Guru Recalls Stories About the Captain, Meeting ‘the Coolest Sounding Dude’ for the First Time
The first time I heard him on WBLM in the summer of 1985, I was literally like, “This is the coolest sounding dude I’ve ever heard on the radio.”
Then he said his name was Herb.
It wasn’t too long before we started hearing him refer to himself as something else on the ‘Night Flight’ of the Blimp.
Legend has it that then WBLM program director, Jose Diaz thought that a mighty musical airship needed a Captain. Plus, Burger King was doing a “Where’s Herb?” promotion in the mid-80s. The Burger King ‘Herb’ was a nerd. The Blimp ‘Herb’ was far from it.
Being known as the Captain on WBLM was much hipper in this era than having the same name as the Burger King nerd.
I met the Captain a year later in late August 1986. At that time, I was working on the radio in Rumford at 96 WMR. Every day I was there was a day I dreamed of being a WBLM DJ someday. The night I met the Captain, we were both backstage at the Civic Center in Portland waiting to meet Van Halen. While it very exciting to meet Eddie, Sammy, Alex and Michael, I have to say I was way pumped to meet “the coolest sounding dude I’ve ever heard on the radio”.
You see, I knew I was going to be meeting VH. I had no idea I’d get to say hello to the Captain.
Almost a year after that historic moment, I finally got Jose Diaz to give me a shot on a WBLM weekend shift. This was the second time I saw the Captain. It was Friday in July. He was doing the ‘Night Flight’ until 11pm. My first shift was following his for the overnight.
The Captain kindly hung out a bit to make I was all set before he headed home. Good thing too…the first sentence I uttered over the airwaves of WBLM were picked up by the wrong mic. The Captain poked his head in the studio door to let me know that I might switch on the main mic, not the guest mic.
My voice sounded like it was coming from way across the studio.
That was the beginning of many years of guidance from the Captain. Not only has he always been there to help me stay the course and switch on the correct microphone, the Captain has been constant source of encouragement, leadership and love.
We shared so many incredible memories together over the past few decades like live shows with Aerosmith, AC/DC ,The Black Crowes ,The Rolling Stones, Page/Plant, Paul McCartney and many more. We’ve watched each other raise our families and been there for each other in times of joy and in times of sadness.
I love this guy like he’s my own big brother. He is one the finest human beings in my world. And you know what? Even today when I tune in to the WBLM Morning Show, I still think he’s “the coolest sounding dude I’ve ever heard on the radio”, even though his name is Herb. Hee, hee.
Cheers to 35 Years! Maine is lucky to have had you since 1985!