Derek Gentile: Honoring WSBS DJ 'Tom Jay'


PITTSFIELD - Thomas Jaworski, otherwise known as "Tom Jay," passed away earlier this week after a long career at WSBS radio in Great Barrington. In my humble opinion, he was one of the best radio newsmen in South County. If not the best.

Jaworski and I met when I was working at the old Berkshire Courier in Great Barrington, more than 20 years ago. In my previous job, the town in which I worked didn't have a local radio station. From time to time, if there was a major event, a radio reporter would show up, but not on a consistent basis as was the case in Great Barrington.

So at one of my first selectmen's meeting in Great Barrington, there was some issue, not a particularly huge deal, but the board held off on voting on it. Again, I can't recall why, but the point is, they didn't vote.

So, OK. I went home, planning to write my story the next day. (The Courier was a weekly that didn't come out until Thursday, so I could go to a Monday meeting and write it on Tuesday.)

The next morning, I heard on WSBS that two of the three board members said they would probably not vote in favor of the plan.

I thought, "Darn, they didn't say anything about that during the meeting! How did the station get that?"

Well, the station got it because Jaworski followed up after the meeting. Which was the logical thing to do, but I wasn't smart enough at that point to do the logical thing. Fortunately, since I had a few days, I could afford to follow up his follow up. But Tom taught me a lesson that day, and that was to take the extra step. It was a lesson that served me well when I was later hired by The Eagle.

So thank you, Tom Jay, and my condolences to his family and friends.


I've been following the recent discussions over how to make the intersection of Holmes Road and Pittsfield Road safer.

In my experience, the most dangerous part of that intersection seems to be that people driving north and turning onto Holmes Road don't seem to realize there is a "yield" sign there.

I have seen a half-dozen near-collisions at that part of the intersection. I realize there are other aspects of the intersection that may well be more hazardous, but I haven't seen accidents anywhere else.

So my modest proposal would be to make a larger "yield" sign there. Absent that, maybe the state can post a motion-activated video of somebody like Jack Black on the screen. Every time a car enters that turn onto Holmes Road, Black could pop up on the screen and say, "Hey! Idiot! YIELD!" That might work. Or not.


I got a great response from a recent column about impossible Christmas gifts. A guy from Pittsfield left a message on my voicemail recalling how he asked his folks for a pterodactyl for Christmas when he was about 7. (For those who didn't read my piece, I requested a triceratops.)

Anyway, the guy was told by his parents that he couldn't have one, as they had been extinct for millions of years. He was, he said, heartbroken.

That is until he saw the Jonny Quest episode "Turu The Terrible," in which Jonny and his pals were attacked by a giant, winged dinosaur (not sure what species it was, but naybe a Pteranodon?) Anyway, said my caller, "It scared the [heck] out of me. Especially when Turu screamed. No more dinosaurs for me after that!"

I know how he felt. Turu scared the heck out of me, too. All those Quest monsters, the Mummy, the robot spider, the invisible monster, were great. Terrifying, but great.

To reach Derek Gentile:,
or (413) 496-6251.
On Twitter: @DerekGentile


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