Tom Caminiti - "The Tall Italian"
Long ago and far away in a place called Long Island, New York, Tom came into the world and got to know what life was all about during his first decade on Earth in the Big Apple. His family then decided to migrate south and settled in Fort Lauderdale Florida. It was sunshine, warmth and a new beginning for the Caminiti family!
Being the eldest son, Tom didn’t have a mentor in music. He preferred TV as a child, but after moving to South Florida, he discovered a musical world he never knew existed. He met a neighbor by the name of Tim and that was the start of a friendship that continues through today. Tim was always listening to the radio and Tom was intrigued by what he heard.
Radio listening then became a part of Tom’s everyday life. The radio woke him up in the morning to the sounds of “The New Y-100.” “We listened before school, after school and anytime we could. We’d call the DJ’s all the time and make requests and try to win contests. If the DJ’s had call blocking at the time, they probably would have used it on us.”
With Tom buying records (remember them?) and staying up to date with all the new songs, he came up with an interesting idea. After taking a vocational class in high school called TV Productions he thought, why not form a musical group from the neighborhood and put them on video? This is long before MTV. The idea was partly inspired from watching “Don Kirshners Rock Concert” and “The Midnight Special” hosted by Wolfman Jack.
Using a Super 8 movie camera and film, Tom assembled his brother Bob and some friends and the “All-Star Band” was born. Even though at the time none of the band members could play a lick or sing, they had instruments and props and would rehearse to their favorite hits. Tom would then play the real song on a cassette and film them as they lip-synced and pretended to play along. They did thirteen videos total and even though the video and audio never quite synced up on playback, they became very popular with their friends. Tom acted as their producer, manager and with encouragement from a friend’s mom decided to take his interest even further.
She suggested because of Tom’s out going personality and love of music, to think about a career in radio. So Tom broke out the Yellow pages and started calling radio stations and asking the DJ’s what it took to do their job. All of their answers had a common theme. Just get your foot in the door and work your way up from there.
His first job was at “WAXY-106 FM.” He was a music researcher making fifty phone calls a week and getting paid a dollar a phone call. The people he called would rate the songs he played over the phone and that helped determine the play list that week. That was Tom’s in and he was on his way!
He progressed from Board operator to newscaster and then got his first shot “On The Air as a DJ.” Tom spent four years at “WAXY” before moving on to “EASY-105 FM” now “HOT-105 FM.” From there it was on to “MAJIC 102 FM” then to “LOVE-94 FM.” After a couple of years out of radio Tom returned to a jazz station called ‘The WAVE/BREEZE 95.7 FM” as production director and air personality. After two years he switched to “COAST – 97.3 FM” and then in 1993 returned back to MAJIC 102.7 FM. He worked there for ten years, seven of which were hosting the very popular “ALL REQUEST SHOW” weeknights from 7p – 12midnight. That’s where Tom earned his nickname as “The Tall Italian.”
Tom with the Doobie Brothers
Tom was very personable with his listeners and shared many of his life’s stories on the air. From his golf game to his nieces Kristin and Jessica to the passing of his mom and dad, Tom’s life was like an open book. His listeners were there for him and he would reciprocate the favor. “That’s the part I loved most about being on the air. Being able to hear what was going on in their life and help them through by playing them a tune to capture a moment or bring back a memory. I really connected with my listeners and I believe they connected with me.”
While on MAJIC, he met many celebrities, took part and hosted many community events & promotions and worked with a great staff. “I truly learned from the best.”
Speaking of which, Tom’s “All Request Show” was nominated for an A.I.R. Award (Achievement in Radio Excellence) three times while at “Majic.” After two close, but no cigars, Tom won the award for “Best Evening Show” in Miami/Fort Lauderdale in 2001.
Since leaving radio in early 2004, Tom has taken his skills, experience and love of music and started his own mobile entertainment company. “I enjoyed my time on the radio and built up a good name. I felt at this time in my life that I wanted to work for myself while continuing to entertain people. I care about every client and give my all to every event I book. Anyone can play music. Beyond that, it’s all about customer service and paying attention to detail. That’s what I’m all about. You’ve heard me on the radio now have me in person at your next event!”
Tom has also been featured in newspaper articles and various TV programs.
*Back in the late 80’s and early 90’s Tom fought his cable company to get MTV. After circulating petitions, going before the Hallandale City Commission and getting TV, newspaper and radio exposure for the cause, Hallandale finally got it’s MTV!
*In 2000 Tom auditioned for his favorite game show “Wheel of Fortune” and got picked to be a contestant. He said it was the best experience of his life and went on to win $6100.00! His ultimate goal is to be a game show host!
*November 29th, 2006, Tom was featured on the “NBC 6 - South Florida Today show” and was interviewed and featured as the House DJ through out the entire hour. He got air time with Bob Mayer, Trina Robinson & Lonnie Quinn.View Video!
When he's not manning the microphone, Tom spends his spare time rooting for his favorite South Florida sports teams… the Dolphins, Marlins, Heat, Hurricanes and Panthers.
Tom loves golf and likes to spend time with family and friends. He and his girl friend Valerie became parents on May 17th, 2007 when their daughter Samantha Carole was born. Tom also enjoys swimming with the dolphins in Key Largo at Dolphin Cove and he loves to go to concerts!
On a more serious note, Tom has learned a lot about life. “After losing my mom Carole in 1999 and my dad Paul in 2002, you realize how precious life is. I miss them so much and do my best to try to make them proud everyday. Appreciate what you have in life and tell the people who mean the most to you how much you care. Sometimes there is no tomorrow.”
Tom believes that with faith in God, hard work, perseverance and love of family and friends, anything is possible “Whatever time any of us have on Earth, we should try to be happy. Be good to one another and pay it forward ”