A few of the firsts through my life…
My First Girlfriend: Lisa Chambers in elementary school.
My First House (Which I Owned): A nice midsize home in Florida. Prior to that I always lived in apartments, other than the house I grew up in with the folks.
My First Car: Thunderbird and after that it was a Monte Carlo, Mustang, Cavalier, Storm (remember those…wtf) etc. I wont mention all, but I went up and down on quality.
My First Marriage: Summer of 1993 and I was smitten with a gal that a friend from my high school named Kurt introduced me to. Her name…Jamie. She was like a young, but hotter Stevie Nicks. I think Kurt wanted me to meet her because he was interested in her and wanted to know what I thought. She kept inviting me to things, so I went to a bbq once with her. Her family loved me and mine liked her. It all went fast and we were young. It was a weird time in my life during this period because I went from B106 to WMEE the first time and it was rough. I was looked at like an evil villain. A lot of things were said and thought about me. Horrible things. I realized how strong I am on the inside because that was brutal. On one hand, I was really happy personally and professionally, but guerrilla warfare and headgames from people was putting pressure everywhere. I will spare the exact details, but all that crap aside, the thing Jamie and I had was nice, but we weren’t ready. Ten years later, I would marry Ronda, the mother of my children. I look at both of them in a nice light. Happy for what they both gave me. I hope I did the same.
My First Child: Emily was my first and I was forever changed that moment. So special in so many ways. There’s Alicia who is older, but was a baby when I got with Ronda and I always considered her one of mine in many ways. Andrew came along and also made such an impact. I love my kids more than anything. Family in general is most important to me, above all.
The First TV Show I Remember Seeing: Captain Kangaroo.
My First Time On Television: I was really young and with Santa. I pulled his beard hard and farted on his lap. My Pop used to do a lot of tv and radio work, due to his job at the time and he would be a guest and I would sometimes go along and they would sometimes use me for something. My first paid tv gig happened in 1995 in Indy. I would do radio through the week in Fort Wayne and tape several tv episodes over weekends in Indianapolis. It was great, but nuts. I was going full blast then.
My First Radio Influence: I think the very first time I remember hearing the radio was as a four kid and it was WOWO. I ended up working for WOWO when I was still a teenager and was just before my first major job (in my mind) B106. WOWO still played hits then and it’s talk now. My first influence though was probably Bo Summers on WMEE. He now works in San Diego as Jagger. Another one was Fast Jimi Roberts on WMEE, who went on to work at WPLJ in NYC. Eventually, I would get tapes (remember this is long before streaming) featuring Z100, KIIS, WPLJ, Hot97, WAVA, KROQ etc. I went to school and studied the shit. My biggest influence during the tape period was Sky Walker, who now does mostly country via NASH as Blair Garner. I got my Zack Skyler name partly from him and my love of Star Wars. I had to change my name to Zack Skyler in the 80’s because the radio station I worked for at the time had a David Eppley. I know…WHAT!?! I just kept the name through the years until 2012. David is Zack, Zack is David…all the same. Another major influence was Human Numan, who you may have caught on Sirius XM before. My style was/is probably most like him. I also took the programming ideas and showprep work ethic of Scott Shannon, Rick Dees, Mancow etc. I would say the realness of Howard Stern affected me a lot, especially early stuff once he found his way.
My First Time On Radio: It was the summer prior to middle school. I was a part of a summer program called Super Summer and it was mostly arts related: art, photography, writing, journalism, radio & tv. I thought it was the greatest thing ever. I was 12 at the time and would have my first paid job doing radio at 14. Those were fun times. If I knew then what I know now.
My First Book: I read many books as a kid, but the first book that I bought was probably JD Salinger.
My First Single: Joan Jett’s I Love Rock & Roll.
My First Album: Survivor’s Eye of the Tiger.
My First Tape: Dire Straits Brothers In Arms.
My First Cassingle (Cassette Single): AC/DC’s Thunderstruck. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I dig AC/DC. My high school years were 87-90, so it was the apex of hard rock/heavy metal and yeah, hair bands too. I loved that time period.
My First CD Single: Bryan Adams Can’t Stop This Thing We Started, which I believe was the first cd single ever.
My First CD: Mother Love Bone’s Apple, which is still one of my favorites featuring the late Andrew Wood and members who’d go on with Eddie Vedder and become Pearl Jam. Mother Love Bone was a bridge of the 80’s hard rock/metal and even hair bands to the Seattle infused Grunge that would hit a short time later when Nirvana would shake the foundation. Andrew Wood was a charismatic frontman and certainly flashier than the flannel wearing sites we’d see later, but their sound was this mix of both, which is why I say they were a bridge. It was an interesting time. Andrew’s roommate at the time was Chris Cornell of Soundgarden. Eddie and Chris would pay tribute to Andrew with Temple of the Dog.
My First Concert: Stray Cats, followed by concerts of Mr. Mister (remember them?), Night Ranger (where I got my first contact high) and eventually I was a concert going freak…mostly rock. In the 80’s, I saw everyone…the Monsters of Rock tour in ’85 and then KISS, Metallica, Megadeth, AC/DC, Quiet Riot, Motley Crue, Ratt, Def Leppard, Poison, Faster Pussycat, Guns N’ Roses etc. The 90’s, I saw Nirvana, Alice In Chains, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, STP etc. Many of these acts I saw more than once. Actually, my very first concert (technically) was Dolly Parton when I was probably seven. I remember it well, I was with my parents and we were kinda in the back and my Pop had binoculars and he laughed and said, “well, dang…look at her, don’t need these!” He was referring to her boobs and that we could see her well.
My First Theatre Experience: Star Wars and it forever changed me. The John Williams score gave me chills then and still does, but in the theatre for sure.
My First Flick On Tape: Probably the Star Wars trilogy.
My First Film On DVD: The Godfather trilogy.
I could keep going as I reminisce, but that’s enough.
Whatever you do…enjoy yourself.