Wake up weekdays with the nicest guy in radio
By Jim Bucher
Photo: Jeff Stevens [middle] and his ’80s band Stranger
Life, for the most part, is about routine, stability and being comfortable. Whether in a relationship or with your friends, humans like familiarity.
So, it’s reassuring to know, when gas prices go sky high and groceries along with it, there’s war and rebellion around the world and natural disasters abound that, yes, my DVR did record “Honey Boo Boo.”
It’s also nice to know every weekday morning I, along with thousands of others, can soothe my angst with the reassuring and calming voice of my friend Jeff Stevens.
He’s part of the “Jeff, Gina and Dave” morning show on MIX 107.7. They bring the latest news, pop culture and trends with the right “mix” of spontaneity and silliness to get us movin’ in the morning like a good cup of Joe.
But who is the voice behind the microphone?
“Well, I went to Tipp City schools all my life and got my bachelor’s degree in Radio/TV and Film at Bowling Green State University,” Stevens said. “I knew it in about seventh grade – I wanted a career on radio. I would get home and listen to the radio after baseball games and hear Charlie Butcher on 104 WDJX. I knew then that’s what I wanted to do when I grew up.”
Yes, he also had the gift to gab and a bit of entrepreneurial skills.
“I started a high school radio station at lunchtime at Tipp High School,” Stevens said. “I played songs during lunch hour and made a few announcements etc. I worked at WFAL and WBGU at BGSU – both college stations that could be heard off campus, too. My first paying job was WZZY 98.3 in Winchester, Ind. I still have the memo that told me because of my efforts I was getting a raise to $3.55 an hour.”
Wow, $3.55 an hour. You can almost buy a gallon of gasoline.
Jeff’s next trip up and down the radio dial landed him at MIX 107.7 in the fall of 1998.
“I had been the program director of WXEG 103.9 The Edge at the time and they asked me to move to Mix that Fall,” Stevens said. “I was the midday guy at the time who worked from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.”
Eventually, an opening was available on the morning show and he never looked back. With his love of music and a mighty fine singing voice, he and some buddies put together the ’80s band Stranger, which plays all over the Miami Valley.
So, a morning radio DJ and lead singer in a band – that would be enough for most people, but not Jeff, especially when The University of Dayton called.
“I was doing the PA for the Dragons’ first season in 2000 and that fall, the UD folks contacted me about an opening for the PA position,” Stevens said. “I had a terrible audition at the arena so when they called to offer me the job, I truly thought they had called the wrong person. It was such an honor to follow the legendary Charlie Robinson.”
But how does this married father of two teenage girls balance work and life at home?
“Careful selection,” Stevens explained. “I’ve gotten pretty good at being at a lot of places at once. My family is the most important part, so I am careful to work stuff around that or do things my family can be a part of.”
In radio studios, pictures adorn the walls of all the artists who came through to plug a record or an appearance, but there is one encounter that really sticks to this unabashed ’80s music fan.
“I went shopping at Toys-R-Us by the Dayton Mall with Rick Springfield, then went through the McDonald’s drive thru on Alex-Bell in a limo that day,” Stevens remembered.
So, what is the best and worst part of getting up early every weekday morning beginning the “MoSho” at 5 a.m.?
Wait, I think I just answered the latter.
“The best part is meeting people, celebs, being around music and laughing at work every day,” Stevens said. “The worst part is we can’t do everything that we want sometimes, and saying goodbye to friends along the way. The business has gotten smaller the last decade and that part is tough.”
But what hasn’t changed is waking up every weekday morning to friends now and in the future.
“Hopefully, in 10 years I’ll still be waking up Dayton on Mix in the morning and maybe turning Stranger into a 1940s cover band instead of 1980s.”
Look out, Glen Miller!
A regionally known and loved local television icon for over 25 years, “Buch’s” followers describe him as trust-worthy, fun, the guy next door, a friend and role model. You can promote your business with Buch and grab your customer’s attention! Reach DCP freelance writer Jim Bucher at JimBucher@DaytonCityPaper.com.