Editor’s note: Well-known broadcaster Kerby Confer came to BU to take part in the National Radio Talent System’s inaugural Confer Radio Talent Institute. BU staff member Sue Sarver met Confer during the institute and shares her memories of the radio legend.
Music was a huge part of my upbringing as a child and has always been a source of comfort to me. I got my first transistor radio at the age of seven.
Fast forward to junior high school: I was somewhat of an outcast in those days — I couldn’t afford Pappagallo shoes or Mary Quant makeup and I certainly didn’t look anything like Twiggy. I was definitely not in the “in-crowd” and I spent a lot of time listening to that little transistor radio of mine.
Kerby Scott, an evening DJ on WCAO, Baltimore, my favorite AM radio station, was incredibly upbeat and funny. He often addressed his listeners as “babycakes.” He also started his own club called the “out-crowd” inviting all his listeners who did not feel that they were part of the “in-crowd” to join. I mailed my information in right away, though I figured the envelope would be lost in Post Office Land just like all the letters I wrote in my younger years to the Beatles.
To my surprise I received a membership card within two weeks. It was apparent that Kerby cared very deeply about his listeners and was passionate about connecting with his fans. He encouraged us to BE OURSELVES and celebrate our lives every day. I honestly think the “out-crowd” was bigger than the “in-crowd” and my sense of belonging stretched far beyond the 7 p.m.-to-midnight radio show.
It was also obvious that Kerby Scott had no intention of just being an average DJ that played the same old Top 40 every night. He obtained and played records — cuts from albums — before anyone else played or heard of them.
Kerby had a huge following. He had special shows like the Liverpool Hour and the Underground Hour and really knew how to reach and influence his audience. He was given the freedom to go beyond the standard boundaries because it was clear from the start that he was a natural at networking and worked very hard to achieve his goals.
Meeting him after all these years was a wonderful experience. He is as charismatic as ever and his desire to develop talent in others so they can follow in his footsteps amazes me. He is still a full-speed-ahead kind of guy with a heart of gold.