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Tyrone native Jaysen Gold hosts his own show as ‘Swampy’ on Froggy 101

It’s good to be ‘Swampy’
Last week, while working at the Centre County Grange Fair for Froggy 101, Tyrone grad Jaysen Gold, also known as “Swampy,” had the opportunity to meet Greg Fowler, Alabama’s former road manager of 25 years. Jaysen hosts his own show on “Hoppy Valley’s Best and Most Country” radio station called “The Afternoon Hop Home With Swampy.” (Courtesy photo)

Twenty-two year old Jaysen Gold graduated from Tyrone Area High School in 2004, then attained his bachelor’s degree from Penn State University last month in Broadcast Journalism, with a minor in Communications Arts and Sciences.
Jaysen is the son of Robert “Bub” Dick and Lesa Gold. He currently resides in State College, where he was fortunate enough to land a job at Froggy 101, “Hoppy Valley’s Best and Most Country” radio station.
Froggy 101 plays a mix of classic cuts and current country. The station is located in the Forever Broadcasting building in State College.
Jaysen just doesn’t work for Froggy 101, but he has his own radio handle as “Swampy”,  hosting his own show called “The Afternoon Hop Home With Swampy.” The show airs weekdays and Saturdays from 2 to 7 p.m.
It wasn’t luck that gave Jaysen the opportunity to make a name for himself in the radio business; there was a mix of fortunate events that put him on this road. In high school, he was involved in Pops Extension and played a role in the musicals “Joseph” and “The Wiz” during his junior and senior year at Tyrone.
“My real passion was with music,” said Jaysen.
High school was very influential on his chosen career path, mainly because of the people who surrounded him as teachers and friends.
“I’m not a big science fan, but for two years Mr. Dan Albright made me appreciate it,” stated Jaysen. “He is in the top five teachers I’ve ever had in my whole academic career.”
Another major influence at Tyrone High for Jaysen was Mrs. Cathy Young, who recently retired from the music and choral department. He said that Mrs. Young gave him a lot of opportunities in music at school, and that she always believed in his music.
Jaysen recalled when Mrs. Young wanted to add a verse in one of the shorter songs in the musical “The Wiz,” so she sat down with him after school one day to write another verse with his help.
“I’ll never forget that,” noted Jaysen. “She is a great teacher and a fun person to be around; the folks that go through the music program now are missing out.”
As far as influences in terms of radio, Jaysen ultimately got his start while in high school. As a sophomore in 2002, he was doing the morning announcements at the beginning of school when Peter Gardella, Jr. heard his voice over the speakers.
Gardella told Jaysen that he had a “good voice” for radio, which he also passed that impression on to Cary Simpson, owner of WTRN 1340 in Tyrone. It just so happened that Mr. Simpson had a position open for a morning news anchor, so in 2003 the high school junior got his first taste of the radio business preparing and reading news every twenty minutes of his work morning.
“I had no clue about the rules you had to follow regarding music airplay or that I needed to follow a clock,” said Jaysen. “But Cary Simpson allowed me to create my first morning radio show, ‘Radio Coffee,’ so that was a really fun time in my life – despite having to wake up early in the morning.”
While in college at Penn State, Jaysen landed a paid internship at Froggy 98, which led to hosting some Saturday night shows for the station. From that opportunity and his hard work, the door opened up for his current full-time job at Froggy 101.
“It’s really rewarding to work for the Froggy brand,” said Jaysen. “It’s a country music format that’s been around for over 20 years, so we had a fan base going into this project – and it’s fun to see how we are growing as a new Froggy station.”
He continued, “I feel so blessed to have been given this opportunity to have my first full-time radio gig during one of the most viable time slots, the p.m. drive.”
Jaysen is humbled by the experience he gains every day. He works with well qualified individuals who have longevity in the radio business, and able to give both constructive criticisms and positive feedback to him.
The sky truly is the limit for Jaysen.
A typical day at work for Jaysen begins at 11:30 a.m., when he prints off “country music show prep” from a wire service. He re-writes around four stories to use for his shift, and then re-writes the weather forecast to suit his on-air reading.
On Tuesdays, Jaysen adds the songs that will debut the following week into the Froggy 101 system, but on a daily basis he checks the station’s commercial website to see if any commercials need cut for the company. If cuts need to be made, he produces those cuts and gives them to the production person, who happens to be the mid-day disc jockey, “Skeeter.”
Once Jaysen is done with all of those duties, he hits the airwaves from 2 to 7 p.m. as his alias, “Swampy.”
“Creatively it is a 24 hour job, because sometimes I’ll get home and something will happen that would be a great bit for the show,” said Jaysen. “So I’ll go to my computer and write up a story about it, send it to myself, and use it the next day – it’s great to get to do what I went to school to do.”
Many parts of Jaysen’s job intrigues and motivates him, but one of his favorite things to do at work is going out on “remotes” or “Froggy’s Day Out With The Green Team,” which gives him the chance to interact with his listeners. He said that it’s a great feeling to know that what he does has an impact on someone’s life.
“Something you say makes their day or makes them feel better,” noted Jaysen.
One time when he was working at Froggy 98 on a snowing Saturday night, a listener told him that she was driving home from State College to Tyrone, and she said that it felt like she was driving with a friend the whole way home.
“My voice made her calm down to the point where she got home safely,” added Jaysen. “That’s what it’s all about, and that’s why we do what we do – to make people feel better and forget about their problems.”
Although Jaysen loves what he does, he admits he kind of “just fell into the industry.” His true passion is writing and singing country music, but in his words, “God must have said ‘no, not yet, you have some work to do in a different field first.'”
Jaysen’s in the right place if his aspirations are in country music. Last week, while working at the Centre County Grange Fair, he had the chance to meet the band Alabama’s former road manager of 25 years, Greg Fowler.
“He (Fowler) is managing Jake Owen now, so we went out to the Grange Fair to introduce Jake,” said Jaysen. “I saw Greg there with him, and I was more excited to meet Greg than I was Jake – I almost broke out in tears, it was that amazing.”
So what’s next for Jaysen? He hopes to be in one of the top 25 markets in ten years, perhaps Memphis or Nashville, doing radio. Another dream of his is to get some of his original songs heard, so he would love to have a publishing deal with a Nashville firm in the future.
“Wherever I’m suppose to be in ten years, that’s where I’ll be,” said Jaysen. “The road has already been laid by God, I just have to ride it.”