SIDNEY — There’s been a changing of the guard — make that voice — at the radio stations in Sidney and Piqua.
Long-time Sidney disc jockey Joe Laber left WMVR 105.5 TAM FM on March 31, and is already hosting a morning show for WPTW in Piqua. Laber’s new morning show is titled “A Cup of Joe.”
“It was time to be closer to home,” Laber said, Tuesday, about his defection to Piqua. “And I felt I’d taken WMVR to the next level and it was time for someone else to take the reins.”
He’s now ready to take WPTW to the next level.
“You’ve done everything you can to make change and make something successful, and then it’s time to move on and do it somewhere else. I always enjoy a challenge,” Laber said.
Laber graduated from Troy High School in 1990 and from the International College of Broadcasting in 1991. His first job was in the very studio where he is now, at WPTW, 26 years ago.
“I was working overnights, changing reels, cleaning carts, sweeping. Keeping FM and AM on the air was the No. 1 goal,” he said. The radio business changed as Laber changed along with it, talking into microphones at stations in Greenville, Middletown and Dayton, as well as Sidney. For a while, he was the station manager of a Christian music station in Dayton.
“I’m not a very good manager,” he admitted.
In Piqua, he’s learning another new system. When, during his second day on the job, he couldn’t fade from local to network content, he didn’t bat an eye. The veteran radioman stayed cool, calm and collected and continued to program songs locally until he got instructions to fix the problem. His listeners never knew anything was amiss.
When Laber announced on social media that he was changing stations, “it blew up on Facebook,” he said. “The biggest question I get is, ‘Are you leaving SCARF?’” Laber and his wife, Nicole, helped to found the Shelby County Animal Rescue Foundation and have been very active in SCARF’s current capital campaign drive to build a new animal shelter in Sidney.
“My wife and I are on the SCARF board and we will stay on the board. I want to see us get all the money we need and build that animal shelter,” he said. He also noted that WPTW broadcasts in Shelby and Darke, as well as Miami, counties, so “you’ll still see Joe Laber out and about in Shelby County and Sidney, just not every day.”
Laber tips his hat to a Dayton DJ known as Wild Willy. “I listened to him. I wanted to be him. And then I got to work with him,” Laber said of Mike Schneider. He’s not done learning.
“I listen to radio for a creative standpoint. I stream music from stations all across the country. I’m always listening to radio just to learn,” he said.
Laber hopes to establish for his new listeners some of the programming ideas he instituted in Sidney, including a Best Furry Friend segment to promote pet adoption and on-air discussions with community leaders.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.