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March 30, 2021 11:26 am  #1


What's In A Name? Have You Ever Changed Yours For Radio?

John Moore was discussing a Toronto Star article about a trend where people with long, ethnic names are increasingly refusing to change them to make them easier to pronounce. He then welcomed traffic reporter Adwoa Nsiah-Yeboah (and yes, that’s the correct spelling – I checked!) who revealed that, while she never fully considered altering her on-air name, she briefly toyed with “Angela Nelson” as an alternative.
 
There’s a history of name changing in radio to create a more memorable on-air identifier. That’s how Frank Coxe became Jay Nelson, John Larsh morphed into Jackson Armstrong, Jim Felton assumed the moniker Jim Brady, and Donald Pesola became known to Buffalo listeners as Sandy Beach. Even Gord Martineau was reluctantly forced to change his name for a time to “Gord Martin.” And that’s just a partial list.
 
There was an added bonus from changing your name in the old days. Back when there was a phone book, you could list your real name in the pages and only your closest friends and family would know. That’s out the window these days and the trend has increasingly gone to using real names, regardless of ethnicity.
 
This is a relatively new idea, but there was one exception I can remember that foreshadowed this non-name change policy. Back in the 80s, Moses Znaimer decided he would attract an increasingly diverse Toronto audience for City TV by deliberately hiring people from different ethnic backgrounds – and he wouldn’t let them change their names.
 
That’s how I learned to spell (and pronounce) Anne Mroczkowski, Thalia Assuras and Muhammad Lila among others. But it went even farther than that. Moses actually made one of his reporters and anchors change her name to make her sound more ethnic. I’ll call her Lori Smith, because her married name was just that ordinary and I don’t want to give out her real name.
 
He insisted she change her name to Laura Di Battista (with the first name deliberately pronounced “Lara”) just to make it seem she was more Italian than she already was.
 
It was an interesting idea and it worked at a time when other stations were represented mostly by people with names like “John Brown.”
 
Has anyone here ever changed their name for their radio gig? I wasn’t on air enough to really bother, but if you did, what name did you use and how did you choose it? And would you refuse to do it now? 

 

March 30, 2021 11:52 am  #2


Re: What's In A Name? Have You Ever Changed Yours For Radio?

I was asked to change my first name by the PD when I came to Toronto.. said it wasn't a "Toronto" sounding name.  Worked at the other stations just fine.  Anyway, I used my middle name and he was fine with it but I asked and got a bit more money for changing it.  Format flip and I went back to my real name.  Last name never changed.  I did have to pay extra for an unlisted number tho... LOL
 

 

March 30, 2021 12:03 pm  #3


Re: What's In A Name? Have You Ever Changed Yours For Radio?

It's always amusing when someone in management or sales came from an on-air background, but has kept their alternate name.


 
 

March 30, 2021 12:10 pm  #4


Re: What's In A Name? Have You Ever Changed Yours For Radio?

RadioActive wrote:

...Donald Pesola became known to Buffalo listeners as Sandy Beach.

As soon as I read this it clicked.  I double-checked to make sure.

Donald Pesola was the name of the big winner in the (seemingly impossible) contest that WKRP ran.

You learn something new every day.
 

 

March 30, 2021 12:33 pm  #5


Re: What's In A Name? Have You Ever Changed Yours For Radio?

On the rare occasion people adjust their name to blend in with a format.
Lilly Padoli changed her name to Lilly Pad while working at one of the Froggy stations.
When the format changed, I believe she chose to go with a fresh new name.
 

 

March 30, 2021 12:41 pm  #6


Re: What's In A Name? Have You Ever Changed Yours For Radio?

The Froggy stations take it to the extreme, for sure.

Another funny outcome: for a while, most of the announcers at The Bear in Ottawa had punny names -- and two of them are still out there on other stations -- "Cub" Carson on Rebel 101.7 and "Mauler" on Hot 89.9


 
 

March 30, 2021 12:48 pm  #7


Re: What's In A Name? Have You Ever Changed Yours For Radio?

John Derringer is John Hayes

 

March 30, 2021 1:15 pm  #8


Re: What's In A Name? Have You Ever Changed Yours For Radio?

There was one we all found out about last week - Ron Rowat. Better known as J.J. Clarke in Ottawa.

 

March 30, 2021 2:15 pm  #9


Re: What's In A Name? Have You Ever Changed Yours For Radio?

Fun fact: Mocha Frap from KISS was born Nonfat Latte.


Visit my brand stinkin' new radio page:
https://www.joshholliday.com/radio/

 
 

March 30, 2021 3:34 pm  #10


Re: What's In A Name? Have You Ever Changed Yours For Radio?

From Toronto television, sportscaster Joe Tilley was told to change from Clarence Tillepaugh.   Tom Gibney was told to change from Gary Gibney, they did not like the alleteration.   But my favourite was a guy I worked with at the first station I was ever at.  Not sure of his real name but he went by Rick Shaw.
And of course the best from Toronto radio was Geets Romo.   What a great name.   

 

March 30, 2021 7:41 pm  #11


Re: What's In A Name? Have You Ever Changed Yours For Radio?

I did change my name for radio, but my  background as an actor made a stage name, an on-air name feel completely normal.

I clearly remember Brother Jake Edwards ( not his real name either ;) ) who was a bit of a mentor and doing the morning show at my station saying to me when I started there "yes, you should definitely change your name, that way if you ever get arrested and your real name makes the newspapers, no one will know it's you." I laughed and said, " You're joking, right?" Turns out he was perfectly serious. Brother Jake was one wise man, and even tho I never got arrested, I also never regretted changing the ole moniker.

Last edited by betaylored (March 30, 2021 7:44 pm)

 

March 30, 2021 7:46 pm  #12


Re: What's In A Name? Have You Ever Changed Yours For Radio?

Holliday wrote:

Fun fact: Mocha Frap from KISS was born Nonfat Latte.

We were all born Nonfat


 
 

March 30, 2021 8:04 pm  #13


Re: What's In A Name? Have You Ever Changed Yours For Radio?

One of my favourite lines from a DJ I admired went something like this (and yes, he said this on air.)

"Everyone in the radio station I used to work at had a phony name. And I mean everyone. Even the bathroom was called a George..."

To which I might have replied, "They call me proscenium arch. That's my stage name..." 

     Thread Starter
 

March 30, 2021 8:48 pm  #14


Re: What's In A Name? Have You Ever Changed Yours For Radio?

RadioAaron wrote:

We were all born Nonfat

Don’t I know it! Also, for the record I was actually born Joshua Holliday, so it was either radio or lounge singer in a decrepit Las Vegas hotel.


Visit my brand stinkin' new radio page:
https://www.joshholliday.com/radio/

 
 

March 31, 2021 2:28 pm  #15


Re: What's In A Name? Have You Ever Changed Yours For Radio?

Unfortunately, some of the best radio announcers are not alive today to tell their tale.
13 years ago today Chris...er "Punch" Andrews passed away.  
I don't know if he ever posted here. 
It would have been interesting to read (here) about how he came about switching from being known simply as Chris Andrews in his CKAN days to later being "Punch" Andrews on Mix 999.

Last edited by Radiowiz (March 31, 2021 2:30 pm)

 

March 31, 2021 2:37 pm  #16


Re: What's In A Name? Have You Ever Changed Yours For Radio?

And who can forget apparent World War II aficionado and Toronto radio host Tank Sherman?


Visit my brand stinkin' new radio page:
https://www.joshholliday.com/radio/