Everybody has to start out somewhere. For “Wheel of Fortune” host Pat Sajak, his starting place was a job at a Spanish radio station.
Sajak discussed the early days of his career during an interview with NPR in 2013. During the interview, the news organization’s Rachel Martin brought up the topic of his career with the Chicago-based station. And, of course, she asked an obvious question. She wanted to know if Pat Sajak spoke Spanish at the time.
And, in the fashion of a man who has spent decades making jokes on a game show, he answered her question with a joke.
“Let me answer in Spanish,” the “Wheel of Fortune” host said. “No.”
Unsurprisingly, this resulted in laughter. And, rightly so.
‘Wheel of Fortune’ Host Shares Details About Spanish Radio Job
Following the joke, Pat Sajak shared details of how he came to work at that Spanish radio station in Chicago. Turns out, it was a friend of his who helped the future celebrity get hired for the job. And, according to the NPR interview, Sajak’s job was reading the news live on air.
“You know, it’s a funny thing. I was going to school in Chicago, and a friend of mine – it was an instructor who actually worked in Chicago radio, said listen, I know this guy, runs a little station; and they’re looking for a guy to do a kind of a rip-and-read newscast from midnight to 6 a.m.,” Sajak recalled. “Every five minutes, you go in and rip the wire thing off, and read the top stories.”
When Sajak gets to the station, the “guy” there gives him an audition of sorts.
“And I go in and talk to him,” the future “Wheel of Fortune” host said. “He said – he had me read a couple of things for him and he said, you can start tonight. I said, great!”
So, unsurprisingly, Pat Sajak arrived at his new job ready to go to work. However, at first, things at the Spanish radio station did not go as Sajak had anticipated.
“I show up at midnight. There’s not a light in the neighborhood to be found. There’s not a light in the studio. … no one home. I’m banging on the door,” Sajak told NPR. “A car pulls up and a Hispanic gentleman gets out and says something to me in Spanish, which I don’t understand. He takes a key and opens the – it turns out he’s the disc jockey. It turns out he does a Spanish radio show from midnight to 6 a.m. And it turns out he plays Spanish music, does Spanish commercials; and once an hour, I would do the news in English.”
After that radio job, Pat Sajak went on to join the United States Army in 1968.