First grade, the beginning of my academic career is when I first met my best friend, Michael Wilson. Mikey, had a shock of blond feathery hair, was heavy set bordering on chunky, and he wore glasses. We hit it off like peas and carrots right away. In fact, his father called us Laurel and Hardy; I was skinny as a rail and Mikey was the polar opposite. His mother, Mrs. Wilson, called me Eddie Haskell.
My friend was quiet but mischievous; and no one knew what he was up to. Our Physical Education teacher Ms. Brewster, a Martina Navratilova look alike, discovered us eating Red Fox chewing tobacco in the musty, and decrepit old gym. Mike quietly argued there was no rule against what we were doing. She bucked it all the way up to the principle for a ruling on whether or not we could.
When FM Christian radio was a new born baby in the 1980’s, Mike was determined to be involved, in his words “I was able have fun and get paid for it.” Plus, he was able to dally like a tinker in all of that expensive sound equipment. He became a DJ at fifteen and graduated high school early to become KSBJ’s program director. Along the way he met and networked with a slew of minor dj’s, Christian musical artists and secular bands.
Like a child of the depression Michael never throws anything away. In fact, where most of us chunked or fire crackered our toys away, he kept them stashed, not because he knew they would be collector’s pieces but because he is a packrat. He has tapes recorded off of listener sponsored radio (the dirty stuff we thought was so funny as kids), older than dirt Earth Wind and Fire posters, velvet Elvis paintings and even a tape of our dead friend Rex’s poor attempts at impersonating Richard Pryor.
In the early nineties he and his wife moved to Nashville, Tennessee, to work for WAY FM, Nashville’s first Christian Radio station. All of those contacts made earlier blossomed like a Tyler rose. Old friends led to new, and his long time other hobby without working, computers, led him to retire from radio. Gen-X Communications, a Bill Gates type endeavor, who was working out of a garage, led to an international Christian country music radio program spreading its tentacles around the world. Ironically, Michael despises country music the way a Baptist does a Jehovah’s Witness.
In 1997 Mad Dancer Media was born, an evolved version of Gen-X Communications, pioneering web design and enhanced cds. Michael has worked with a who’s who of recording artists, Michael W. Smith, DC. Talk, the Gaithers, Chris Tomlin, and most recently Michael Card. Mikey has a personality like a popular game show host and the self-taught know how of an MIT graduate. A lethal and effective combination linking brains and charm, not only in business, but for God’s greater glory, all of his work other than radio began as a ministry to others.
Michael is still a big guy, as his business has grown so has he. He has a petite little wife named Marilyn who missions to Moldova every year. He has two daisy pretty girls as towheaded as their mother and a son who is following in his daddy’s footsteps. Jonathan has taught himself to use the latest and greatest types of computers and sound equipment, a real chip off the old block. While I am finally completing the pinnacle of my education, we talk of old times, sharing a laugh of old ribald toilet humor. Like Siamese twins, Laurel and Hardy never grow apart.