One of the names on Newfoundland’s radio Mount Rushmore, Randy Snow, has come back to OZFM to co-host the newly minted Morning Jam
Randy, you’re not in Kansas anymore. Coming full circle in a decorated career of local radio with a diehard following, Randy Snow is returning to the station that made him a household name in Newfoundland and Labrador. After 16 years, Randy Snow is going back to OZFM.
“In many ways it feels like I’m coming back home,” Snow shares with The Herald. “That was my home, that’s where it all started. And now here we are and we’re going to try it again.”
Born in St. John’s and raised in Gander by loving parents who both worked at, met, and fell in love at the airport, Snow is a welcome name and near familial voice in Newfoundland and Labrador for over three decades. And it all happened in a way difficult to romanticize.
“The first day I went on the air I was 16 years old,” he recalls. “I had just finished public exams. This was in Gander at a small station and their afternoon guy was going on vacation and they needed someone to fill in. They advertised, back then, in the local paper for a summer announcer. So I had done some public speaking and stuff like that in high school. My mother said to me ‘Randy, you can read, you can do that, go and apply for it.’
I said no way, I’m not interested in that. So she called, she set up an appointment, she laid out a jacket and tie for me on the bed. Monday morning I got an interview to go down. I fought it and fought and I said radio? No.
I went down sick to my stomach, and they called me that afternoon and said “You got the job.”
I said “Doing what?”
“Afternoons,” they said.
“On the radio?”
“Yeah, two to six,” they tell me
I said “I don’t got a clue what to do.”
They said “ah, it will come to ya.”
So I went in and what a mess that first day was. Dad still has the tape. I never heard the man laugh so hard. I went home and fell into bed crying because all my friends in school, they’re all listening. And what a mess that was. I said I’m never going back to that, I’m not going back. That’s not my area. That’s not what I want to do. But I did, I went back and then I kept doing that for a year. Then they moved me to mornings and I’ve been doing the mornings for the next 33 years.”
The crack of dawn
Mornings have been Snow’s home since that day. His body is auto-tuned for that rarefied get up and go gusto that so few possess at the crack of dawn.
Snow laughs, those early days were far from pretty. No net, as they say.
“I was scared, scared to death,” he admits. “But back then everything was live. You turned on the mic and you were live and you cannot take that back. So there was lots of mistakes and errors.”
Snow boarded the OZFM mothership in 1988, calling the then Rock of the Rock home for 15 years. He was a staple of the OZFM Dawn Patrol, becoming appointment listening in short order.
He would leave the company amicably in 2003, feeling he had reached his full potential with the brand. That decision, full of handshakes, hugs and tears, was far from taken lightly.
“Back then in the early OZFM days, it was not like going to work, it was like coming and working with a family because we were intertwined with each other’s lives, watching each other’s kids grow up, partying together,” Snow admits. “You didn’t view it as going to work. I still don’t. I didn’t feel like I was leaving my job in 2003, it was like I was leaving a family and it was really the hardest thing I ever did. But I felt for my career I needed to expand and try something else which I did and I tried that for 15 years.”
16 years later, and having grown and evolved with the tides of radio, Snow is back hosting the re-branded Morning Jam with fellow industry vet and beloved OZFM fixture Stephanie O’Brien.
“Stephanie and I are both Newfoundlanders. I’m from Gander. Stephanie grew up in the Goulds. My mother is from the Goulds. We just discovered she knows all my mother’s family. So we got all this in common. Stephanie is funny, she’s witty, she’s clever, she’s a mom, she tells a story like no one else,” Snow says of his co-host.
“I remember when I was approached to come back here I said can I have a chance to work with her? I like her energy on the air. We met for an hour and I said if we could just take that one hour that we were together, there’s a show right there, the two of us. It just clicked automatically. With chemistry, it doesn’t take long if you meet the right person.”
That early chemistry is a blessing for the newly branded morning show duo. Unlike many things in life the timing, rapport and in-sync delicate dance between coworkers cannot be bought. Snow knows this more than most.
“You can’t build chemistry, it has to happen,” Snow shares. “You can work at it and try to make it sound like it works but chemistry is just a magical thing that happens.”
The same goes for the connection between audience and host. Snow has cultivated a strong and loyal following, returning again and again and following across platforms the man with an uncanny ability to become present in a digital world and speak directly to listeners across distance coast to coast.
“Anybody can get on the radio or turn on the mic and read from a script or a teleprompter,” Snow says. “Most people would say they listen to radio for music or weather or something like that. These days you can get that anywhere. The number one reason people listen to radio is for company. To feel less alone. And in this era of technology and phones and that sort of thing we are now more connected as a society on this planet than we’ve ever been. But at the same time we’re also the most lonely we’ve ever been. If radio, still with its power of the human voice, can bring people together and make them feel less alone then that is what’s going to save radio and keep us going well into the future. Radio is not dead. It’s never going to die. There’s always gonna be a place for it.”
Passion for the job
Like the prodigal son, Randy Snow has come home. It’s been a journey – much has changed since 2003 in this province and otherwise – but the passion for the job, thankful love of the wee hours of the morning, and drive to give audiences the best content possible, remains unshaken.
“I’m going to get in there and I’m just gonna have fun,” Snow smiles. “At this point this is not a job to me. It’s not a job if you have fun at it. So I’m going to get in there and just have the best time I can with it at this stage. I just want to continue along the journey of what I started doing 30 odd years ago and I hope people will come along with me.”
Listen to The Morning Jam with Randy Snow and Stephanie O’Brien, weekday mornings 6-10 am on the home of Newfoundland’s Music Mix OZFM