Get to Know Gator 99.5’s New Guy, Chad Austin
My radio story starts back in 1998. I was approaching my senior year at Sam Houston High School in Moss Bluff and my parents said it was time to get a job, the dreaded three words that will change any young person’s life.
I worked for a short time at Casa Manana, cleaning tables and sweeping floors. While working out with friends one afternoon, an older gentleman asked if I would spot him on the bench press. I recognized his voice and asked how I knew him. He went on to explain he was the host of a morning radio show in Lake Charles. Without missing a beat, I said I would like to do something like that in the future. He encouraged me to submit my application at the radio station. I did and was surprised to be hired a few weeks later.
So, there I was thinking I was going to be an instant big time radio disc jockey at seventeen years old. Hardly the case! I had to learn a little thing about paying my dues first.
My first duties at the radio station were to manually run the board for Astros baseball games and wash the radio station vehicles weekly. We also had this giant radio we called the Super Rovin’ Radio. It was pulled behind station vehicles, and guess what? That got washed every week, too.
I eventually graduated up to being named the official mascot of a new radio station called Krawfish 107.5. Every time Krawfish 107.5 would have a live broadcast remote, I became a 6'4" crustacean known as Krawford the Krawfish. I walked in many festivals in that heavy costume. The mascot wars during the Lake Charles Ice Pirates hockey games were fun, too. I used to beat down the Nokia phone mascot.
After a year of paying my dues, the time had finally come for my chance to get on the microphone. I was stoked! My boss only required on thing, that I not use my real name on the radio. An odd request at the time, but looking back now, I get it. I grabbed an old phone book and blindly flipped through it and would land my finger on random names. After doing that about twelve times, I settled on using two of the twelve names. That is how I became Chad Austin.
I have had some really cool experiences while being in the broadcast and entertainment business. I lived in Miami for many years, where I emceed events and was tasked with taking care of celebrities at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. Once, a boxing promoter heard me and offered me the chance to be a ring announcer for ESPN. I have personally taken care of Bon Jovi, Aerosmith, The Who, Bruce Springsteen, Backstreet Boys, and many other way cool celebs. Then there was the time I was cast alongside Willie Nelson in the Warner Bros. movie, Pure Country Pure Heart. While reading lines with Willie, I could not help but snicker and remember that youngster who once washed radio station vehicles back in 1998. What a ride it has been!
Being back home in Louisiana surrounded by my family and friends has never meant more to me. For ten years, I hosted a local country radio morning show. During that time, I was voted by my peers four years in a row as the Best Radio DJ in SWLA.
After taking a three-year break from radio, I am humbled to be back and doing what I truly love to do.