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What's In A Name?

August 20, 2018

Can you figure out what someone is all about merely by their name? I wouldn’t shock your socks off if I told you Steve McKay isn’t my “real” name, right? I think lots of folks know the McKay part of my name is used only during my TV-radio hijinks. 

 

You see, it all started back in October of 1984. The king of Bangor radio-George Hale, summoned me from a radio station in Dover, NH for a job interview, asking if I would be interested in working on the sister station of WABI-AM, the station on which he ascended to his legend-like status.

 

 I would be hosting the morning show on what was then WBGW-FM, right across the hall from the living legend. After taking a millisecond to think about it, I blurted-out “Yes!” which led to Mr. Hale’s next question: “What name are you going to use on the radio?” “Name?” I replied, “Why, Steve Smith, of course!” “SMITH?” George retorted, “SMITH is too boring! Come-up with something else.” 

 

Trying to think of a way I could use a family name, I thought of my Dad’s mother, whose maiden name was McKay. “How about Steve…..McKay?” I asked George. The legend’s eyes lit-up as he exclaimed: “That’ll work! We’ll call your show Start Your Day with Steve McKay!”  

 

So that’s how it started. When I went back to school for earth sciences in favor of a career in meteorology, nobody knew who the guy with the boring name was, so the WLBZ-TV folks preferred I stick with the Steve McKay moniker.

 

For most of my 58 years I’ve been watching a baseball team anchored in Fenway Park going by the name “Red Sox.” Prior to 2004, their name defined them: lovable losers. Oh sure, there were those successful years they got close….’78…’86…but their name was still…Red Sox. 

 

But danged if 2004 didn’t come along, then 2007, and 2013, and now, 2018. As of this writing, 50 games above .500. Best team in baseball.

 

I thought I knew this team. The squad with the name Red Sox will slip on a banana peel while the pin-stripers strut past them. And yet as the season continues to amaze us, maybe I’m wrong. Perhaps just one name doesn’t define people after all. Go figure.

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