If you listen to country radio in the Miami Valley then you’ve probably heard him on K99.1FM, the 50,000-watt award-winning country radio station in Dayton. He’s Jason Michaels, AKA Rowdy J., the late night DJ who cranks out the country hits throughout the night while listeners are working third shift.
If you pull up his bio on the WHKO 99.1 FM website you’ll find he was born in Dayton, lives in Riverside at his home with 2 furballs named Midnight Cat and J.J. (who showed up in a tree in the yard one day and decided to stay around, so he was added to the cat bunch) and his favorite food is mac and cheese.
He likes the History Channel, wanted to be an astronaut, says he was a nerd in high school and that his first job was picking up golf balls and is a student pilot and likes to fly airplanes.
But most importantly in that bio is what his favorite hobby is, which is to program two low-powered FM community non-commercial radio stations at Indian Lake and advise another one in Wilmington. And, that is great news for the folks here at Indian Lake because we get to hear great music programmed by a big-time radio DJ, air personality and radio programmer right here in Russels Point.
“It’s something l’ve always wanted to do and I enjoy it very much,” said Michaels (Rowdy J). We started off here at Indian Lake as one of the first low-powered (100 Watt) stations in the nation to be approved by the FCC. Our call letters are WRPO, added Michaels.”
“In the beginning, here at WRPO we had a big band format,” said Michaels. “It was actually a tribute to the many popular orchestras and singers of that era that frequented the now long gone Sandy Beach Amusement Park, many of which were broadcast live nationwide on network radio at the time,” adds Michaels.
WRPO-LP now airs an oldies format after a previous one-year stint as a smooth jazz station (2008-09). WRPO-LP Radio (93.5 mhz) is the voice of Russell’s Point Ohio and is a nonprofit group, a non-commercial and educational radio station. They receive support through listener contributions and local business underwriting dollars.
The station’s music comes from the 1950’s to the 1980’s and is carefully selected by Michaels, the station’s programming manager.
WRPO-LP “Indian Lake’s Greatest Hits” is licensed by the municipality of Russells Point and its studios, offices and transmitter tower are all located at 433 state Route 708 in the village municipal building. The station’s air personalities are all volunteers. WRPO-LP, was originally nicknamed “The Point,” and was founded in 2002 and commenced broadcasting on Memorial Day May 27 of that year.
WRPO-LP is simulcast on WOHP-LP at 101.3 MHz in Huntsville. Each station is owned and operated by their respective communities, so whatever Michaels programs at WRPO-LP in Russells Point is played on WOHP-LP in Huntsville also.
It all started with Junior Achievement
Michaels got a taste of the radio business as a teenager when he met legendary Dayton DJ Gene Barry with WAVI/WDAO through a Junior Achievement program. Barry took him under his wing and Michaels eventually produced his first audition tape under Barry’s tutelage.
From there he helped build a radio station at Miamisburg High School, where he graduated in 1974. After graduation from the International School of Broadcasting, Michaels got his first job in the radio business as a small town DJ and news guy in Wilmington, Ohio.
After 3 years in Wilmington he became a news reporter in Dayton and then moved on to a position as radio news director in Cincinnati. From there he took radio DJ positions in Xenia, Dayton and Columbus. In Columbus he emceed a portion of the George Strait Country Music Festival at Ohio Stadium in front of 90,000 people. After his 8 year stint in Columbus he took a radio program director position in Champagne, Illinois. After that job ended he came back home to Dayton. Michaels has been a voting member of the Country Music Association for many years.
“I have always enjoyed the fact that I get paid for playing music and entertaining people on the radio. It beats just about any job I can think of,” adds Michaels.
Michaels is also a musician, a lifelong guitar player since age 9. “I like a lot of different music, country (both the old stuff and today’s music), old rock-n-roll from the 60’s to the 80’s,” said Michaels. “I was in bands as a teenager until I figured out it was the only business where you could make LESS money than in radio! Lately, I’ve had the pleasure to meet a lot of country songwriters (some who have written some REALLY big hits), and I am amazed at their talents and am proud to be able to call some of them friends, added Michaels.
Jason or Rowdy J., whichever radio DJ hat you are wearing at the time, you are always welcome here at your home-away-from home radio-stations up here at Indian Lake.
Ron Brohm is a regular contributor to this newspaper.