Jerry Steffen    Biography

Jerry Steffen considered himself a music and radio nerd while growing-up in Central Wisconsin. Like most kids who eventually found their way into broadcasting, Steffen occasionally sat in his bedroom scanning the AM and FM dials at night trying to log as many stations as possible. He would also try to listen to some of his favorites from KAAY and KFI to WLS and Detroit's WJR where his father's Marine buddy Gene Healy was a newsman. With the help of his dad, a young Jerry built a makeshift radio station consisting of one record-player, a reel-to-reel tape deck and a microphone with the speakers hard-wired to a neighbor's bedroom.
During college at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Steffen naturally was drawn to the campus radio station (WWSP-FM) where he was first heard on-the-air. While in Wisconsin, Steffen worked briefly under radio pioneer Duke Wright at WRIG, then jumped to WSPT-FM while at the same time taking his first step in front of the camera at WAOW-TV as a television weatherman. It was during this period as a radio programmer he won several dozen gold and platinum music awards for helping break songs from acts like Janet Jackson, Alanis Morissette, Lita Ford, the Cutting Crew, Eddie Money, Bryan Adams, Bruce Springsteen and the Beastie Boys.
But when a job offer came from a radio station in Orlando the decision to move away from his family and friends was a tough one, but also a great opportunity. Said Steffen, "I wouldn't have taken the job if it had been in Cleveland, for instance." But within a year WGTO-AM 540 started to have money troubles and Steffen, along with most of the station's other employees, were laid-off. Luckily for Steffen he was let-go just as start-up radio station WMMO-FM 98.9 began broadcasting out of the SunTrust building in downtown Orlando. Legendary program director and station architect Cary Pall immediately recognized Jerry's talent's and his vast music knowledge and hired him first as a part-timer and then quickly moved him into morning-drive full-time. Pall considered Steffen perfect for the eclectic sound of WMMO where he was put to work compiling regular music features such as "The Artist Spotlight" and "The History Book." There was also the trivia-rich "Lost Seventies" a fan-favorite feature in which Jerry would dig-up forgotten songs from the decade, most of which he brought in from his private music library which featured more the 33,000 records, albums and CD's. Pall said Steffen was a frequent resource when the station was trying to locate hard-to-find music. Steffen's library was best known for his 45-rpm collection which included several decades of vinyl stretching back to the very first 7-inch singles which were produced by RCA in 1949.
A big fan of popular music, Steffen was once a freelance writer for Billboard Magazine's line of Record Research music books under pop-music guru Joel Whitburn. And during most of his adult life, Jerry has worked TV and radio concurrently. Shortly after being moved to afternoons at WMMO, Steffen landed a gig as one of the on-air weather forecasters at CBS affiliate WCPX-TV (changed to WKMG-TV in 1998) and for a while during the 90's, WKCF-TV (WB).
One of the highlights of Steffen's last several years at WMMO was writing, programming and hosting a unique radio show called "Sunday Morning Acoustic." The top-rated 4-hour program often featured classic live-tracks, special radio station in-studio performances, familiar but rare acoustic renditions, import CD bonus tracks and more... all unplugged... and most from Steffen's vast music collection.
Through his many years on Orlando radio and TV, Jerry has had the pleasure of interviewing celebrities such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rob Thomas, Demi Moore, Paul McCartney, Charlie Sheen, Steph Snyder, Cyndi Lauper, Andre Agassi, Roger McGuinn, Jon Stewart and others.
In November of 2008, as the economy tanked, WMMO let go two longtime Orlando radio personalities and great friends on the same day...Jay Francisco (15-years) and Steffen after almost 18-years of dedicated service. A year later, in December of 2009, Steffen landed a gig as one of the on-air forecasters for the KESQ-TV (ABC) First Alert Weather team in Palm Springs, California.

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