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Doug Doyle reflects on his 25 years at WBGO

“It’s not about money, make sure you pick a career that you'll love.” That’s the advice I gave my dear daughter Casey many years ago. Casey is now a highly regarded special education teacher in New Jersey. She truly loves her job love and so have I for 25 years at WBGO.

Working with the best morning announcer on the planet has made that possible. I’ve been honored to be a part of Gary Walker’s morning show Daybreak since May 15, 1998, giving people issue-oriented local news as they enjoy wonderful jazz. The morning maestro and I have only yelled at each other twice through the years (yes, they were heated), but we have always respected each other. We both love to laugh during fund drives. Humor is a great release.

Our time together on 88.3 FM has been challenging too. Gary and I will never forget our experience on the air during 9-11. We spent more than 12 hours giving chilling details to all of you.

Since then, there have been many tragedies that I’ve had to relay to you and who knew what COVID would mean to all of us.

One of the more inspirational moments for me was meeting Rosa Parks in East Orange in 1999. I felt like I was walking into a history book that day at Cicely Tyson’s school. The children’s tribute to the then-fragile 86-year-old civil rights pioneer was amazing, filled with music and speeches.

The day Mister Rogers died was very emotional for me. Fred Rogers meant a great deal to me. I cherish his simple messages about love. I quickly found out that was the case for many of you. One person called me right after my report and said Mister Rogers taught him all about jazz when the Marsalis family appeared on the iconic children's television show. One of my first national awards came from my commentary about him.

I knew very little about jazz before joining the radio station. Gary and others have taught me so much about this music and the artists. The legendary Dorthaan Kirk helped me understand the historical significance of it all.

Learning energizes me. That’s also why I love doing interviews. It’s what I think I do best and take great pride in each one. Those interviews have become the foundation for the WBGO Journal and my podcast SportsJam.

I want to thank all my co-workers through the years. You are all special to me. While there are many people who have worked in the News Department, let me give special thanks to former staffers Andrew Meyer, Alexandra Hill, Phil Gregory, Monica Miller, Terry Sheridan, David Cruz, Eugene Sonn, Jenna Flanagan, Katie Colaneri, Katie Simon and Allan Wolper. Their efforts are the reasons why the walls of WBGO are covered with awards.

Current news contributors like Janice Kirkel, Ang Santos, Scott Pringle, Tennyson Donyea, Jon Kalish, Bob Hennelly, Harlan Jacobson, Kenneth Burns, Ken Downey, Jr. and Mildred Antenor are continuing that tradition of excellence.

The first person who made me feel at home in Newark was the late Dr. Clement Price. We all miss Clem. We’ve lost so many wonderful people since I started at WBGO including Michael Bourne, Bob Porter, Glenn Crespo, Thurston Briscoe, Cephas Bowles and Chris Tobin. They all shaped my career in some way.

Thanks to my current bosses Steve Williams and Stevan Smith. They’ve welcomed my input and ideas. That's refreshing these days.

On the personal side, losing my apartment during Superstorm Sandy was life-changing, but in a good way. I moved in with my lady Rose. She got me through all that. During COVID, she’s had to put up with nine morning newscasts from her kitchen each weekday. We met at WBGO during a fund drive. I hoped to win her over by bringing her some baseball cards. I guess it worked! Two of our dearest friends Dave and Cindy are faithful listeners and supporters of WBGO.

My family is important to me, but life is different now. My mom Josie and dad Spike hopefully hear my newscasts in heaven. No computer or app needed there.

Finally, I appreciate (as Gary would say) YOUR ears through the years. Thanks for letting me into your homes and cars. The ride has been extraordinary, and I hope the finish line never gets here.

Doug Doyle has been News Director at WBGO since 1998 and has taken his department to new heights in coverage and recognition. Doug and his staff have received more than 200 awards from organizations like PRNDI, AP, New York Association of Black Journalists, Garden State Association of Black Journalists and the New Jersey Society of Professional Journalists.