While a youngster in a small North Carolina town, Doug was sitting in a bumper car at the county fair when he had a revelation as to his life’s work. Inspired by the baritone voice coming from the loudspeaker at the “ Wild Pygmy Horse “ tent, he knew then and there he was going to be a CARNIVAL BARKER! However, after some deep soul-searching and a dislike for living in a tent with little food or income, Doug took a different route. Beating out around 30 of his high school classmates, he landed a deejay job at 1000 watt radio station, WOHS in Shelby, N.C. So, starting in January of 1961, Doug spun records weeknights, Saturday afternoon and Sunday mornings( the obituary column of the air). The first record he ever played was “ Shop Around “ by the Miracles.. And thus, his broadcasting career began at a $1.15 an hour….After graduating high school( making pretty good grades except for an “F” in plane geometry), Doug headed for Wake Forest University which, at the time, banned dancing( he was a lousy dancer, anyway). While there, he worked at campus station, WFDD, which had 10 watts of power( 50 less than dorm light bulbs)…His playlist, classical,, no rock and roll..
In the mid 60’s, wanting to stay as far away as possible from Vietnam, Doug joined the U.S. Air Force but despite his radio experience, was made a Russian linguist ( Voice Intercept operator) and following nine months at Syracuse University and 10 feet of snow, was stationed in lovely England, and not so lovely Pakistan…Four years later after being discharged ( honorably), it was time to find a job and actually work for a living..How about the mid-day shift at WIXE, a 500 watt station in Monroe, N.C. Unfortunately, after 6 months and with Doug just married and about to become a father, the station went belly-up..To hell with radio, let’s trying selling Yellow Pages ads!…in 1970, back in broadcasting, his first news job with the new Palmetto Radio Network heard on 30 S.C. stations…That was going great until workers started taking the desk apart as he was on the air…Bankruptcy…Christmas, no job, a new baby…Doug was depressed…
Then, a phone call,, a job at a little country station in Raleigh, N.C.,WYNA…Just one problem, a handful of listeners…3 months there, hired to do morning newscasts at one of the best rock stations going, WKIX in Raleigh…It was there that Doug developed his own style of writing and delivering the news.(Maybe a little too dramatic, at times).. A year and a half in, he and pal, Rick Dees were transferred to WSGN, Birmingham…When they both left about 2 years later, Dees went to Memphis( made “Disco Duck”), Doug went to a station he’d always revered, 50 kw WBT in Charlotte..In 1977, WHDH, Boston came calling but, in ‘79, when the P.D. left for D.C., Doug went with him, and mornings at Q-107 were ruled by the duo of Dude and Doug..While there, Doug also did some TV weather at Channel 7..( his fascination with weather continues today, much to his wife’s chagrin)..
Finally, in the spring of “82, a call from ABC Newsradio..He would have to move to New York CIty…Doug balked and ABC allowed him to do his casts from the Washington bureau…For the next 34 years, much of it spent doing morning drive on the ABC Information Network..All those years, getting up at 3am( at least no rush hour). Doug was named the nation’s top radio newscaster twice, interviewed lots of luminaries, from politicians to actors to authors..However, his biggest thrill was to be one of the primary subs for the late, great Paul Harvey..2 thousand radio stations, twice a day..He was lucky enough to sit in for Paul a number of weeks over a seven year period..
In December of 2015, at age 71, Doug did his final newscasts…In retirement, he misses the people at ABC News but he does NOT miss the early hours…He and his wife, Robin, live in Fairfax Station, Virginia, just outside D.C…His three daughters have given him a great gift, 5 grandkids…As for the future, maybe something online although he sometimes yearns for a good old-fashioned typewriter, a clackety AP teletype and reel to reel recorders…and he thinks there is still a need for CARNY BARKERS …Never say never……… “Step Right Up, Folks !”