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Man From Mars Productions

Tom Kelly
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Q: Your later travels took you to Buffalo and Denver before you settled in at WBIG. How long were you in the D.C. market?

A: I've been in the Washington market hosting the afternoon show on WBIG since 1993 and have recently signed a two year extension to my contract. Believe me, not a day goes by that I don't think about how fortunate I am to have lived my career dream! (Note: Tom moved to Maine in 2006)

Q: Any other memories about your Hartford career you care to relate?

Tom Kelly at WBIG
Tom Kelly at WBIG


A: Before I was screaming "Big D Hartford's HIT music authority," I was heard on WRCQ (91Q). Weeks prior to Charlie Parker contacting me, Ken Griffin auditioned me on the air at 91Q. I think they were looking for part timers.

I did a Saturday night shift. And at the time the station had a thick reverb on the air. The first time I dry tracked, I stopped mid sentence and listened to my voice trail off into the reverberation. I don't know why, hearing my voice come back at me through the reverb just surprised me. I did that one shift and wasn't invited back.

And one more story:

While at WDRC, I was auditioned for PM Magazine on WFSB-TV. Charlie Parker encouraged me to do so - realizing full well that it would be great exposure for his PM drive guy to be seen on television every night.

I failed the audition miserably. In part due to nervousness and the fact that I'd never been in front of the camera.

The producer was brutally honest and said, "You'll never make it in television."


J.J. Jackson or Tom Kelly?  You choose...
Tom Kelly

I told Charlie of my disappointment. He was encouraging and understanding.

Several years later, while hosting a television show at WIVB-TV in Buffalo, I received a note from Charlie Parker. It simply said: "I saw you on TV - you're not bad for someone who would never make it in television."

After all those years, he still cared and was still "rooting" for me. I cried the day he died.

I still miss him today.

Tom "Kelly" Pagnotti died on Nov. 30, 2015 of complications from cancer; he was 57.

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