Making Radio Waves: Highway 98 Country broadcasts with the best view in Destin
Putting the scoot in the boot scootin' boogie every weekday morning from 5:30 to 10 a.m. for the last few years, Scratch and Addie have redefined the term disc-jockey with their popular morning show on Highway 98 Country.
Owned and operated by Apex Broadcasting, Inc., Highway 98 Country is one of the radio stations owned and operated from within the "fishbowl" of Destin's HarborWalk Village, along with three others; Q 92.1, 102.1 The Wave and 103.1 The Blaze.
Scratch and Addie both jokingly refer to HarborWalk as a fishbowl because their booth — or radio studio — along with the others in their office — sit behind large windows with views of both Destin's harbor and Destin's people. And, according to the dynamic duo of radio, things have gotten comical a time or two.
"Nothing too crazy," Addie said. "We're on pretty early and this is a family friendly place, but we've had people dress up for concert tickets and stuff."
The views are definitely worth it though, according to Addie, who added that she loves working and dolphin watching at the same time.
"We're the only radio people who broadcast from the water," said Addie.
When The Log went on their tour of the radio station on April 1, Scratch was celebrating two decades on air on The Emerald Coast. While he said it's not necessarily unusual to stay in the radio business for so long, most folks don't stay in the same market for 20 years.
While most radio personalities use a catchy handle or nickname, the man born Jim Wellem said he didn't have to think too long.
"Honestly," said Scratch. "When I was getting started in radio, I was flipping through a Rolling Stone (magazine) and they told me I had like five minutes to come up with a name.
For whatever reason I focused on some jazz musician with Scratch in his name and it stuck. It was that or Jimmy Jam . . ."
Scratch and Addie are much more than just button-pushing country-music machines. While they agree they got into the radio business for the music — not just country music, but the love of music in general — they strive to be a little bit of everything to everyone, all the time.
"All the technical stuff is pretty easy now," Scratch said. "It's kind of become second-nature."
"The challenge is to stay relevant," Addie added.
Creatively, the team said they don't want to get stale.
"We kind of reflect the listener’s life back at them," Addie said.
And the way this double-trouble country team ensures they stay harmonious is by spending time with the community. They do this through different events like their Free Lunch
Program, where they visit places around the community, giving out free lunches and mingling with listeners.
Another Highway 98 Country favorite is their Reverse Trick-or-Treating. On Halloween, Scratch and Addie — dressed in their Halloween finest, of course — visit local businesses handing out candy. Last year on Halloween, the twosome came to The Log office in Destin, which is how we all met.
Scratch and Addie told The Log that an average drive time is 15 minutes, and it's important to gauge where people are mentally in their day, gearing the show toward the listeners both musically and otherwise. Being that they come on before the sun comes up, they have to prepare folks for the day.
"I call it passive radar," said Scratch. "We'll share news stories on air, play trivia games and other contests, of course play music and a lot more. It's like hosting multiple shows."
Scratch and Addie, along with the rest of the Highway 98 Country family — Layla - 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Craig - 3 to 7 p.m.; and Whitney Allen - 7 p.m. to midnight — are why Highway 98 Country has been named No. 1 country radio station on The Emerald Coast.
For more information on Highway 98 Country, call them at 850-337-9810, visit them online at Highway98Country.com or on Facebook.com/Highway98Country.