A Girl In Radio
Regular contributor and former tour manager Tom Weschler recounts a chance meeting that led to a lifelong friendship with Jennifer Demattei.
In a serendipitous twist of fate, Jennifer Demattei, an integral figure in Detroit's radio scene, and I found ourselves bound by a shared love for music. It all began when Jennifer, an aspiring radio personality at Wayne State University's radio station, reached out to me in December 2022, requesting an interview for her show. Little did we know that our connection would unfold in an extraordinary manner.
Our unique story dates back to 1969, a time when I served as Bob Seger's tour manager. On one fateful night, while setting up for a performance at Troy's Oakland Mall in Michigan, I ventured to the backstage area, armed with my camera, to capture the vibrant atmosphere teeming with enthusiastic fans. Soon after, we took to the stage, delivering an unforgettable show to a crowd of approximately 20,000 people.
Fast forward 52 years later, and I found myself settling in Madison Heights, Michigan. Little did I know that this move would serve as a catalyst for an unexpected reunion. One evening, while enjoying a drink at a local club, I encountered a charismatic bartender named Christina. Our conversation naturally gravitated toward music, and in passing, I mentioned my former role as Bob Seger's road manager. To my astonishment, Christina revealed that her mother was an ardent Seger fan. Eager to share my experiences, I presented her with a copy of my book, "Travelin' Man," which had been published by Wayne State University Press 11 years prior. To everyone's astonishment, it turned out that Christina's mother was one of the individuals captured in the backstage photos I had taken back in August 1969 when she was a mere thirteen years old. The plot thickened as Jennifer emerged as Christina's sister. A truly remarkable coincidence.
Jennifer, in pursuit of her degree from Wayne State, sought an internship at a local commercial radio station. Recognising her potential, I gladly recommended her to a friend in the radio business who happened to be seeking an intern at WCSX. Following a successful interview, Jennifer secured the position and thrived in her role. Upon completing her internship, she was subsequently hired by the radio station's parent company, finding her place within WCSX and WRIF.
In June 2023, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Jennifer for a brief interview. Curiosity led me to ask her which song she would choose as her inaugural play on a commercial radio station. Without hesitation, she responded, "Evil Woman" by ELO, a testament to her eclectic taste. Intrigued by her musical upbringing, I inquired about the sounds that she remembered from her formative years. Jennifer recounted The Beatles' harmonies, children's music, and the ever-present tunes of WRIF, which permeated her father's car. Delving into her current preferences, Jennifer expressed admiration for a diverse range of artists including Korn, My Chemical Romance, The Cure, and the iconic Jimi Hendrix Experience, among others.
Beyond her work in promotions for the stations, Jennifer immerses herself in Detroit's vibrant music scene, attending numerous shows across various venues. Her passion for music serves as a driving force in her endeavours, fuelling her desire to amplify the voices of talented artists within the community.
The extraordinary journey of Jennifer Demattei and myself is a testament to the indomitable power of music and the intertwined paths that fate weaves. It stands as a reminder that in the realm of melodies and harmonies, chance encounters can forge lasting connections, igniting a shared passion that transcends time and brings people together.
Bob Seger in 1972 by Tom Weschler
Words: Tom Weschler and Thomas Jackson
All images: Tom Weschler