• Michelle Dawn Mooney

Oh, Those Radio Days


My first radio job as news director and morning show sidekick at 19.

Today is National Radio Day, a day that makes me a little sentimental. If it weren't for radio I wouldn't even be writing this blog. You see, I was four years old when I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to be in the medical field. Wait. What?


If you're reading this now, you probably know me not from being a nurse, or a physical therapist, or a chiropractor (the three occupations I landed on in my mind growing up), but as a media personality. Over the last twenty years, I've been blessed to have grown my resume with a number of high profile jobs in radio, tv, print and even film, but it certainly wasn't what I pictured myself doing.


By my junior year of high school I was set on a career as a chiropractor and plotted my course that included a two year stint at Stockton University followed by four years at Palmer Chiropractic school in Iowa. I even started competing in the Miss America system with hopes of winning Miss New Jersey and taking advantage of one of the top prizes - a full ride to Palmer. It seemed like the perfect plan, aside from the fact that runner-up was the closest I came to the state crown.


Interestingly enough, while all this was going on and I was starting to get those crazy math and science courses under my belt, on a fluke I ended up landing a job in radio. I was 19 and had no idea what I was doing. Someone was leaving and they asked me to read a few lines of script. Miraculously, I was offered the job the same day and was told I would serve as the news director and on-air sidekick, delivering a few lines of news each hour and offering my creative insight and/or banter during the rest of the show.


Up until that point, I had always been a talker. I was the girl in pre-k who had plusses on her report card the entire year, except for straight minuses across every marking period for one category ... avoids disturbing others. What can I say? Well apparently a lot, but this time I was actually getting paid for it.


Four years into college and several morning show co-host gigs on my resume, I changed my major from pre-med biology to communications and I never looked back. It was one of the scariest and most amazing decisions I ever made. The funny thing is, sitting on the news desk I would sometimes cringe when my colleagues next to me would crack their knuckles. How did I ever think I could be a chiropractor? If I did, I'm pretty sure you wouldn't be reading this now.


I recently had the chance to strike up a conversation with an area high school student getting ready to start his senior year. When asked about his plans for a career, he said he had interest in the medical field but was still trying to figure it out. The best piece of advice I had to offer ... follow your heart and be open to what comes your way. If it hadn't been for those unexpected radio days I would never have taken the path that I did. Regardless of where you are in your life, be thankful for those rare opportunities to try something new, because it just may be the best thing you never knew you wanted to do.









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