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The SuperJox Lunch crowd convenes four times a year to talk sports, radio — and old times

By Andy Furman
NKyTribune Reporter

It happens four-times-a-year.

You might call it The Sports Equinox – but it has nothing to do with the seasons.

Radio veterans gather at Barleycorn’s in Lakeside Park to relive the past – and boast about their successful careers – be it truthful or not.

The four-times-a-year get-together – dubbed The SuperJox Lunch – was the brainchild of Mike Tussey, a radio Hall of Famer in West Virginia – and soon to be inducted in the Northern Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame.

“Most of the 25 fellas on my roster are retired,” said Tussey, who called radio play-by-play for Northern Kentucky University, and later was behind the microphone for Thomas More University football.

The Fall Edition of the SuperJox Lunch Series, left-to-right: Jim Labarbara, Andy Furman, Mike Tussey, Dusty Rhodes, Marty Brennaman, Alan Cutler, Randy Michaels, Ernie (Fat Man) Brown, Ric Robinson and Denny Wright

The creator of the event, the ringmaster, if you will, is at the ripe young age of soon-to-be 84. Yet Mike Tussey is still going strong.

“I have it right here, still,” he smiles, pointing to both ears – signaling his brain is still sharp as a tack.

Tussey, a Florence resident, calls basketball games for Morehead State in Kentucky on ESPN-3.

Some legends never retire.

But those who have enjoy the small-talk and the camaraderie between their long-time professional friends.

Take, for example Randy Michaels.

The man who built Jacor Broadcasting, and eventually turned 700-WLW Radio into, “The Big One.”

He remembered those so-called Radio Wars that were battles back in the day.

“Radio wasn’t dominated by the corporate giants back then,” he said, “and one conglomerate couldn’t own several stations like it is today.”

Michaels recalled the battle his 700-WLW Radio had with 55 (AM) WKRC.

“It was so competitive,” he told the Northern Kentucky Tribune, “Our newscasts would never mention 55 as a temperature for the weather.”

Now that’s some stiff competition.

Dusty Rhodes, the Hamilton County auditor, has seen his radio career do full circle. He was part of the Original Good Guys on 1360-AM WSAI.

“Our audience was so strong,” he said, “you could drive down anywhere in Price Hill with your windows down during the summer, and hear WSAI.”

And it was Rhodes, along with his fellow WSAI disc jockeys, that was responsible for “Beatlemania” in Cincinnati. They brought the Beatles to town in the summer of 1964.

Rhodes remembered “Skinny” Bobby Harper, Paul Purtan, Mark Edwards, Steve Kirk and himself, who all worked at the radio station were having a drink one evening and got to talking about sending a telegram to England asking The Beatles to make Cincinnati a stop on their U.S. tour.

“We said, ‘Let’s give it a shot,’” Rhodes recalled. “It came out of nowhere.”

And, it repeated itself the other day at The SuperJox luncheon.

The other Hall of Famer in the house – Marty Brennaman – the long-time, now retired voice of the Cincinnati Reds.

Perhaps he summed it up best.

“Our generation is probably critical of the youngsters coming up,” he laughed. “But I’m sure it was the same when we were making our noise – that’s just the way this business is.”

Ernie (The Fat Man) Brown, the long-time WEBN-FM (107.1) deejay, now shares his voice with the Classic Country 106.7-FM – WNKR.

He’s also very involved with projects in Villa Hills – in particular raising funds to rebuild the clubhouse that was destroyed by fire earlier this year.

“’EBN is a thing in the past, at least for me,” he said, “it was fun. And we had tremendous success. I don’t think they’ll see things like that again.”

He reminded satellite radio, and podcasting – perhaps more than anything else, has created a dent in the radio listening habits.

Jim Labarbara, is another who refuses to hang it up, is still spinning the oldies on WDJO each and every morning – 6-10 a.m. (95.9 FM, 107.9FM and 1480-AM).

“It’s in my blood,” said the man who is in the Cleveland Radio Hall of Fame.
 He’s had stops in Cleveland, Denver, WLW, WGRR and the latest – WDJO.

“We have an audience,” he said, “those Baby Boomers love the oldies. We just need to let more people in and around town know about us.”

Ric Robinson, who toiled in West Virginia and later a stint at WLW; Denny Wright – Mike Tussey’s radio play-by-play partner at both NKU and Thomas More and former host of the Cincinnati Bengals Radio Network – Alan Cutler made a first-time appearance.

Who says you have to be retired to be part of the SuperJox lunch?

In fact, most of the members are still hard at work – because they love what they do.

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One Comment

  1. Dennis Wright says:

    Thanks Andy, a good article that tells it like it is. But if truth be known, I actually gave Mike his start with me at NKU and doing the football at TMU. Since he is better at publicity than I am, I guess that’s how it appears that he was the one behind our partnership. He and I actually met several times during the offseason to kind of compare notes and keep the juices flowing for the next basketball season; that’s how the lunches actually started. Again thanks for the article and making it possible for my nomination into the NKYSHOF.

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