DJ Duke Hamilton celebrates 40 years on the airwaves
CINCINNATI (WKRC) - He's a legend on the airwaves and in the community: DJ Duke Hamilton started playing country music on B-105 back in 1977, turning him into a household name in the Tri-State.
Local 12 talked to Duke to see what's changed since the '70s.
Duke's love for radio started early in rural Josephville, Missouri.
"My mother relied on the radio when I was growing up. Every morning when I got up to go to school, that radio was on KMOX Radio in St. Louis to get all the morning news," he said.
And he would follow that passion into high school--
"Even a friend of mine and I built a little makeshift radio station in the upstairs of my home there in the country, and we even had this little, believe it or not, this little transmitter that would broadcast out about like maybe a quarter of a mile from around my house. And I remember people calling and saying, ‘Hey, we’re listening to you over here across the field!’"
"My first radio job was in Missouri. Bowling Green, Missouri. And I spent about eight months there, and Uncle Sam came calling. I did some broadcasting in the service. I wound up in the Panama Canal zone," Duke said.
Once he returned home from the war, Duke would work in St. Louis then Little Rock, Arkansas, before he came to a crossroads.
"At the time I had the offer from Cincinnati and an offer from Houston. I said, ‘Okay, I'm going to Cincinnati,’ and that was the last stop."
In his 40 years, he says watching the industry evolve is fascinating.
"The technology and the way the business is done—when I started we were playing vinyl, playing records, tape cards and that kind of thing. Splicing tape on reel to reel, and now it's all digital. A lot of these people came around here when they were no-names to do their radio tour and introduce themselves to radio. And I can remember those people coming when they were no-names, and then seeing their careers build and become huge," Duke said.
And his favorite moment of his impressive career?
"Back in 2003 I was inducted into the Country Music Radio Disc Jockey Hall of Fame, which was a big thrill for me."
You may be wondering: After 40 years, is he getting ready to retire?
"People ask me, ‘Forty years—when are you going to get out of this business?’ And I tell them as long as I can talk and drive myself here, I'll do it as long as I can. I know it sounds cliché, but we have some of the best country fans in this town, and they just made my stay so wonderful," he said.
Duke celebrated his anniversary with a surprise luncheon before his official anniversary on Saturday.