“I was always called Tony, and you drop the ‘Har’ in my last name, and add an ‘O’ and you have Groove,” laughs Tony Groove, adding, “My grandma and my best friend helped me come up with the name.” Tony Groove, a native of Alexandria, attended Bolton High School, where he excelled in sports, playing on the football team and track team. For fun, Tony Groove recalls he and his friends use to mimic different radio deejays. “As a kid, I dreamed about being on stage. I was a big music consumer. I grew up listening to different genres. I didn’t have any preferences. I learned to be a connoisseur of all kinds of music,” Tony notes, adding that unbeknownst to him, his musical interests were laying a foundation for his future career.
After high school graduation, Tony attended college at Grambling State University. Admittedly, he did not apply himself, and after a year, Tony was placed on academic probation. He started working in a bus garage at Continental Trailways. “The pay was good, and I even had an offer to go to school to train to be a mechanic. But my heart was not in it,” Tony recalls. So, after working in the garage for three years, Tony was ready to make a change. He decided to try his hand at retail sales, and got a job at Montgomery Ward in Alexandria. “That job lasted all of one day. I got laid off the day I got hired,” Tony remembers.
On his way home from the department store, Tony drove past a radio station and the thought occurred to him to apply for a job at the radio station. It was a decision that would change his life. “I made a u-turn in the street, went in and put in my application. They had me read something out of the newspaper,” Tony says. A week later, Tony was offered a part-time position at KTIZ radio as an overnight announcer on the weekend. “I had more fun and was making a little money. But it was something I’d have done for free,” recalls Tony, knowing he was on a new career path.
The radio station was mainly a rhythm and blues format with a 100,000-watt signal that broadcast throughout Louisiana. The deejays for the station would go out and deejay for events, but at that time, Tony had never deejayed for a gig before. “One day, I got a call from a club owner in Ferriday offering me a $200 gig. This was my introduction to DJ 101,” Tony says. He borrowed some equipment and speakers and loaded it up in the backseat of his Firebird, and decided he was going to “launch” his deejay career that very night.
“I got my lessons on what to do and what not to do in the DJ business,” Tony notes. “I was late getting there. I didn’t realize how popular the radio station was. The place was packed, and the club owner came out to meet me.” He started hooking the equipment up, and begin to have sound problems. “This was in 1984. We had records back then, no CDs. Everything that could go wrong, went wrong. The needle broke and I didn’t know how to fix it. After about 30 minutes, the club owner came up and paid me,” Tony recalls, adding that the club owner told him to come back when he knew what he was doing.
He said the disastrous night was a lesson learned the hard way. “I’ll never forget it. On the long drive home, I made up my mind that when the club owner called me again, I’d be a different deejay,” Tony adds. He paired up with another deejay that owned equipment necessary for parties and events and formed a partnership. “I had the name recognition and he had the equipment,” Tony notes, adding that he began studying all the varied talents of different deejays.
Over time, Tony says, his experience as a deejay grew, and he became much in demand. The Ferriday club owner called him again, and this time the night was a big hit. In 1986, Tony went on a vacation, and when he returned to go to work, he was in for a big surprise. The radio station he worked at was changing from R & B to classic rock. “I was told I would not be a part of the new format. I then started to deejay at full throttle,” recalls Tony.
He traveled throughout the South performing as a deejay and as an emcee at various events. By 1996, Tony had the opportunity to work as a television field reporter for KLAX. He remembers a favorite interview with Coretta Scott King, the widow of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. After more than a year, Tony decided to return to his full-time career as a deejay. He served as a deejay performer for many events with the Harlem Globetrotters and other celebrities.
In November 2011, Tony Groove was offered a deejay spot on the newly formatted KMXH Mix 93.9 FM radio station. Jerry Williams, the president and general manager of JWBP Broadcasting, asked Tony to return to the airwaves on the radio station he had purchased that broadcasts Southern soul throughout Central Louisiana. “It’s been fun, and a lot of the same people who were fans of my show back in 1983 are still listening to me. I do ‘Old School’ deejay shows and it is always packed out. I owe my success first to God, and then the rest to my fans,” notes Tony.
Tony Groove can be heard deejaying his show on KMXH 93.9 FM radio from 9:00am to 2:00pm each day.