APD Steve Strick to ask if they'd made a decision: "Oedipus will call you," he said. And Oedi did. He brought me home & I'm eternally thankful to him for that. pic.twitter.com/8uB9V3gRsP— Adam 12 (@adamxii) May 26, 2021
Mark Hamilton: Mark's always been a friend and a fave DJ of mine, going back to FNX. When the Sox won in '04 (that's footage of me debuting DKM's "Tessie" on BCN on the Fenway Jumbotron), Mark surprised me, my father, & my brother with a visit from the World Series Trophy. Bless. pic.twitter.com/bO15mbka1X— Adam 12 (@adamxii) May 27, 2021
Dave Tree: Dave was hired as a BCN DJ at the same time I was. We had a "Punk Rock Weekend" once where Dave came in, said on-mic: "They gave me all these bands to play, but these aren't punk," then proceeded to play his band, Tree. He was fired. What an absolute legend. Love him. pic.twitter.com/Rlc8qUyhfr— Adam 12 (@adamxii) May 28, 2021
Hardy and Toucher & Rich: Hardy joined BCN in '05, T&R in '06. I remember hearing T&R's audition & thinking a) we'd better hire them & b) they'll be huge. They were & are. And now I get to see all 3 fellas at work every day, right down the hall, just like old times. My friends. pic.twitter.com/qoWyds7EPC— Adam 12 (@adamxii) May 31, 2021
Charles Laquidara: I grew up listening to The Big Mattress. When Charles was invited to take part in BCN's 40th anniversary, he said he'd only appear on my show. He did & it was amazing. Then he invited me to take the stage at his BCN farewell party. What a moment. What a legend. pic.twitter.com/Q61WGw4usK— Adam 12 (@adamxii) June 1, 2021
Paul Driscoll: I first met Paul in '08 backstage at Avalon waiting to interview Scott Weiland (who never showed). I'd admired him on Alter Ego & was so grateful to work with him for a decade at FNX, RadioBDC, & indie617. No one has ears like him & few are kinder. What a lad. pic.twitter.com/RLH9XlAT8d— Adam 12 (@adamxii) June 2, 2021
Jaybeau Jones: True story: When BCN went off the air in August '09, the first PD to offer me a gig was Jaybeau at Mix 98.5, er, 104.1. I knew so little about the format. He said: "You're a great jock, you'll figure it out." He & MD Mike Mullaney gave me a shot & their support. pic.twitter.com/kgGBeX48UU— Adam 12 (@adamxii) June 3, 2021
Morning Guy Tai-Tai is the reason I got into radio. I'd listen to him on FNX when I was in high school & think: "This guy is a total geek & he loves music & I wanna do that." Over the years, he's become a mentor & a friend & let me to rip him off 18 different ways. What a guy. pic.twitter.com/zv7fCzCODb— Adam 12 (@adamxii) June 4, 2021
Laurie Gail: My first radio "job" was interning for FNX Music Director Laurie Gail in '97. She let me have a hand in helping her program & put me on weekends when she took over as Program Director--the first to give me a shot. Class, style, impeccable music taste. Love you, LG. pic.twitter.com/EoKp4uI6HD— Adam 12 (@adamxii) June 7, 2021
The Jazz Brunch: One more FNX note. When I did Sunday overnights, Mike Adams would get the last train into Lynn right around midnight, crash on the nasty futon in the jock lounge, & have me wake him up at 5 to host the 6-9 a.m. portion of the Jazz Brunch. Now that's dedication. pic.twitter.com/aDognbZ8CR— Adam 12 (@adamxii) June 8, 2021
Eric in the Evening, WGBH: I've spent the bulk of this series spotlighting DJs & programmers I've worked with & revered. Now I want to tell you who I--the radio DJ--listen to myself. And it's been Eric Jackson playing jazz on GBH for as long as I can recall. A Boston radio icon. pic.twitter.com/iLfcuojXGF— Adam 12 (@adamxii) June 9, 2021
Backwoods with John Funke, WMBR: Backwoods is my favorite thing on Boston radio and it's been that way for over two decades. Every Saturday morning at 10, I tune my radio to the Great 88 & let John Funke do his thing (much to the consternation of my kids). Got a peanut? pic.twitter.com/SgD8HgjfEU— Adam 12 (@adamxii) June 10, 2021
Lost Highway with Doug Gesler, WMBR: That Saturday morning 1-2 punch of Lost Highway into Backwoods was extremely my thing for years (still is, just with FM Road in place of Lost Highway now). Doug Gesler expanded my knowledge & love for roots, folk & country. pic.twitter.com/wW2Ha7ity2— Adam 12 (@adamxii) June 11, 2021
The Late Risers' Club with Joanie, WMBR: The LRC is a Boston radio institution; Joanie is Boston radio royalty. No one on the city's airwaves has a greater working knowledge of punk & metal & no one delivers with her style & energy. Joanie has my ears on Thursday at 10, forever. pic.twitter.com/HpJFKEcZJt— Adam 12 (@adamxii) June 14, 2021
Uncharted Waters with Jess Phaneuf, WMVY: I first heard Jess about 5 years ago when she was a DJ on WBUR. She's a breath of fresh air on the airwaves: naturally talented, musically curious, a compelling personality across platforms. Radio needs more young broadcasters like Jess. pic.twitter.com/tpiNfQccsL— Adam 12 (@adamxii) June 15, 2021
Mike Snow: With Driscoll & Johnny L, he pushed to make me part of RadioBDC's Original 6. My success at Ops there & at indie617 is due to his tutelage, & he taught me how to host a killer aprés ski party. Few in the industry have his integrity & work ethic. He's the gold standard. pic.twitter.com/CDbPQf0zOT— Adam 12 (@adamxii) June 16, 2021
Chris Rattey-Working at RadioBDC & indie gave me a digital skillset I never would have amassed had I stayed in traditional radio. The bulk of those skills came from working with Rattey; he's the best in the biz. EVERYTHING is content &, when crafted correctly, can connect people. pic.twitter.com/RkqmEIbeOw— Adam 12 (@adamxii) June 17, 2021
TJ Connelly-There's not a person I know that's a more talented DJ than TD. His ability to read a room (or a stadium) is uncanny, & his shows on RadioBDC were always must-hear. He's the best-ever Fenway Park sound provider, and now his Uncertain Times is taking off. No surprise. pic.twitter.com/bdG0k2ksXu— Adam 12 (@adamxii) June 18, 2021