Reunion (Laughter is Everywhere)

The 15th anniversary of RockTrax on Rock 104 is next month. In the last few weeks and months, I’ve been recalling the moments leading up to my departure from SL-100 and the crossing of the street to Rock 104 that followed.

For example, *the* moment in mid-March of 1996 — when Larry Blakeney called and asked, “Ready to work for us?” He offered a chance for me to sleep on it — but I didn’t hesitate in saying “Yes.” A call to Stephen St. James during his shift was in order soon thereafter. He got the news he and I would be professionally reunited. Much of the first week of April of ’96 was spent crafting RockTrax, taking care of paperwork, etc. Oh, and catching up with Stephen. As noted earlier, Stephen’s no longer with us. But, I know he’d want to remember happier moments.

Prior to my hiring at Rock 104, one of those moments happened, as I recall, in mid-February of 1996. I was still on “the old show” at SL and a lady named Deborah Hamlin called. The following conversation didn’t end up on air -– but I remembered she called to tell me she enjoyed my program. Deborah added “the old show” was really one of few reasons she tuned in to SL. (Knowing how You-Know-Who’s morning show was going nowhere fast after his suspension, who was I to argue with a new found fan?)

Deborah would call back in the weeks that followed to requests songs. In mid-March of ’96, I privately told her I was resigning from SL –- to front a similar show on Rock 104. She was thrilled for me and wished me lots of luck.

I lost touch with Deborah about a year or so into RockTrax. She and her then-husband welcomed three kids into their marriage. In reconnecting with Deborah recently, I’ve learned she is since divorced; she and the kids have relocated to Kansas. I’m pleased to tell you she found love again since the relocation.

I’m further pleased to tell you Deborah has become an author. Her latest book — My Optimism is Killing Me! — is now available at your nearest bookstore and the usual online outlets. The excerpts at as well as her columns on had me, as the cool kids say, ROTFLMAO.

Deborah’s coming back to these neighborhoods for book signings on March 12 at Say It With Flowers in Columbia and March 15 at Main Street Books in Hattiesburg. Her personal appearances will then take her to New Orleans on St. Patrick’s Day at Maple Street Book Shop.

If you’re in need of a laugh, take a look at Deborah’s work. You’ll be glad you did.

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  1. Mmm, close. My date of hire was April 1, 1996 (exactly one year after Rock 104 signed on for the first time as Rock 104). RockTrax debuted the following Sunday, April 7.

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