Radio Personality-CARS 108 (WCRZ)
National Association of Broadcasters Marconi Award
April 6, 2022
One of the less recognized parts of Flint and Genesee County’s incredible entertainment history resides on the zesty airwaves of radio. As any loyal listener of “Fish and The Flint Chronicles” will tell you, we’re HUGE fans of radio. Today that definition has become a little bit occluded though.
For example you have traditional AM radio, and the FM dial. But you also have SIRIUS Satellite radio, and other audio focused platforms like Spotify. Another example is live-streaming of radio-base platforms. Then there is the platform that is hardly new, but still feels new to a lot of folks, and that’s podcasting. Of course parking shows on websites like we do with FlintChronicles.com is another option providing a podcast like environment.
Regardless of what you call it, it’s all audio driven content that owes its origins to its Great Grand Daddy...radio!
That brings us back to Flint’s place in this ubiquitous communication medium. Radio in Flint started pretty much when it started nationally and included iconic stations like WFDF, a station named after its owner Frank D. Fallain.
Building the stations and broadcasting meant that you needed personalities--human beings--to host, promote, curate, and shepherd the entire process. In to that realm enters some genuine Flint legends, both in stations and announcers, (Disc Jockeys, DJ’s, hosts, or call them what you will). They are the rich, yet disembodied voices that regale the airwaves and add content, color, and commentary to the music, news, weather, stories, guests, or whatever else is humming through the wires.
Flint and Genesee County haven’t just been players in this arena , we’ve been key innovators, leaders, and rebels. The men and women behind the microphones have been among the most important and storied in not only Michigan radio history, but the nation's full audio history, as well.
When you start bandying about legendary stations you come up with names like the aforementioned WFDF, you get “The Big Six” and WTAC, WAAM, WWCK 105 “Flint’s Best Rock”, WTRX 1330, WKMF 1470 (sound familiar?), CARS 108, and WDZZ.
When you mention the names of the legendary voices, you talk about Casey Kasem at WAAM, Pete Sark at WFDF, Bill Lamb and “The Factory Whistle” on WKMF, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Peter ‘C’. Cavanaugh at WWCK 105 & WTAC, Cleodia Myles with “Cleodia In The Night” at WDZZ, Pete “The Cat” Flanders at WTAC, Ben Hamper with “Take No Prisoners” at WFBE, and without question, you talk about the estimable Jay Patrick at CARS 108.
Which brings us to the lead we buried deep in this story. Jay Patrick is our guest on the show and he is on board to talk about the role he played in crafting his portion of that indelible history - and what a portion it is!
Jay is a genuine Flintstone, born in Flint and a graduate of both Holy Redeemer High School, Mott Community College, and the University of Michigan-Flint. He got his start in radio just filling in, and when a real job opportunity presented itself, he jumped on it.
His legendary status was cemented when he joined CARS 108 and became not just the smooth voice on the air, but also the Program Manager and Program Director. CARS 108, (WCRZ) started broadcasting on June 15, 1984, just three weeks before the infamous Autoworld opened up in downtown Flint. On February 20, 1985, J. Patrick showed up , and the rest is pure radio history.
It’s borderline unheard of for anyone to stay with a career for 30 years these days, let alone a company. But Patrick stayed at WCRZ for an astounding 29 years, signing off on September 5th, 2014. That’s a 10,790 days if you are a math nerd. And if you are, feel free to round up and add a decimal because then you get 107.9 - which is kismet as it’s WCRZ CARS 108’s dial frequency!
Patrick’s influence on local radio in general, and 108 in particular, is epic. He started the “CARS Classic Lunch” in 1987, which became as iconic as its host. In fact his innovations and creativity led to WCRZ winning the famed National Association of Broadcasters Marconi Award in 2003.
Fish remembers hearing J. Patrick on the air in 1985, so it is particularly surreal to have him in front of a mic here in The Aquarium. But here he is! J. Patrick grabs his Marconi and mic and spins the stories of a storied career, right here in Flint, on the Bricks, with “Fish and The Flint Chronicles!”