OSKALOOSA — Patrick Flaherty, will be turning 86 years old later this year. Sixty of those years have been spent in radio.
Flaherty still takes to the air for a weekly radio show called "Classics on Vinyl." The current show airs Wednesdays on KIIC, but he has worked with a number of stations over the course of his long career.
When asked why he got started in radio, he said a friend urged him to take the chance.
“I grew up in Minneapolis. There was a sign that said American Institute of the Air. ... A buddy was with me and he said 'you know you ought to do that, you have fun making people laugh.' Anyways, long story short, I went in, and they took about everybody. They wouldn’t have taken me if I stuttered," he said, "but anyways I went in and went to school for six months and then in the year of 1955 in March I took my first job in Fairfield, Iowa."
A lot has changed in radio since Flaherty started.
“I mean, everything when I started, we had a couple of turntables and a board and that was it. Now everything is digital. I couldn't go into any station today and work or operate a board. People today who are doing it are good at it."
Flaherty first lived in Oskaloosa in 1955. Then he went back to Minneapolis in 1959 for a couple years. He returned to Oskaloosa in 1962 and has been here since.
He had a simple explanation for why he's still spinning songs and stories on radio six decades after that first job.
“Well I gotta work, number one," he said. "I have been doing it a long time, I'm healthy, I'm having fun, the station I am with right now is hot, were doing a lot of things nobody else is doing and stuff like that.”
Flaherty said he didn't have time for hobbies, with radio and G Strings, which is the only complete music store in Southeast Iowa. Flaherty has been with G Strings for five years now and is ready to give it up to his granddaughter, Ashley Schultz. She plans to open up her own store with a different name, and different location.
“I go to the nursing home twice a day to visit my wife. I go there at 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. till 9 p.m.," he said. "I do a live show every Wednesday night. I am just turning my music store over to my granddaughter, and then I do radio all day, so my day is full.”