For decades, Herb Barry has been a jock at WLTW/Lite FM. But if you only know about his radio career, you only know a fraction of Barry’s story.
Barry was let go by Clear Channel execs in February after 27 years at the station—doing weekends the entire time. It was one part expectation and one part sadness.
“I stayed there. It’s the great benefits working for scale,” Barry joked. “Although that didn’t save me this time.”
Barry, who turns 60 on April 27, believes his limited availability finally caught up to him.
“I didn’t do any fill-in, and I was kind of a luxury,” Barry says. “I figured eventually that would be the reason they’d get rid of me.”
Barry does point out that management (led by program director Chris Conley) offered him overnights, “which I think was just sort of something to get me to say no.”
The weekend before leaving Lite FM, Barry had a premonition.
“I kept telling them I was available for more work,” Barry recalls. “And they kept bringing in people from other Clear Channel stations.”
He points to Marc Coppola and Jonathan Clarke from WAXQ/Q 104.3 and Joe Davis from WKTU who took fill-in shifts in those final days.
“I just got a weird vibe that it wasn’t good for me.”
Throughout his WLTW career, there were the occasional full-time opportunities (prior to the station being bought by Clear Channel). But Barry, who was ahead of his time—making a career change to sales in 1984—never wavered.
“I made a very good decision way back when to get out of radio full time, because I would be another guy like Al [Bernstein], Steve [A. Roy], and the rest of them [former WLTW jocks] trying to struggle to find work.”
However, nobody said it would be an easy choice to make.
“It was … a difficult decision, because I loved radio,” Barry says. “I sort of had to admit that for whatever reason it wasn’t happening for me.”
At the time, as WLTW was in its infancy playing beautiful music, Barry had a “full time/part time” opportunity, with three weekend shifts and first dibs on the fill-in work.
“The money [they] offered me in 1984 was decent, but I had already made up my mind that I didn’t want to be in radio full time anymore.”
Two hours after turning them down, Barry got a call for an overnight shift. That catapulted him to the steady weekend work.
So after some self-analysis, Barry chose to go in another direction and “play in radio.” Barry says it’s a decision he never regretted.
Since 2004, Barry’s been working for a company called Titan 360.
“I am in sales in the New Jersey office where we sell and service all advertising on N.J. Transit’s bus and rail fleet along with some other companies,” Barry says.
While growing in his weekday career, Barry rebuffed full-time radio options presented to him along the way at Lite FM.
“I wouldn’t give up this for that [Lite] without a lot of paper and a lot of money,” Barry says.
Unlike a potential switch to something steady, he’s proud that paperwork wasn’t needed for his WLTW tenure.
“I worked for six different PDs [and] never had a contract,” Barry remembers. “I was just always there based on whoever the PD was putting me on the schedule.”
With a unique perspective, Barry is declarative when it comes to radio’s next generation.
“I don’t think there’s any future in it.”
The smooth jock, Barry, who previously had at stops at WPAT and WYNY, says his style would compliment a pair of stations today—WCBS-FM and Fresh 102.7/WWFS.
“I worked for CBS-FM [prior to joining Lite]… I don’t know any of the management team over there now, and I’m not applying,” Barry admits. “So the likelihood of them coming to me is not terribly likely.”
As for Fresh, it’s run by Jim Ryan. But the longtime weekend DJ has no illusions of reteaming with his former Lite FM boss.
“When he first got the job over there, I kind of offered him a congratulatory email and he never [responded].” Barry says. “I get the feeling he wouldn’t be interested.”
If radio doesn’t come knocking on his door, Barry has his sales job, but most importantly, has family.
“I have one grandchild (seen in picture above) and another one due in a couple of weeks,” Barry admits. “I want to enjoy being a grandfather.”
Barry sums up his career to this point.
“Forty years in radio and 60 years on the planet,” Barry says. “Not bad.”