By Stephen T. Watson
NEWS STAFF REPORTER
Updated: July 08, 2009, 8:51 am
Published: July 08, 2009, 12:30 am
The computer made Slick Tom expendable, and now the same technology may help revitalize his career. The 97 Rock night-shift DJ with the instantly recognizable voice was laid off last year, replaced by prerecorded programming in a cost-cutting move by Citadel Communications.
Now, Slick Tom Tiberi of South Buffalo has launched a Web site, www.slicktom.com , and started a daily podcast featuring his thoughts on the day’s headlines, the world of music and whatever is annoying him right then. “It’s nice to be totally uncensored, totally free — free, free at last, thank God almighty, I’m free at last — from the corporate moguls, the corporate pigs, that rule what is now the vast wasteland of commercial radio,” said Slick Tom in his first podcast.
His Web site links to articles, movie clips and classic rock videos such as Dire Straits at Wembley Arena and bootleg Van Halen footage from 1977.
Tiberi also is selling Slick Tom swag—T-shirts and coffee mugs — and asking young women to send him provocative pictures of themselves.
“At the very least, it’s a hobby and it still keeps me active. It gives me my voice back,” Tiberi said in an interview.
He was laid off on Election Day after 12 years on the 7 p. m. to midnight shift for WGRF-FM.
He saw where commercial radio was heading in recent years—economic troubles, consolidated ownership and increased use of syndicated material — but he liked what he did, and losing his job was a real blow.
“I can’t say that I was really surprised, but I was still shocked,” Tiberi said.
He said he has received job offers for part-time work in radio, but nothing full time. He has had offers in other fields, but he isn’t ready to give up his career in radio just yet.
A chat with two laid-off radio station sales people at a bar gave Tiberi the idea to launch his Web site.
He initially wanted to stream music on the site, but opted not to because he thought the required royalty payments for the songs would be too expensive.
He decided to make his site more of a blog, with posts on topics ranging from our broken health care system to celebrity felons and the podcast at its core.
He hopes to carry over the conversation from his Facebook page, where Tiberi interacts with 1,400 friends and fans.
“In a way, there’s things I could do that I couldn’t do on the radio,” said Tiberi.
His commentaries do include more profanity than he was allowed to use at 97 Rock.
Tiberi said he’ll do a new podcast at least every day, and sometimes more than once a day, and he hopes to draw in enough listeners to attract advertisers and make money.
He may at some point go live with his broadcast and take calls from listeners, something he said he misses from his nights on the air.
“I loved my job. I miss my callers. I was kind of like a bartender, and I’d have this cast of characters call in every night,” Tiberi said.