Guy Perry Leaves 97X, Big Shoes To Fill
Guy Perry will sing his swan song this afternoon on 97X. It's a station he guided to prominence in the fall of '87, and twice lent his help over the last few years.
As a Rock and Roll radio station, 97X was always at it's best when Guy Perry was behind the microphone, or behind the music. He's what we call in the business, "Great Pipes." When Guy first came to 97X, his job was to hoist 97X back to it's Rock and Roll image.
The format was somewhat diluted with Top 40, and Guy led the change back to Pure Rock. Back when focus groups were used to test real audience response, Guy had research that showed the Top 40 crossover was a big mistake. Rather then hide from it, Guy wanted to own it. Hence, 97X's legendary apology campaign that resonated with Rock and Roll fans. 97X fans still site those ads as one of the times when radio listened to it audience, in addition the other way around.
Guy was the right guy at the right time for 97X, and those footings still hold up at the Rock and Roll Mansion on Brady St. What he loved was the fixture 97X became in the Quad Cities. It was a special time.
Guy hired Michaels and me in 1990 to come and do Mornings from Peoria. We came to the station like a ball of confusion, and Guy used the best parts of patience and pounding to get the best out of us. He spent as much time riding us for screw-ups on the air as he did defending us to management for those same screw-ups. In the early days when we needed the room to grow up, and stations weren't really giving DJ's room to grow, Guy somehow managed to keep us watered until we took root. And like a good hearty weed we haven't been killed off yet!
Guy's radio career took him to Oklahoma City, and Michigan after 97X, and he returned to his adoptive home here in the Quad Cities and was the voice of the Quad City Mallards from Opening Night nearly non-stop for the better part of 2 decades. He was at times the only thing worth rooting for at a Mallards (and later, especially, QC Flames) game. It was always comforting to hear Guy introduce us during the first intermission, his voice booming perfectly over the Arena's sound system.
Guy came back to radio, kicking and screaming in 2013. Radio is the kind of thing that gets stuck on you, and I really wanted Guy to get back on the air. The Quad Cities needed him. 97X needed him as it re-tooled from a toothless Classic Hits format into something more...well, Authentic. That is Guy Perry in a word.
So he goes into the next phase of his career, he leaves the microphone behind at 97X for a third time. There won't be another quite like him. Long live Rock and Roll on 97X!