After 50 years, Jack Mindy retires from the talking side
July 1, 2009 – Meaghan M. McDermott • Staff writer • Democrat & Chronicle – After a five-decade career, radio man Jack Mindy is hanging up his headphones. Mindy, 66, has spent the past eight years manning the mike at Greece’s Jazz 90.1, also known as WGMC-FM (90.1), but his career started in high school. “There was this little radio station in Fredonia looking for high school kids to do a radio show,” said Mindy, a native of Buffalo. “So I sent in a post card and that was it. I started playing disc jockey.”During a recent afternoon show at Jazz 90.1, Mindy alternated between loading fresh CDs of jazz tracks, giving weather reports and updates on the ongoing Rochester Jazz Festival, and taking phone calls from well-wishing listeners who had just heard of his retirement.
“All the calls are nice and flattering,” he said. “But I’ve been in the biz long enough and lost jobs enough times to know it takes a week and a half for them to forget you.”
Over the years, Mindy has traversed the airwaves from Syracuse to San Francisco. He started out in Top 40, with stints on small local stations in Erie, Ithaca and Geneva, then went to spinning platters on WTRX-AM (1330) in Flint, Mich.
Working there one summer in the mid 1960s, he did a live remote show from a gas station every Friday afternoon, sitting 20 feet in the air atop the price sign while the radio station provided refreshments – hot dogs and Mountain Dew.
On his Web site, Mindy says he hasn’t touched a Mountain Dew since.
From there, he returned to his home with a stint on WYSL-AM (1040), then to WIXZ-AM (1360) in Pittsburgh, where he picked up the nom de radio “Glen Shannon.”
Then, it was off to St. Louis for a run on now-defunct KXOK-AM (630), to KNEW-FM (910) in San Francisco, back to WHEN-AM (620) in Syracuse and then to WJR-AM (760).
Mindy has run every format from Top 40 to Adult Contemporary to Talk.
“I’m one of a dying breed,” he said, loading another compact disc into a player and queuing up the next song. “In the days where I was doing what I did, it was really lots of fun.
“But that’s all gone now, everything’s on computers and it’s mechanical and not challenging now. The whole world changed around radio and we ain’t going to go back to the days of people like me.”
He said our culture suffers for the changes.
“It’s a shame we don’t have the kind of common music library we had 20, 30 years ago,” he said. “There are just too many sources now, nobody counts anymore. It’s a loss of a common language.”
Mindy, of Webster, said that, while he’s going off the air, he’s going to keep his gig as Jazz 90.1’s operations manager.
“I enjoy the desk job,” he said. “It’s kind of a new experience for me to do something tangible.”
Mindy will sign off the air for the last time as afternoon host on July 6. Former Jazz 90.1 station manager and disc jockey Eric Gruner will take over the 3 to 6 p.m. slot on July 7. Mindy said he’s ready to get out of the studio and enjoy a little extra free time.
“You know, you’ve got to stop and smell a few roses at some point,” he said.