Recently, Ethan Carey and I decided it was time to tell the story of the mighty I95. We wanted to tell this tale from the perspective of the people who lived it, so the I95 Alumni interview series was born.

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The Brookfield/Danbury radio station has been on the air since 1976 and there are many personalities that make up the tapestry of I95, one of those people is Tom Zarecki. Zarecki's stint at I95 was way before my time, but his role in the history of here is as important as anyone's.

Tom Zarecki was the Program Director & Morning Show host when the station went on the air, and he's the person who initially hired Ethan Carey. Ethan was brought on to do nights, but he'd eventually become the morning show co-host. Carey has been doing the morning show ever since.

Tom Zarecki joined the Ethan & Lou Show on Wednesday February 2, 2022 and recounted the story of bringing Ethan into the I95 fold, saying:

"We were looking for a nighttime DJ, and that often happens at a radio station. So, we we're getting cassette tapes back when people used cassette tapes. And, Ethan sent  in one, and we liked it, along with a bunch of other ones.

But, we liked it so much we invited him down to the radio station for an interview. We thought he could be a really important, great sounding personality for our night show. So, I'm interviewing Ethan, and we're talking about what he could do, how much he liked the show and what we could do with the programming, the music and that kind of stuff.

And, a couple of times, Ethan pointed to me and said you realize Tom all around the United States DJ's are kind of like wandering minstrels. They go from station to station to station and they don't stay very long, and I'm sure you know many of those. And, I said oh yeah, I know many of those.

He said, I don't want to be one of those guys, when I get a job somewhere, I want to stay there. I want to be there for the long haul, you understand? The long haul, and I said OK, makes sense to me. So, we started talking, later on he said, remember long haul, I want to be here for the long haul, he mentioned that repeatedly." 

Tom Zarecki - WTOR-AM/Torrington CT, around 1968
Tom Zarecki - WTOR-AM/Torrington CT, around 1968

I loved Tom's story because I'd never heard it before and Ethan not remembering it made me like it more. Zarecki continued on sharing information with Ethan and I about his time here and what he's been up to since. He shared this information at lightning speeds.

I've had the pleasure of being in Tom's company a handful on times over the years but never had the opportunity to absorb some of his knowledge and memories, so this interview was a thrill for me.

The history of this radio station means a great deal to me, and I'm not the only one. So many people in the Greater Danbury area wore an I95 shirt to school like I did, so many have laughed at the morning show of the day and thousands went to their first concert courtesy of I95. This place and the people that comprise its book are special and have done so much, for so many.

Radio event at Peaches Records in Orange CT. L to R: Tom Zarecki, Ethan Carey, an air guitar contest winner, and Buzz Knight.
Radio event at Peaches Records in Orange CT. L to R: Tom Zarecki, Ethan Carey, an air guitar contest winner, and Buzz Knight.

Fun Facts about Tom Zarecki:

  • He started in radio when he was 13 years old.
  • The first concert he attended was a Cream show in 1968.
  • Zarecki currently has three part-time jobs right now, one of which is on the radio, where he does Saturday mornings on WJMJ in Hartford, CT.
  • He teaches at Western Connecticut State University as a part-time adjunct professor.
  • He's a graduate of West Conn.
  • He worked for RCS, which is an important company in the radio industry that produces broadcast radio software.
  • He put I95 on the air for the first time on Christmas Eve, 1976 at 6 pm. Zarecki told us the reason for that was they knew no one would be listening and that is exactly what they wanted. He told us, "we weren't sure what we were doing and we wanted to get it all right."
  • He worked at WABC in New York City as an equipment tech for the likes of Cousin Brucie and Howard Cosell.
  • He worked at WPLJ (across the hall from WABC) with Pat St. John.
  • Tom Zarecki
    Tom Zarecki

    Listen to our entire (EXTENDED CUT) interview with Tom Zarecki in the video player at the top of the page, and be sure to listen to the Ethan & Lou Show for next surprise alumni guest.

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