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Joe Hager

Joe was born in the City of Brotherly Love in 1945, the son of a Philadelphia jazz musician. Following his 1963 high school graduation in Camden, NJ, he began his 35-year radio career at Rutgers University’s WRSU, the campus radio station there.

Leaving college in 1965, he moved to WMID in Atlantic City, but was drafted into the Army later that year to serve in Vietnam (1966-1967) as a Munitions Specialist. Following his tour of duty, he returned to work as a deejay at WWBZ in Vineland, NJ.

One of the longest stays of Joe’s career was at WDRC in Hartford, CT (1969-1972) where he was hired for middays on the AM. But with his high-energy approach, he soon picked up the nickname ‘Highgear’ and his 7PM to midnight air shift was simulcast on the FM.

His travels also took him to WIFE Indianapolis, KDWB and KSTP Minneapolis and, in Florida, Jacksonville’s WIVY (1979) and Tampa Bay’s WCKX (96 KX -1982), WQYK (1982 as “The Nighthawk”), Oldies Z93 WFLZ (as ‘Smokin’ Joe Hager -1989), and Oldies U92 WYUU (1989). In November 1989, he joined WAIV in Jacksonville as ‘Smokin’ Joe Beam to do afternoons, just in time for the New Year's Eve station makeover as Cool 96.9 WKQL-FM.

Joe passed away February 23, 1999 at the age of 54. 

Station History

1982 - 1989 Other Tampa Bay Area Stations (On Air Personality)

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