I’m pretty big on family. For me, family doesn’t necessarily mean blood related; it’s a sense of belonging, of self-sacrifice and support. A collective of people who rise and fall together, who lift one another up when need be, or knock you down a peg when life calls for it. Family keeps you honest.

I’m the oldest of four. All of my siblings and I grew up here and graduated from local high schools. And while they’ve all moved out of town, and some out of state, we’re still a pretty tight-knit group.

In fact, most of my family has been featured on my shows, throughout my radio career (whether they liked it or not!) My mom, as some of you may remember, used to call the morning show and criticize my grammar and my choices of dates! My sister, who used to live in Ireland, would get a phone call from the studio every St. Paddy’s Day!  And I’m pretty sure both my brothers ended up as guest hosts on the air with me at some point over the years.

As in many families, there were certain rules growing up: You never ratted out a sibling. It was fair game to beat on each other, but if an outsider put their hands on any of us, well good luck making it through the rest of the Skall kids! Privacy was a laughable concept. And if you licked it (usually food,) you claimed it.

The more life threw at us, the more we’d use our unique and comical sense of humor to band together to get through it. And even though we’re all grown-ups now, for the most part, it takes no time for us to fall back in to that atmosphere of being ridiculous children when we get around each other.

It’s the exact same way for my radio family. When I first started at the Z, back in 2000, all the guys and gals in our building became my brothers and sisters! Chuck and I would share Dunkin' breakfast sandwiches every morning. Dan Cashman gave me a backwards clock one Christmas (because I couldn’t get the time right on the air ... ever!) and it’s still hanging up in my house! Kid and I have exchanged many a late night watching old VHS tapes of gigs we had with different local bands. I feel like I grew up with many of the folks in this building. I turned 21 with this crew, got engaged and married while working here. When my first child was born, John Easton, from John and Cori in the Morning, was one of the first people to hold him.

The radio community in Bangor is one of the best around. Everyone knows and has likely worked with everyone else. Everyone is very supportive of one another, just like family. I mean, the very first Free The Z event that ever took place, we had donations from all of the “competing” stations! So when one of our own passes, especially someone as well known as Chuck Foster, that has an impact on everyone -- both in the community, but also in our little radio family.

It was my honor to be called back to take over his show because I’d like to think he would have gotten a kick out of that. And I feel the significance of that passing of the torch, so to speak. I’m a different person than he was. The show will be different. But I promise to bring to it that sense of humor that used to have him laughing when we worked together.

So let’s do this!

And speaking of family, I will leave you with an example of just what I mean when I say it takes no time to revert back to the silliness of childhood when you’re with your siblings. Here are my brothers, slapping each other…for fun. You’re welcome!