SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — What started as a song request eventually landed a KELOLAND man his own radio show. Erik Brubakken is a huge fan of radio shows, and always wanted to be on one.
Now he is. However, behind the microphones you’ll find something meaningful we can all take a lesson from.
Brubakken has all of the questions. Even if you’re an ’80s aficionado, he’ll stump you. Every Tuesday, Brubakken and his co-host, Sunny Radio’s John Small, play lighting rounds of ’80s trivia in between the hits of the decade. It’s called the Erik and John Show.
“It’s a really good opportunity for me, because I wanted to be a disc jockey all my life,” Brubakken said.
Before becoming a DJ, Brubakken was simply a fan.
“We got to know each other because he would call and request. And it was the same song every time. Eddie Grant, Romancing the Stone,” Small said.
“I request it constantly,” Brubakken said.
Eventually Small had his own request for Brubakken.
“‘Would you like to have a tour or anything like that?’ and I said, well, sure!” Brubakken said.
That led to a radio show.
“Just fell in love with him the second I met him. Just the kind of guy, you can’t know him and not like him,” Small said.
More importantly, it formed a friendship.
“One of his favorite songs is Ghostbusters. So, I had the chance to do an interview with Ray Parker Jr. I had him record a thing for Erik,” Small said.
Erik “John said, Erik, I’ve got a little surprise for you. I said, oh, what’s that and it was the voice of Ray Parker Jr. from Ghosbusters.”
Brady: “No kidding! How was that?”
Erik: “My jaw just went thunk to the ground.”
Here’s the twist. You won’t be able to find the Erik and John Show, because it doesn’t broadcast. Instead, Small burns the show on CDs for Brubakken. With more than 100 episodes, Brubakken has hours of his passion to play for his friends.
“You wouldn’t believe how proud I am. I have a whole box full of CDs at home with all my radio shows and I thought, look what I’ve accomplished here!” Brubakken said.
Realizing one of his dreams each week is a good feeling for Brubakken, who lives with a learning disability. Growing up, others would question how much he could do. He says high school was a particularly tough time.
“It wasn’t a good time because I was made fun of and everything. Even in elementary school about the way I look and everything. Yeah, it was challenging,” Brubakken said.
Brubakken says he’s glad he didn’t give up. Volunteers of America Dakotas recently highlighted Brubakken, and the organization hopes to see more partnerships like this with adults in its programs.
“I’m doing what I love,” Brubakken said.
The Erik and John show is a bright spot in the week for its two hosts.
“During my regular week, there’s a lot of stuff I have to do. I have to do it. Somebody has to do it. It’s usually me. This is something I want to do,” Small said.
If you’re wondering what we can all learn from this, ask Erik Brubakken — because the guy who asks all the questions also seems to have all of the most important answers.
“People with developmental disabilities, which I have a disability. I have a learning disability, and my advice to to them is even though you have a disability you’re still the same special person inside and out and that’s my good advice for anybody,” Brubakken said.