One of Us: Herb Ivy, “The Captain” at WBLM 102.9

Herb Ivy, “The Captain” at WBLM 102.9

 

HOW DID YOU BEGIN DJING?

This was my first job out of college. I was at the University of Virginia and just sending tapes and resumes everywhere. I grew up in the New Jersey-New York area and had never been north to New England before. When I got the job, I remember arriving here in June of  ’85 and driving down Commercial Street. It was cold and rainy, and I was like, “What have I done?” Now you would have to literally drag me away from this town. I love it so much, but that first summer was tough. I waited tables during the day, and then I did the overnight shift. But I’ve been doing mornings now for 28 years.

WHEN DID YOU DEVELOP INTERESTS IN MUSIC AND RADIO?

I have an older brother. An older sibling is so influential. When I was six or seven years old and he was 14, he would keep tabs on music. We’d keep our own Top 20 charts. We’d say, “Wow, Incense and Peppermints is down from one to three!” I was paying attention to music like anything worth loving, like anything I was meant to do. In terms of being on air, it was my first-grade variety talent show. I dressed up as a newsperson, made a television out of a cardboard box, and I was behind the cardboard box reading the news.

HOW DID YOU BECOME KNOWN AS THE CAPTAIN?

At age 22, I had just been DJing for a couple of months. My boss called me in and said, “You know, we really like you and we think you have a future. But Herb is the geekiest radio name of all time. Especially on a rock station.” They said I couldn’t be called Herb anymore. I was 22, and I wanted the job, so I said, “Okay. I’ll be anybody you want me to be.” He looked around his office and there’s a picture of a boat and he says, “You’ll be the Captain.” So I’m lucky I’m not the Stapler!

WHAT IT IS LIKE TO HAVE YOUR VOICE BROADCAST TO SUCH A WIDE COMMUNITY OF LISTENERS?

I tend to be kind of a shy person, so I like being able to hide behind a microphone. Radio is the weirdest thing: you’re in a room by yourself talking to a hunk of metal. Thoreau said, “To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.” I like to imagine that at six in the morning on a day in January, there might be a listener driving to work who got the wrong coffee. It’s cold and miserable, but we could put a smile on that person’s face either with a great song that brings him back to his high school glory days or something fun we’re doing on air.

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