A week ago yesterday I lost my brother Gene. Gene worked in radio from 1978 to this year, and was a big influence on the people that worked for him as well as the students he taught. But there's nobody he influenced more than me. In fact, Gene is the reason I'm in radio today.

Jim Free
Jim Free

I have such a vivid memory of the day I decided to get into radio. It was a June day in 1988, and my brother and his girlfriend Steph, (who he'd marry the following year), were visiting at my mother’s house when I showed up after leaving the restaurant I was working at. Gene asked how work was going and I'd had such a bad that I went off. Some of the kids that worked under me at the restaurant had  no work ethic whatsoever and I was tired of being a babysitter at work. So I kept bitching and bitching until Steph, who worked at the radio station WFAS with my brother, looked at him and asked if he knew of any radio stations  looking for help. Gene called two of his friends and former co-workers in Scranton who were in the process of creating a brand new radio station here in Binghamton. The guys said that they wouldn’t be able to pay part-timers for the first three to six months but if I was interested in getting some experience, to come up and they would interview me. I made the trip and got hired on the spot.

The radio station officially launched eight months after I applied for the job and was hired. I would record my shows and send them to my brother for feedback. Man, he was tough with his criticism but I’m glad he was. Gene taught me a lot and helped me to grow and improve myself. As time when on and I moved up the ladder, I would call Gene for advice whenever I needed it. If I was pissed off about something, I would call him and he would listen and then make a suggestion. I’ve been working in radio for 28 years now and it all began before of my brother with a nudge from my sister-in-law.

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