Fred Winston: Avoiding 'Fantastic Simple Stick' Image
By Edward L. Blank
Press TV-Radio Writer
| Fred Winston is 24,
looks 32 and sounds 36.
His problem, which for broadcasting purposes was an advantage, occurred 13 years ago:
"My voice changed when I was 11, so I was kind of a freak. I got the nickname of "Frog" and it has stuck ever since."
Fred is heard on KQV from 9 a.m. to noon weekdays and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays.
This means he's spinning records on a "contemporary music station" at a time when most students are in school.
"But I don't try to appeal to the housewife. (his quotes)" he said. "So many guys make that mistake. I think it would be alienating the audience if I were to do that."
Yet his broadcasting schedule, he admits, would alter his style slightly.
If on in the evening, "I'd probably tend to be more barbaric." he said.
Which means he's more subdued in the morning?
"Yeah," he said. "I identify with the music now."
And if he were on in the morning during the vital "drive time" hours?
"I'd probably have more of a chance to be a personality. The format would loosen up a bit."
If Fred had his druthers about how he'd change the show he has now, he'd take an occasional on-the-air phone call.
In the long run it might take him less time to prepare for the show. As it now stands, the burden of the conversation is on him entirely.
Born in Syracuse, N.Y., Fred and his wife, Pat, a Wyoming resident, reside in a Sewickley apartment.
"When I get home, I like to plop myself down and probably not talk ... I go through the paper every night and look for things to talk about (on the show the next day)."
| "I like to
talk about potholes and give little political satires. But you have
to watch that. You can't get into a bag of maybe insulting people.
That's a no-no."
Formerly of Cleveland, Fred came here a year and a half ago with a plan.
"I don't intend to be a disc jockey any longer than 30," he said. "I would like to grown with the ABC organization. I would like to - hopefully - get up to New York, Chicago in the next two years or three years.
"The money they pay in those markets is great. It's like a boyhood dream."
His career started at 13 in Syracuse and continued in Dallas, Indianapolis, Denver, Omaha and Dayton en route to Cleveland.
"It's unfortunate you have to hop around i this business," he said. "That's the only way you can work up the chain to markets till you reach success.
I'd love to own the company ... chairman of the board," he added chuckling. "Who says that can't happen though?"
Noting it was the first time he had been interviewed, Fred said the image of a disc jockey here is different than in some other cities.
"A lot of times in the past I've seen interviews - not in the paper - but guys always come across like the Fantastic Simple Stick. You know, Really.
"Like when you see a picture of a disc jockey, he is generally hanging from the side of a telephone pole with a big simple grin.
"This is the type of image people think disc jockeys should have ... and the image a lot of disc jockeys think a disc jockey should have - the super funny image. Freddy Funny all the time.
"The thing is a lot of guys want to come off this way, especially in the smaller markets. They're not really that way.
| "This bit about phoniness
- I guess you learn to get out of that the more professional you become,
you know - the more experienced you are. I believe in being myself
on the air and off the air, and so far it's been successful."
En route to his goal of becoming management, Fred is starting his college education at Point Park in July.
"One course at a time," he said. "I'll probably get a degree when I'm 50."
Happy in his work, he sympathizes with those who are not.
"I feel sorry for the average guy," he said. "Not to be cool sounding, but people do things they're not happy doing.
"This social revolution is in the middle of everyone stressing for everything to be natural: Hair styles are longer you know, the natural look, people growing face shrubbery.
But yet how can you really feel free or natural doing something that you're not happy with ?"
"John Doe," he concluded is "doing a job he hates because he has to support a family."
Of his own home life, Fred says he and Pat, who have been married four years, are both Aries.
"The trait on an Aries person is headstrong and leadership." he said. "People said we'd never make it. But it makes for an interesting marriage. We're both opinionated.
"More people should enjoy that kind of a relationship. We have a lot of things to talk about."
Of that, like other things he was confident.