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In September 1970, when I was about to be a high school senior, I wanted to be disc jockey. I went to a radio station in Annapolis, Md., and said, "I'm the editor of my high school newspaper and have contacts at all the other high schools in the county. I'll do a school news report for you for free if you'll train me to be a disc jockey."
I expected to be told to get lost. Instead, the program director said, "How soon can you start?"
In two weeks I was doing regular news. Up to then I thought national and local news was boring. Now I realized that the news was interesting; it was news PRESENTATION that was boring. I thought, if I write plain English instead of this weird language that news people speak, maybe I can make a living doing this.
That was decades ago and I'm still making a living doing that. I've covered a riot, anchored newscasts on three radio networks, reported live from two presidential inaugurals, and managed an entire global news service. But the most fun I've had has been in Hawaii, where I've started over as a local reporter.
Becoming a disc jockey? That dream fell by the wayside -- until last year when I started doing "Howard's Day Off," a classical music show on Hawaii Public Radio at 5am-7am Saturdays. It brings me full circle -- because I do it for free.