|Steve Woods - H.G. Listiak Story - "First Meeting"|
Like HG Listiak I grew up in Arizona. Born in Buckeye then moving to Parker, Arizona when I was only eight. My entire life was spent listening to news giant 55 KOY radio along with the Top 40 stations in Phoenix, KRIZ and KRUX. As a boy I always remember my dad idolizing HG Listiak and I can remember my dad saying "Steve, that HG is a great American.". I didn't know why he said that or what it meant but to me HG was a great American with a funny way of talking and rhyming.
During high school in Parker I got a shot at being a local disc jockey playing Paul McCartney and Wings, Jigsaw and even Englebert Humperdink on our AM Day-timer called KZUL, Casual Radio. When I graduated I came to Phoenix to take a shot at my dream. I landed a big time job at KNIX working for Buck Owens and his sons Michael and Buddy, legendary programmer Larry Daniels and morning funny man W. Steven Martin. After cutting my teeth with the best there was there was only one place to go and that meant KOY Radio, home to Bill Heywood, Mike DelRosso, Alan Chilcoat and.. HG Listiak.
My first day on the air filling in for Heywood was nerve racking because here I was, a kid of only 26 standing in the shadows of my heros. At the top of every hour KOY did local news and around the corner from me in the news production room were Dennis Martin, Joe Adams and HG Listiak. Now I had not met HG yet and was nervous about it but Dennis and Joe were very nice making me feel right at home. I did not know at the time that Joe and Dennis had been going in and out of the news production room which sat directly across from the on-air news room which I could see through the window into my on air studio. I needed to confirm something with HG and wanted to say hello to break the ice. Now Brother H had certain things and rituals he would perform before every show and Dennis and Joe had been bothering him while he was writing his HG'isms. So without warning I went into the newsroom where Joe was pounding away at the typewriter and Dennis was making coffee, I opened the door to the news production room where HG was coming up with all his on-air sayings and as I opened the door HG spun around in his chair picking up a monster silver .357 magnum, pulled the hammer back and said "I thought I told you to stay the hell out of here". Here I am meeting one of my childhood heros, a great American as my dad taught me looking down the barrel of a loaded .357. It startled HG when he saw it was me and not Dennis or Joe but I had already come up with a plan to deal with these giants of the air-waves. I knew that for them to respect me and not look down on me that I had to appear as great as they were so as soon as HG spun around and cocked that gun and pointed it at me I said... Hello HG, I'm Steve Wood. Man I thought you would have had a bigger gun than that"! I told him news in five and closed the door. Not wanting to appear scared or weak I told Dennis and Joe H was in menopause then walked to the bathroom where I almost threw up.
I learned something important that day. Never show them your fear. Show business can be very intimidating and with that introduction I gained HG's respect. He told me some years later that I made such an impression on him with his baby pistol that he went out and bought a much bigger gun to intimidate people with. HG and I became great friends affectionally calling each other Brother Hog till the day he died. HG was very proud of his kids Hillary and Hunter and when my youngest son was born while working with HG at KMLE Country 108 I came in one morning and told him that Mary and I named our new baby Hunter. This big, tough, Arizona cowboy and war hero melted in front of me and told me how proud he was of me and that my baby Hunter was going to be a great American one day.
Its funny in life how things happen, paths cross and ideologies come full circle. HG was right. My son Hunter, like his is a great American. My dad was right as well. HG Listiak will always have that place in my heart as a one of a kind, 100% Arizona grown... Great American. I miss him even today.
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