Debbi Calton’s Q&A with All Access Radio
Well this retiring business sure does attract a lot of attention! All Access is a major radio trade magazine and they reached out to me with 10 questions about my career and life, so here goes! (I keep thinking of the song “how can I miss you if you won’t go away! hahaha)
1. What led you to a career in radio? Was there a defining moment?
It was an accident! I could’ve been a welder. I was majoring in English and minoring in French at Guilford College, Greensboro, NC and decided to take a semester off to learn an actual skill. I knew that it had to be some kind of school for my parents to continue footing the bill. I sent off for trade brochures and was ready to apply for welding school when I got a packet from a broadcasting school. I had worked some behind the scenes at WQFS, Guilford’s campus station but was way too shy to go on-air. I thought maybe I could do something else in broadcasting. The school turned out to be a bust but I figured as long as I was committed to finishing the course, I might as well learn what I could. So I knocked on doors in Charlotte, NC and landed on the doorstep of AM daytimer WRPL and volunteered (literally) my services. I started out getting coffee, then writing copy and in two weeks they put me on the air. Yikes. I got to work with the legendary Al Cafaro, Chris Hensley and Daniel Brunty.
2. Can you give us a brief history of your radio career before WMGK?
I was at WRPL for two years during which time I pretty much did everything from mornings to PD. It was an incredible learning experience. There were days I was on air from sunrise to sunset. From there, I spent time in Florida at 98 ROCK in Tampa and then WORJ in Orlando. Then it was off cross-country to follow my then fiancé Brock Whaley to Denver where I worked at KFML and then on to Chicago at WMET. In 1983, when WMET was taken over by Doubleday, we all dispersed in different directions. I was the very last one to hang on. A number of my co-workers landed in Philly so I visited. Originally, I was slated to interview with Charlie Kendall at WMMR. For whatever reason, that didn’t happen so Michael Picozzi at WYSP said I’ll hire you on the spot. (anything to circumvent MMR! Hahaha)
3. Congratulations on your 26 years in the same daypart on MGK. You recently announced your retirement on December 6th. Why are you hanging up the head phones now?
Honestly, no one particular reason. I’d like to be more available to help my parents in NC. I’d like to travel a bit with my husband Chip when he tours. I actually made the decision last year on the occasion of my 25th anniversary at ‘MGK but was asked to please stay another year so I did. And I’m glad I did.
Check out all 10 questions through the link below. And thanks to All Access for giving me the chance to talk about myself!