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The Morning Voice

By Kayla Carter
Elizabethton Star Staff Writer

It’s not so much that David Miller is a personality on the radio – it’s the fact he has a personality that demands WBEJ listeners’ attention.
Miller said he has poured his life into his job. He likes to share information about his family and personal experiences to help people learn life lessons. He said he has not developed a personality through or for the radio, but through life.
In other words, Miller’s radio and actual personalities are one and the same.
“I don’t think there’s anything else I could tell listeners that they don’t already know, especially if they’ve been listening over the last 26 years,” he said. “What you see is what you get.”
WBEJ listeners appreciate his honesty and lack of separation in his personal and professional life on the air, he said.
“I think most people who listen to me know they are getting the real deal, or at least I hope so,” he said.
But, at 13 years old, Miller’s baritone voice could first be heard over the airwaves in a slightly different way.
“I had already been on the radio playing and singing,” Miller said.
Eddie Thomas was his on-air sidekick in the eighth grade, he said. When they heard the local radio station was going to be doing these on-air open mic sessions, Miller said he and Thomas thought, “Why not?”
“We both loved country music,” he said. “It was kind of an open mic type of program in Mountain City.”
Miller and Thomas played cover songs and some originals nearly every Saturday for a year, he said.
“We decided that we could do that,” he said. “It was really fun. We also participated in a 4-H competition and won.”
Although at one point he thought he might be the next Johnny Cash, he realized it wasn’t the love of playing music that brought him back to the station each week; it was his love of the radio station.
“It was just us on our two guitars having a lot of fun,” he said. “We kind of caught the radio bug.”
Now, his voice carries messages of importance while he sits behind the mic every morning beginning at 6 a.m. Twenty-six years ago, Miller landed his dream job as a program operations manager and morning personality in Elizabethton.
“My responsibilities have increased since that time,” he said. “The station is very localized. We are very commonly oriented.”
Miller was not always equipped to complete the tasks set before him every day. He said he first realized he was meant for radio when he was in high school.
“I got an on-air job while I was in high school,” he said.
Going back even further, Miller really got his first glimpse of behind-the-scenes radio production while humoring his father Clyde Miller’s curiosity. He was 10 years old in 1967 when the new Mountain City radio station was built.
“The station had only been on the air for a couple of months,” he said. “So, my dad and I took a trip to see the new radio station in Mountain City. When I walked in, I just fell in love with the whole idea.”
That visit came three years before he would find himself living his dream while in high school.
“It was out of this world,” he said. “I decided at that moment that I was going to be on the radio.”
Currently, Miller is in charge of music direction, news, weather and sports. A typical day starts at 5:30 a.m., and he is on-air at 6 a.m. until 10 a.m.
“It’s about keeping people informed,” he said. “My charge is to get people up, ready to go, in their vehicle and to work or school.”

To read the entire article, pick up a copy of this week's Tomahawk.