You always remember that first job you had in radio. Mine was at iHeartMedia in Pittsburgh (back when it was still called Clear Channel). I was hired as a part-time board operator and producer for shows on ESPN Radio Pittsburgh and the man in charge of training me was David "Digby" Reynolds.
Nobody knew him as David. He was just "Digby". I didn't know his last name until I peeked at the company directory sheet a short time after I was hired.
I was hired a few days after Christmas in 2012, and I soon realized that college radio and commercial radio were two different things. I made mistakes on the board and I was still trying to learn NexGen, the automation system iHeart and my current job uses. Digby, who was acting as Assistant Program Director at ESPN Radio Pittsburgh at the time, was in charge of training me and in the first month, helped me where I fell short.
I was shocked and saddened when I saw a tweet Tuesday afternoon that he passed away unexpectedly that morning.
People who work in radio are unique and it required someone as unique as Digby to do all the things he did.
A lot of people knew him as an on-air personality on 105.9 The X, but if you really knew Digby, he was way more than that.
Digby probably worked with every station and sports radio network iHeartMedia Pittsburgh had. If you heard someone trucking down the hallway on the 3rd or 4th floor, it was probably Digby.
Another thing that made Digby unique was his appearance. He looked like a guy who worked for an alternative rock station. Along with his long hair, goatee and glasses, you could tell it was him just based on his raspy voice. The best comparison would be a lower-pitched Scott Ferrell, a Pittsburgh native and current CBS Sports Radio host. Occasionally, you would hear a soft, high-pitched "Hi!" as he briskly walked by you or anyone else in the hallway.
Digby also loved life and never seemed to sweat the small stuff.
I remember one afternoon when he told me about a carbon monoxide scare at his house the night before. He said if his windows weren't opened that night, he might have died. I thought of that after hearing about his passing earlier this week.
He enjoyed going to concerts, playing video games and while most save their vacation days for the summer months, Digby used his to hit the slopes in the winter. Everyone in the building had to plan accordingly when there was snow at Seven Springs.
If Digby liked you, he always had your back: I know he always had mine. He and Gregg Henson, who was ESPN Radio Pittsburgh's program director at the time, would give me extra duties to give me more experience. After some time, I had a talent page on the site, contributed to the social media pages and even did updates in the final few months I was there. Digby also gave me a chance to make extra money (I was hourly) by working home games on the Steelers radio broadcasts.
Having listened to Billy Hillgrove, Tunch Ilkin, the late Myron Cope and Craig Wolfley call games in the past, it was a great experience. To hear Hillgrove say my name during his list of "thank yous" following the game was a small moment that I cherished. My uncle called my dad because he heard it on a station on the network east of Pittsburgh. When he thanked Digby, it was always "The Amazing Digby".
Whether it was touching up Hillgrove's weekly interview with Mike Tomlin for pregame, grabbing highlights as they happened or making sure to tell booth producer Dan Quindlen we needed Hillgrove to do a legal I.D., it provided me a greater appreciation for what Digby did.
I moved on from iHeartMedia Pittsburgh after I got a full time job in Oklahoma to do news and sports with three stations and do play-by-play. Before I left, Digby said he was happy for me and knew there was something bigger and better awaiting me.
He was right.
A lot of the things I do at my current job came from what Digby taught me. Heck, I find myself teaching coworkers those things I learned from him.
Digby died far too young, but for the time he was on this planet, he lived it to the fullest.
Soon after I left, Digby became the Executive Producer of the Penguins Radio Network following Ray Walker's death (another great man who helped me out and also died too young), and in his first season saw his beloved Penguins win a second-straight Stanley Cup. His involvement with the team got him a spot in the parade and a Stanley Cup ring.
Digby passed away on the morning before Game 3 of the current Penguins-Capitals playoff series. It was sad to think that it would be a hockey night in Pittsburgh without him. I'm sure he would be cursing out Washington's Tom Wilson for breaking Zach Aston-Reese's jaw and concussing him with a high hit. But wherever he is now, I'm sure he likes that Wilson got suspended three games for it.
Thank you for everything, Digby. So many people have shared their own stories and you since Tuesday and I hope you knew how much you were loved by those at iHeartMedia, every listener who tuned in to hear you on The X and anyone else who got to know you like I did.
Wherever you are now, kick back, pour yourself a glass of Jack Daniels and root the Penguins onto a third-straight Stanley Cup.