LANSING, Mich. — Danny Stewart has been a Lansing man his whole life.
“I am Mr. Lansing, born and raised here in Lansing, born in 1956,” Stewart said.
He fell in love with music as a child thanks to his mom and babysitter.
"When I was 8 years old, my mom played an album for me on the stereo. First time I ever listened to music, and I just fell in love with music at that point," Stewart said. “One of my babysitter's when I was 8 years old, came over to my house and introduced me to the Beatles first album and gave me that album, first record I ever played on a record player.”
And thanks to that love of music, he had the career of his lifetime.
“What have I done for 47 years? I've had the time of my life being on the radio, and it started in 1976 all the way through 2023,” Stewart said.
In 1976, Stewart was just beginning his radio career.
“Very first time I went on the air at WILS in Lansing in 1976, I did midnight to 6 in the morning. I was a nervous wreck that stands out that was a blast just because I couldn't wait to get on the radio," Stewart said. "I got hired full time at WVIC in Lansing in 1978. That first day was a blast as well, and I spent 13 years working there."
He said the memories he made at those first two radio stations are some he'll never forget.
"I did everything from emceeing Hawaiian Tropic pageants to doing wedding receptions," Stewart said. "I emceed just about anything and everything you can imagine. In fact, I actually emceed the Tom Selleck look-a-like contest out at the Meridian Mall and a Dolly Parton look-a-like contest."
Then in 1991, he was presented a position he had only dreamed of.
“When I went to WFMK, it was adult contemporary," Stewart said. "So the fact that I was a little bit older, I had to kind of tone down the energy just a little bit, but I liked that because then I could be more conversational when I did my breaks on WFMK.”
And even reunited with a former colleague, Monica Harris, where they continued working together for 16 years until her retirement.
"Her and I worked together WVIC back in the most successful radio days ever in the mid-80s, and it was a nice ride. But the first day she went on the air with me on WFMK was in 2007," Stewart said. "The first time we cracked open the microphone it felt really comfortable. We felt like best friends. We had this great camaraderie. At the time, our program director called me on the hotline during our show, and said, quote, 'Danny, you and Monica sound great together.' From that point on it was history."
Stewart was on the morning show and got to work at 3 a.m. every week day to make sure people on their drive to work started their day on a good note.
“I wanted to make sure that listeners enjoyed what I brought to the radio and that was all about fun," Stewart said. "I wanted people to feel really good, and that's pretty much what my 47 years has felt like over these years."
But as everyone does in their career, Stewart decided it was time to turn off the mic at WFMK.
“I just finally came to the conclusion that for me, it was just best to pull the plug and call it a day,” Stewart said. “My last broadcast at WFMK, it was very heartfelt. I probably went through two or three boxes of Kleenex because I knew as my last broadcast, I wanted to make it really fun. I wanted to make it a great show.”
Stewart said the decision was hard, but so far, he's enjoying sleeping in and practicing his bowling.
“Eating a lot of doughnuts, watching the Price is Right, going for walks every day when I can with my wife, but it's been a lot of fun,” Stewart said.
Being retired for almost three weeks now has given him time to reflect on all the memories he's made over the years.
“I've met so many people, hundreds of thousands of people. I'll even say millions of people over the years," Stewart said. "It's been a ride that I can just not even tell you enough how splendid it's been, how wonderful it has been meeting the public.”
So what's next for Stewart? Only time will tell.
“Nothing," Stewart said. "I'm just going to take it easy, and I might take on some part-time jobs down the road. I'm enjoying myself just having a blast.”
But he did say this isn't the end of Danny Stewart's career forever.
“Sky's the limit," Stewart said. "When you retire, you can do whatever you want. So that's when I'm looking forward to just deciding what's next.”
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