PIPESTONE, MN (KELO) — Fifty years on the job is an impressive feat in any industry, especially the ever-changing world of radio.

If you find yourself within earshot of Pipestone, Minnesota, and the radio dial lands on 98.7, you’ll likely hear the unmistakable voice of Mylan Ray.

The Slayton, Minnesota native is in his 50th year on the radio.

“It’s a great creative outlet, gives me a chance to have some fun with an awful lot of things and as my wife pointed out some time ago, I have one of those really, really rare jobs where I get compliments on a regular basis,” radio personality Mylan Ray said.

Mylan has spent the past 48 years spinning oldies on KISD, but also hosts Christian and Country shows on other stations owned by Christensen Broadcasting.

“One of the things that I’ve always liked doing was turning somebody on to a brand new song. I liked doing that even when I was a teenager, somebody would come over to my house and visit and I’d so ‘oh, you’ve got to listen to this’ and I’d put a record on the turntable and just really enjoy getting somebody onto a new artist or a new song,” Ray said.

He also enjoys meeting the artists, always has.

“I was always so jealous of Dick Clark when I would watch him on American Bandstand. I’d go ‘he knows these guys, he talks about them like they were over at his house last night’, and I would really like to get to know some of these artists and let the know how much their music has meant to me,” Ray said.

“He’s met a lot of entertainers in country music and rock and roll, and he really knows his business,” South Dakota Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Myron Wachendorf said.

Myron Wachendorf was a junior at Washington High School in 1958 when he stated playing music.

“I think I was born at the right time, when rock and roll was just getting a good start,” Wachendorf said.

Wachendorf worked as a caddy at Minnehaha Country Club, leading to the creation of Myron Lee and the Caddies. A member of the South Dakota Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Myron is a longtime friend of fellow inductee, Mylan.

“He’s a talented guy. I can see why he lasted all this time. That’s a rough business, that radio business can be tough,” Wachendorf said.

“I’ve had some well-meaning friends say how did you ever end up in three halls of fame and I said, ‘location, location, location’,” Ray said.

The list includes the Iowa Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, showing just how far Ray’s voice carries.

“It’s amazing with our 98 Days of Summer contest that we have how far out the listeners are. We get quite a few that are calling in from the Arnolds Park, Iowa area and that’s over two hour drive away from here, so I never take any of that for granted,” Ray said.

His impact is felt beyond radio.

“I’ve done over 2,000 dances and every now and then I’ll go in some place and they’ll say ‘you’re Mylan Ray, aren’t you?’ and I’ll go, ‘yeah’. They go ‘you did my wedding dance 28 years ago,” and I’m just going that’s great,” Ray said.

“Mylan was always doing his own thing, and we let him do his own thing here. He’s a wonderful professional and organized to the T,” General Manager and Part Owner Collin Christensen said.

General Manager and Part Owner Collin Christensen has worked at the radio station since he was 15, but his time there dates back even further.

“I would come as a child and play in the attic, and Mylan was already here and he was already a very good professional radio advertise executive and on-air personality,” Christensen said.

Decades later, turntables and CD’s have given way to digital formats. Christensen says Ray always adapts, but still has his favorites.

“There’s a turntable here and he loves to use it, and we put it in just for him when we re-did the studios here a couple years ago, but everything is digital and he has embraced that,” Christensen said.

“It’s a glass mixer they call it, there’s really no buttons to push. You do up the sliding thing and it’s like touch screen on a computer, so radio has changed quite a bit,” Ray said.

Ray says he manages to bring something new to the radio every day by getting out of the studio, which wasn’t the case in his early days.

“Always in the studio, in my office, I never got out and saw anybody, so getting out and seeing people and being a part of a lot of things that are going on, whether it be a car show or something along those lines I get a chance to really find out what’s going on,” Ray said.

As for when Mylan will finally hang up the headphones…

“Former boss, owner here, I saw him a few months ago and he said I was lucky that I still had my voice, and I do not take that for granted either, but I think I’m going to continue to do it as long as Keith Richards and Willie Nelson do,” Ray said.

And it’s a question he’s asked multiple times a day.

“They say, ‘do you think about retiring?’ Yeah, every morning when the alarm goes off at 4:15,” Ray said.

“I hope he keeps working forever, I do,” Christensen said. “But, I think he loves being on the air so much that he’ll stick with it for, I hope, a long time yet,” Christensen added.

Until then, it’s not a goodbye, it’s a see you…

“LATER…” Ray said.

When people say Ray sounds like a disc jockey straight out of the 1950’s and 60’s, he chuckles and says it makes him feel old. You can hear Mylan on KISD radio weekday mornings from 6:00 to 9:00.