Jeff Levy was many things to many people. A father, a brother, a son, a friend, a teacher, a lawyer and a radio host, which is is how I met Jeff...
One morning in January 1995 I woke up at 5am to the sound of Jeff Levy's voice on the radio where he was welcoming everyone to his new radio program called "KFI on Computers with Jeff Levy".
Jeff would answer computer related questions from callers, translate those questions into understandable English, and then used the question to teach the audience about that particular topic. He injected his own brand of humor in his exchanges with callers, and told them that it's OK to be a "Computer Creampuff" or a "Windows Weenie" or "Keyboard Curmudgeon" because everyone is a beginner at something, sometime. Jeff made listeners feel like they were not alone with their problems and that they were not incompetent or stupid because they can't figure them out. Jeff did what every successful communicator does: he took the complex and made it understandable.
It just so happened that I wanted to buy a computer, but had no idea what to get. When Jeff gave the phone number to the station and said for people to call in with their computer questions, I did. I was Jeff's first caller, on his first radio show at 5am Sunday morning. After our call was over I listened to the rest of the show intently. Jeff knew so much about computers and I was hungry to learn from him. That first call led to a 20+ year friendship.
I took Jeff's advice on that first call, and soon called back with more questions. I actually called into the show so often that the screener named Dot Com would recognize my voice and ask me not to call so much to give other people a chance to call in. I listened to every show, I practiced his lessons and I spent every spare minute of my time on a computer. On one of my calls into the show, my question was a bit complex and Jeff told me he would need some detailed information and asked me to leave my number with the screener and he would call me back after the show.
Jeff did call me back after the show and he helped me with my problem, but I was not the only one. Jeff frequently called listeners back to help them with the computer questions and problems. Jeff was my mentor. I admired not only his knowledge, but his friendly helpful nature. Jeff made such an impression on me that I wanted to change my career to help people with their computers too, just like Jeff did.
One weekend when Jeff was broadcasting live from the Fairplex in Pomona, my family and I drove out to see his live broadcast and meet my mentor in person. While we were at the show I picked up a package of EarthLink software to connect my computer to the Internet, but when I got home I had a problem installing it. Well as fate would have it, EarthLink had just moved to Pasadena, just a couple of miles from my home so I drove up there to pick up a newer version of the software. When I walked into the Earthlink lobby I was greeted by someone from HR that thought I was there inquiring about a job. Hmmm.... A tech support job... Answering computer questions over the phone just like my mentor, Jeff Levy?! I filled out an application, was offered a job and I had now made the transition from auto-mechanic to computer tech support.
I continued being a loyal listener of my mentor's radio broadcasts and I wanted to thank him for helping to educate me and so many others even after the microphone was turned off. I built a web site about "Jeff Levy On Computers" and sent an email to Jeff directing him to what I had created for and about him. Within a few minutes my phone rang and it was Jeff Levy on the phone. Jeff told me that he loved what I did and asked if I wanted to be the web master for JeffLevy.com and also be a guest on his show.
That was the first of many shows that I was part of. There I was a computer cream puff barely knowing how to turn a computer on with my first call to the show, then actually getting a chance to work side by side with my mentor. We had a mutual respect and admiration for each other. But it was more than that. Jeff was my mentor... my friend... my promoter... my brother from another mother. If it were not for Jeff's influence in my life, I may have never started to work in the IT field.
Jeff's memory stays alive within me every time I touch a computer.
-=Grant McBride A.K.A. Wavmixer=-