From part-time overnight disc jockey to well-known radio personality and local TV commercial star, Dennis Staples has traded his 5:30 to 10 a.m. time slot for rest and relaxation. He signed off at WRQN-FM (93.5) for the last time in mid-August and bid farewell to Bob Kelly, his on-air partner of almost 20 years.
While he predicted station personnel probably will find Kelly “dead at his microphone at age 100,” Staples, age 58, will tend to his health issues.
“It’s requiring more and more to keep myself healthy, so I’ve decided that probably it’s time to hang up the old headphones and take care of myself for a while,” Staples said.
His career began in 1970 in Oroville, Calif., when KAOR radio hired him with no experience because the station was so “desperate.” He rode the airways to Toledo and never looked back. Firmly transplanted in the Glass City, he described his love for the occupation that helped support his wife and children.
“You start in 1970, and then you realize that, 36 years later, you still enjoy getting up and going to work. It’s a real blessing to have this kind of job,” Staples said. “I like the freedom; I like the creativity. I love the hours.”
The Toledo market fit extremely well for the air jock, who called the standard of living “pretty high and affordable,” unlike his home state of California. He left expensive housing, eventually sharing in raising a son who works as an insurance agent in Cleveland, and a daughter who is a local recreation specialist.
“In a larger market, the pressure to perform is so intense, I would have died 10 years ago of an ulcer,” said Staples. “I’ve really, really enjoyed staying in Toledo.”
Program Director Ron Finn explained how difficult it was to replace the veteran quipster because the personalities melded so well. Yet the rock-and-roll oldies will play on, with the spirit of Staples lingering in the studio. WRQN began a search for his replacement when they learned of his plans to retire. Becky Shock began her tenure at Kelly’s side on Aug. 28.
“I think the real strength of Kelly and Staples, and for that matter any morning team, is the personalities that bring themselves to the show,” Finn said. “It’s tough on somebody who’s going to walk in and pick it up where Dennis left off.”
Among the antics from the “Kelly and Staples Show” are memorable moments such as the two appearing in a Meijer parking lot after they were released from an unnamed radio station. They carried a sign that read, “Will work for food.” The team moved to WRQN, entertaining morning listeners for 12 years.
“It seems like every day it’s a blessing to have Kelly and Staples on the air because there’s people talking about stuff they did on the air and that occurs on a daily basis,” Finn continued.
“It’s been a wonderful ride. I’ve been a beneficiary of morning shows that brought me some good ratings for our radio station for a lot of years now. I’m gonna miss Dennis a lot.”