When Tony Beverly graduated high school, he wrote that his dream job was to be the next Wolfman Jack, the legendary '60s late night radio disc jockey who was also seen in the film "American Graffiti".
Decades later, Beverly finds himself on radio, having the time of his life after a sometimes rocky road.
So that was quite a late night celebration they held last week for KVMR 89.5 FM disc jockey Husky LePew, Beverly's utterly clever on-air radio name.
Beverly was special guest on Eric Flaherty's "The Last Radio Show" about an hour before "Husky LePew" was due to host his, yup, 100th radio show on the Nevada City non-commercial radio station, most of them in the very early hours of 12 a.m. to 4 a.m., including his regular "Music for Grown Folks" every other Tuesday (next show: May 22).
"I haven't had pre-show jitters since my 30th show, but I sure got'em tonight," LePew told Flaherty and his listeners, modestly adding, "It's like I'm graduating 8th grade and I'm in a sea of company of radio Ph.D's."
"This is a big deal for me, it's a big step, but I've got a ways to go to match the likes of you (Eric), Edy (Cassell) and Bob and Annie (DeSanti)," he added, naming several other KVMR broadcasters. "This is a privilege and honor and so much damn fun."
PLAYS 'SNAPPY STUFF'
His music format is "romance, memories and smooth jazz, but I also play snappy stuff that you can shake your butt to," said Husky. "My hero is Barry White, you know."
In fact, LePew is downright indefatigable in last minute subbing and taking additional unfilled shifts. The odd hours don't bother him.
"When I was in the work force, I worked the graveyard (shift) for 19 years," he said.
So when his show is over at 4 a.m., he gets home soon because he lives nearby, goes to bed, and then gets up around 10 a.m. to... listen to a recording of his show.
"I nitpick about words I stumbled over and other stuff because I want to reach that level of polish and professionalism that so many other broadcasters (at KVMR) have." he explained.
KVMR General Manager Julie Chiarelli was one of those celebrating LePew live in studio.
"You've added another dimension to KVMR", she told LePew and the listening audience. "We're so proud of you, Husky."
A few years before, things weren't so easy for Husky, er, Tony Beverly.
Beverly had a gambling problem, he had depression issues, and he decided to move from Reno to Grass Valley, where he realized he would soon end up sleeping in his vehicle.
So Tony Beverly ended up at Utah's Place, the homeless shelter and advocacy center for those in need.
"Someone in line there said it was a five star homeless place," he said. "I said how could that be? But it was..."
A staff person there told Beverly he had a "great voice for radio" and recommended he apply for the KVMR Broadcaster Training Class.
That reawakened the Wolfman Jack disc jockey spirit in Beverly from decades before.
"So I came here (KVMR) with an incredibly sexy voice and the rest is just seat of the pants radio," he joked. "Hey, I'm your soul provider, baby."
Yup, that's part of his radio format -- "soul provider" of vintage r&b, smooth jazz and, of course, soul music.
A KVMR identity was born, still being lovingly nurtured after 100 shows.
Now Tony Beverly has a place to live.
And so does Husky LePew.
DRIVE BEST IN 7 YEARS
KVMR's spring membership drive brought in about $94,000, the best drive at the station since May of 2011 and just above what the non-profit station raised a year ago.
646 listeners made contributions during the ten-day drive, with over 14% of them new members. The top day was Saturday, May 12, the final day of the drive, raising $21,927.