From 1987 to 2005, Les McDowell was WQYK’s morning show traffic reporter and resident cowboy poet. First off, he’s a real cowboy – a horse trainer, blacksmith, trick roper (a craft he learned from Will Rogers, Jr.), and stagecoach builder. That’s right – a stagecoach builder. With help from his late father, he built a circa 1868 coach at his 40-acre ranch in Parrish, just north of Bradenton, which he drives in area parades and rodeos, pulled by a six-horse team.
He’s also a real cowboy poet and writes about Americana built around great stories of Florida. Over the years, four CD’s worth of his work have been released with the money raised used for local charities. Finally, in 2009, he published a collection of his poems, "Tales from the Trail" (Outskirts Press, Denver).
In addition to performing at area fairs and schools, he’s done stand-up comedy at Hollywood’s Comedy Store and opened for country greats like Clint Black and Reba McEntire. On TV, he hosted his own country music show, the Florida Arthritis Telethon (for six years), and “Live On the Town” on Bright House cable’s Bay News 9.
In 2005, Les jumped ship with WQYK’s Braden Gunn and AM drive host Skip Mahaffey to become the morning team at Clear Channel’s “U.S. 103.5” WFUS-FM in Gulfport. The new adventure was going great until he was pink-slipped in a major Clear Channel staff reduction move that eliminated hundreds of positions nationwide in April 2009.
1987 - 2009 Other Tampa Bay Area Stations (Traffic Reporter)