'Big Mike' Fiss
His first job in radio was in Bangor, Maine making $22 a week at WABI. Years later, as a morning show jock on Y94FM (WYYY), 'Big Mike' Fiss would be recognized three times as Billboard Magazine's Personality of the Year. And what a ride it's been.
Fiss grew up in The Bronx, spending the first 21 years of his life in a New York City housing project. While earning his Bachelor's degree at City College of New York, he picked up spare change as a cabbie, bank teller, Chinese food deliveryman, toy demonstrator at Macy's, musician, and worked some at Yankee Stadium.
After his first foray into radio in Maine, he worked as an investigator with the NYS Department of Labor during the 1970s while honing his radio chops part-time in Plattsburgh (WIRY), Albany (WOKO) and Hudson (WHUC). Big Mike in the Morning debuted in Fort Pierce, Florida at WOVV in 1977. Two years later he brought the show to 94 Rock (WSYR-FM) in 1979 where he worked through the station's format change from AOR to A/C and the birth of Y94FM (WYYY) in 1983.
After being let go from the station in 1990, Fiss went to Columbus, Ohio (WSNY) for three years and returned to Y94FM in 1993. In September 2001 he moved to his current morning gig at Sunny 102 (WZUN).
Mike makes his home in Manlius with his wife of 32 years, Willie, their son who is in college and a daughter in high school.
What else is there to know about Mike Fiss outside of the studio? We asked him...
What was the last book you read?
I host the Sunny Book Club at Barnes & Noble, so I've been reading lots lately ... 'The DaVinci Code', 'Angels and Demons', 'Skinny Dip', the new David Sedaris book, Tim Green's 'The First 48', 'The Secret Life of Bees', are all great ... but my favorite recent read has been 'Old School' by Tobias Wolff. Reading is the most fun I have in the bedroom (or bathroom).
If you could only take one CD to a desert island, what would it be?
Jimmy Buffett's 'Son of a Son of a Sailor'.
Letterman, Leno, or Koppel?
I used to make fun of Koppel's hair, but no more. I may be wearing something like that soon. Of the three above, I'd say Letterman, but Conan is really the best right now.
Which three famous people (dead or alive) would you invite to dinner?
Freddy Crittela, either Ben or Jerry, and Jennifer Anniston.
Which song at your station would you not shed a tear for if it never came up in rotation again?
'She's A Lady' by Tom Jones.
How many days do you think you would last on Survivor and why?
I'd be the first voted off. Then somehow I'd be back the next week. Voted off, then back again. Kinda like the story of my life.
What talent would you most like to have?
I wish I had the ability to pass a Chinese buffet without stopping.
What would you be doing if you weren't in radio?
Organized crime. It's one of the few jobs left where you can still smoke a cigar during work.
Name something about yourself that people would be surprised to find out.
I have a chauffeur's license. Some of the socks in my drawer are from the '60s. I never pay full retail price for a pair of shoes and I was saddened when Dexter Shoes, then Bass, closed. I've never watched an entire NASCAR race from beginning to end. I'm a Mets fan. I've performed in a few local musicals, but I can't sing or dance. I own three pairs of sneakers, but I don't run. I love olive oil, but I don't like olives.
What television do you never miss?
I know it's corny, but I never miss American Idol. I also like Smallville, Nova, Modern Marvels and reruns of Seinfeld, The Simpsons and The Twilight Zone.
What's your dream vacation?
Driving around Vermont eating in cheap diners.