NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - The soothing sounds of Bert Baron's voice still echo in the ears - and hearts - of longtime listeners of WCTC-AM.
"The Voice of Central Jersey," says he is settling in nicely in his new gig: Public Information Officer for New Brunswick.
In fact, Baron's 20-year career on the air has prepared him in many ways for his new venture.
"My ability to clearly communicate on multiple platforms will be valuable to all departments of the City government," Baron told TAPinto New Brunswick. "From day-to-day communications of the Mayor's Office and City Hall, to the approximately 700 city employees who take pride in their work, I'm anxious and ready to get the word out about what's happening."
It's a quantum leap from hosting talk shows to writing press releases. Baron readily admits there was some trepidation in making that jump. After all, he was raised on radio. His first job in the business was helping a friend do a polka show on WDVR in Hunterdon County. It’s been talk shows and rock ‘n’ roll ever since.
Over the years, whether it is morning or drive time, WDHA or WCTC, Baron became like a friend to thousands of Central Jerseyans.
"Radio was a difficult industry to break into, and an even harder one to maintain as relevant," Baron said. "But at 51 years old, and after 21 years in the field, this was the perfect move. I still get to communicate with large numbers of people, but now I can focus my efforts and energy solely on New Brunswick."
If radio is in his blood, then New Brunswick is in his soul. Baron recalls vividly his first visit to the Hub City in the early 1990s. He came here after winning tickets (on a radio contest, of course) to see a show at the State Theatre. He said he sensed a vibe in the air and rebirth happening within the city's infrastructure.
In that sense, life has come full circle for Baron, who will be taking over a role in City Hall filled for the past five years by Jennifer Bradshaw.
Bradshaw will serve as Public Information Officer until the end of the summer, followed by a maternity leave of absence. Upon her return, she will assume a new role in the field of personnel management with the City’s Administration department, reporting to City Administrator Daniel A. Torrisi.
Baron, a member of the New Jersey Broadcasters Association Radio Hall Of Fame and a past nominee for the Marconi Award for "Best Talk Show Host In America,” won’t pack away his microphone just yet.
"Working at WCTC was a great experience, but most importantly, I developed some wonderful relationships over the years," he said. "I'm glad these relationships continue today, so if there's an opportunity that's mutually beneficial, I would certainly enjoy putting the headphones on again. After 21 years in the business ... radio will always be a part of me."