After five-and-a-half years on the airwaves at WZEW, 92.1 FM, Ryan “Pablo” Foster tells us he’s calling it quits — at least as a full-time gig.
Foster has been a staple of Mobile radio off and on for the past 25 years, getting his start at WABB-FM with “Matt & Jay in the Mornings.” When corporate broadcasting finally gobbled up the apple of Bernie Dittman’s eye, he was able to make the move to another locally owned radio icon — The ZEW.
But now Foster says the time has come to try another line of work and put his love of radio on the back burner. Foster says he’ll be moving into a marketing position with Cyclops Vapor, the international vapor giant located in Daphne.
He said he will still host his regular midday show on ZEW for the next two weeks and pre-recording it through June if the station needs him that long. After that he will serve as a part-time fill-in host when needed.
Foster says radio requires a white-hot passion to deal with the odd hours and hard work — something he had when he first started, but that has cooled over the years to something less intense. A “straight” job will also give him more time to spend with his family, he said. He says filling in will allow him to still get his radio fix without having to sacrifice as much of his personal time.
“So radio … it’s not you. It’s me. Alright, … it’s both of us. Let’s just be friends with benefits,” he joked.
Foster began in broadcasting in 1991 at WABB. Along the way he has been out of the business once or twice — even serving a stint as a Lagniappe advertising sales representative — before landing at The ZEW.
In deciding to get out of the business full time, Foster opined a bit about the changes he’s seen in 25 years behind the mic.
“Radio is still a great medium. A powerful one. But the FCC changes enacted in the mid ‘90s are still taking their toll and it’s simply not the business it once was. Not the parts I loved about it, anyway. Now I just kind of like it and would rather be fishing with my brothers,” he said.
He added that when his time at WABB ended it felt like a big loss because of the close relationships he had with co-workers and the fact that the end was forced by changes at the station.
“This is on my terms. I chose this,” he said.
Foster and fellow WABB alum Matt McCoy have a mobile DJ company called Party People Entertainment, and Foster says that’s another great outlet for him to get his “radio fix,” as he and McCoy can play music for people and see their reactions. He also hopes to spend a bit more time working in local commercials and theater.
“I hope I’ll be acting when a fat, middle-aged guy is required,” he joked.