Q: What made you first get interested in broadcasting?
A: Actually, getting into broadcasting was an accident. When I was paying my way through college at Ohio University, I was playing music and my equipment was so large that I couldn’t store it where I lived so I was storing it at the local radio station, which was a house on Route 788. The manager, when I was picking up the equipment one day, was basically complaining about not being able to get anybody to work and he asked me if I knew anything about radio. Then, he tore off a bunch of news off the UPI wire and sat me in front of the microphone and introed the news and had me do the news—and I was awful. But he must have been desperate because he hired me part time and I literally fell in love with the business.
Q: What are some of your favorite memories from your career?
A: The one that comes back to me a lot, and we discuss when we talk old times, is when we used to broadcast live from the Jackson County fair. Back then, we would do the fair all day long. We had a remote unit that was not enclosed, it was open. It looked almost more like a hotdog stand than a mobile unit. We would spin the records. We would do the news and do everything live from the fair. That would turn out to be eight, ten, twelve-hour days.
Q: You’ve been pastor at Wellston Presbyterian Church the past 25 years. How did you get into becoming a pastor?
A: I never intended to get into broadcasting, and I certainly didn’t expect to get into the pulpits, but it just happened. One of the reasons I did it is because when I started 25 years ago, in the Scioto Valley Presbytery, there were, I would say, maybe ten to 12 churches with no pastors in the pulpit and the reason for that is, some of the older, smaller churches could not afford a full-time pastor. They let me come back to my own home church and this is where my parents worshipped. This is in my own community, and I’ve been here ever since.
Q: What are some other ways that you are involved in the community?
A: Well I’m currently a Rotarian. I’m with the Wellston Rotary Club, a past president and a Paul Harris fellow. I’m also currently the president of Jackson County Habitat for Humanity. I’m vice president and treasurer for the Wellston Minesteral Association. I’m president of the Wellston Alumni Association and also President of the Wellston JVAC, which is a non-profit individual board that supports the adult members of our community that have disabilities. Also, I’m a member of the Jackson County United Fund board too. That’s some of the things that keep me busy since I’m no longer working.
Q: How did you get the nickname “John Boy”?
A: Radio announcers never used their own name. I started out with “John Russell,” that was my middle name. Then, when I went to WBNS, I was having a real problem because I signed on as “John Pelletier” but was used to saying “John Russell,” so I kept going back and forth. Then, I got a call on the red hotline and he said ‘John, make up your mind today with what you’re going to be, John Russell or John Pelletier.’ So, I went with my regular name then. Later on, my wife gave me name of “John Boy” that originated from my grandfather. My wife always been calling me that all along so that sort of snuck in there and then everyone knew me as “John Boy.”