Greg Bernet

Greg Bernet was fascinated with radio from a young age, even listening to the stations his parents liked, notably WNEW and WOR in NYC that played the old standards, and became hooked on rock n' roll when he got his first transistor radio about 1958, listening to WABC and WINS (NY). Later, spending some time at the south Jersey shore, he became enamored of the great Philly sound on WIBG and WFIL and got turned on to fast talking DJ's like Hy Lit, Harvey Holiday, and "The Geator with the Heater," Jerry Blavat. After graduating from Old Dominion U., his friend Elliot Juren (of Elliot's Restaurant fame) said that a friend just got fired from WNOR FM. Seizing the opportunity, Greg went to the carrousel studio the next day, made an audition tape and got his start in radio! 'NOR in those days was easy pop/rock with female DJ's during the day and progressive rock at night. Greg started on the graveyard 2-6 a.m. and later moved to the prime 9 p.m. slot and started to build a loyal listener base with a combo of music and radio comedy that included a nightly routine called "The Adventures of Kenny Kaopectate (or Torment of a Drag Queen"). Things were going well until the episode about Kenny's high school graduation, when he played Principal Poop's speech from Firesign Theater's "Don't Crush that Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers", followed by the "Fat City High School Fight Song" by a duo called Fat City (Bill Danoff and Taffy Nivert) done in a marching band style. The song lyrics claimed "Thank God for marijuana, it's the cheapest thing to buy,/Thank God for marijuana, it's what keeps Fat City High." He followed this with the Beach Boys' cover of the Four Freshmen's "Graduation Day," thinking it would appease the station's director, Gene Loving, who was a real Beach Boy fan, but this was not to be. Greg was fired the next day for playing "inappropriate" music. His pink slip document also cited his "inappropriate" comments.

Shortly thereafter, Greg arranged to visit a friend at WOWI who told him to use the back door to the kitchen since the front door was locked on weekends. When Bernet entered, he was stunned to find the owner Stewart Brinsfield standing in the kitchen who recognized his face and called him by name instead of having Greg arrested. Brinsfield offered Bernet a job on the spot and Greg started doing the midday show (10 a.m.-3 p.m.) as a summer replacement for John Nesci ("Ah Clem") and then moved to Saturday and Sunday mornings (6 a.m.-Noon) with his morning mellow music. Greg also sat in for many of his colleagues on their shows (especially on concert nights!). After WOWI was sold (the "Demise of the Dome" as Bernet penned it), he returned to WNOR, then an AOR (Album Oriented Rock) format station. He stayed there about a year but after the great freedom of WOWI, was very frustrated by the playlist and the albums literally scratched with a nail to make other cuts unplayable.

A member of the acting company at the Norfolk Theatre Center (which later morphed into the Virginia Stage Company) the entire time he worked for WOWI & WNOR, Bernet turned his sights on a theater career, getting a graduate degree in theatre at Indiana University and went onto become a professional actor performing on stages all across the country and doing some film, TV shows/movies, and commercials including the soap operas "Loving" and "Another Life" and on "Miami Vice" and Burt Reynold's show "B.L. Stryker." His most notable feature films are Parenthood with Steve Martin and Woody Allen's Radio Days. Bernet has also performed, directed, and taught acting at various universities around the country, and while a guest artist at Miami University in Oxford Ohio, got to briefly resume his radio persona on WOXY-FM ("97 X"). Though now an online only station, it is probably best known for its tagline promo ("the future of rock n' roll") which Dustin Hoffman's character, Raymond, keeps repeating ("97 X...BAM!...the future of rock n' roll") in Barry Levinson's great film Rain Man.