DJ Husky LePew celebrates his 100th show on KVMR | TheUnion.com

DJ Husky LePew celebrates his 100th show on KVMR

Steve Baker
Special to Prospector

When Tony Beverly graduated high school, he wrote his dream job was to be the next Wolfman Jack, the legendary '60s late night radio disc jockey who was also seen in the film "American Graffiti."

Decades later, Beverly finds himself on radio, having the time of his life after a sometimes rocky road.

So that was quite a late night celebration they held last week for KVMR 89.5 FM disc jockey Husky LePew, Beverly's utterly clever on-air radio name.

Beverly was special guest on Eric Flaherty's "The Last Radio Show" about an hour before "Husky LePew" was due to host his, yup, 100th radio show on the Nevada City non-commercial radio station, most of them in the very early hours of 12 a.m. to 4 a.m., including his regular "Music for Grown Folks" every other Tuesday (next show: May 22, 89.5 FM, kvmr.org streaming).

"I haven't had pre-show jitters since my 30th show, but I sure got'em tonight," Beverly told Flaherty and his listeners, modestly adding, "It's like I'm graduating eighth grade and I'm in a sea of company of radio Ph.D's."

"This is a big deal for me, it's a big step, but I've got a ways to go to match the likes of you (Eric), Edy (Cassell) and Bob and Annie (DeSanti)," he said, naming several other KVMR broadcasters. "This is a privilege and honor and so much damn fun."

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Plays 'snappy stuff'

His music format is "romance, memories and smooth jazz, but I also play snappy stuff that you can shake your butt to," said Beverly. "My hero is Barry White, you know."

In fact, Beverly is downright indefatigable in last minute subbing and taking additional unfilled shifts. The odd hours don't bother him.

"When I was in the work force, I worked the graveyard (shift) for 19 years," he said.

So when his show is over at 4 a.m., he gets home soon because he lives nearby, goes to bed, and then gets up around 10 a.m. to … listen to a recording of his show.

"I nitpick about words I stumbled over and other stuff because I want to reach that level of polish and professionalism so many other broadcasters (at KVMR) have," he said.

KVMR general manager Julie Chiarelli was one of those celebrating Beverly live in studio.

"You've added another dimension to KVMR," she told Beverly and the listening audience. "We're so proud of you, Husky."

A few years before, things weren't so easy for Beverly.

Beverly had a gambling problem, he had depression issues, and he decided to move from Reno to Grass Valley, where he realized he would soon end up sleeping in his vehicle.

Utah's Place

So Beverly ended up at Utah's Place, the homeless shelter and advocacy center for those in need.

"Someone in line there said it was a five star homeless place," he said. "I said, 'How could that be?' But it was … "

A staff person there told Beverly he had a "great voice for radio" and recommended he apply for the KVMR Broadcaster Training Class.

That reawakened the Wolfman Jack disc jockey spirit in Beverly from decades before.

"So I came here (KVMR) with an incredibly sexy voice and the rest is just seat of the pants radio," he said with a laugh. "Hey, I'm your soul provider, baby."

Yup, that's part of his radio format — "soul provider" of vintage R&B, smooth jazz and, of course, soul music.

A KVMR identity was born, still being lovingly nurtured after 100 shows.

Now Beverly has a place to live.

And so does Husky LePew.

Best drive in seven years

KVMR's spring membership drive brought in about $94,000, the best drive at the station since May of 2011, and just above what the non-profit station raised a year ago.

Six hundred and forty six listeners made contributions during the 10-day drive, with over 14 percent of them new members. The top day was Saturday, May 12, the final day of the drive, raising $21,927.

On The Air is a weekly irreverent look at Nevada City's volunteer-driven, eclectic community radio station at 89.5 FM and streaming at kvmr.org. Complete KVMR schedule available at the station's website, http://www.kvmr.org. The station features an easy-to-use archive of all music shows for two weeks and talk shows for two months at archive.kvmr.org.