I have been in my little afternoon slot for three years now. Before that, I was on the weekends living my big dreams of always wanting to be on the radio. Did you know the story goes back a bit further than that?

When I worked for a casino here in Lake Charles, I played golf with this radio DJ named Mike Soileau. One evening during an outdoor concert, we were chatting backstage. He made the comment that Emily J was going on vacation for a week, and he really didn't want to do the show alone. My ears perked up and stopped him mid-sentence. He said he had asked someone else to come sit in, but they didn't want to get up that early. Soileau stopped and looked at me, then popped his giant hand on his chest.

You should come hang out with me, it might be a lot of fun!

I tried to poker face my excitement, but that didn't really work out so well for me. I showed up at 5:00am Monday morning, nervous as all get out. What would we even talk about? What if I said something wrong? We did out first break on the air together and by mid-morning, we had each other in tears laughing so hard at each other. This was it. This was my entire dream coming true.

We did the whole week together, and I was instantly hooked on wanting to keep going. As time went on, I would fill in randomly for him or Emily J. That went on for two years. Just waking up at 5:00am - for free - and doing a radio show with one of them. I would head to work afterward and work my normal 10-12 hour day, then start again the next morning.

One afternoon, Soileau called to ask me if I would want to work part-time on the weekends. I don't think I let him finish the whole sentence before I said yes. I remember having to try out for it live on the air. It was during the Rabbit Festival, and I was having to do the show, run Mike's remotes, and try to not suck by myself on the air. I would do horrible bits and struggle through them each time. Soileau would call me after each one and coach me through them as he listened. Despite how bad it was, I still got the job!

Next step? I needed a name. Being a local radio nerd, I knew I couldn't just be Russ. I needed a sweet radio name like my heroes of the past. I probably spent a week or more trying to figure out what it was going to be. I remembered Soileau would say,

My buddy Russ is joining me this morning

People would tag me on Facebook when we were on together saying they were listening to their buddy Russ on Gator 99.5. There it was. The name wrote itself. That is how I became Your Buddy Russ.

I want to thank you for reading this far, and for listening for the past three years each afternoon. I might not be as cool as Soileau with his third year of Lagniappe's Best Radio DJ, but I do keep coming in second and third. That's good enough for me, for now. I will get it one day, maybe after he finally retires!

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