A routine, headache-inducing event such as trucks pulled over on the Springfield Interchange ramp during rush hour is something Chad Dukes could turn into a 30-minute radio spiel. Dukes, whose real name was Chad Sisson when he graduated from Lake Braddock Secondary School in 1997, is a star of the WHFS radio show "Big O and Dukes," where he rants and raves about everything.
"I love being on the air," said Dukes. "What just happened to me on the off-ramp, I could talk about that for a half an hour."
An experience at Home Depot in Fairfax after high school set Dukes on the radio talk-show-host path. He saw some who made the store a career. Dukes couldn't imagine himself there for years, so he went to George Mason University, where he had a radio program "Not Just Sports." After that, he got an internship at the "Junkies" sports show on WJFK and then moved to WHFS where he is now.
Every week, Dukes puts in 30 to 40 hours at WHFS, 10 hours at WJFK running sound boards, and 20-25 hours at UPS in Kingstowne.
He admits that his career track wasn't all worked out early in life. After struggling through high school without much direction, he hadn't found his way until he started carving a path in radio.
"I was a mess until I turned about 22," Dukes said.
Dukes' show is broadcast from Sunday at 11:30 p.m. to 1 or 2 a.m. At other times during the day, he does live, on-the-spot reports from various places around the Washington, D.C., area for "The Junkies" show. Recently, he was at Jaxx in Springfield interviewing "Kings X," a late-1990s Christian rock band.
Duke is starting to get recognized as well, sometimes at UPS, especially when he pulls up in a WHFS car.
"They can't believe I'm there packing boxes," he said.
Edison High School student Corey O'Connor works with Dukes. She hears the banter around the office, mostly focused on sports.
"He's a goofy guy," said O'Connor. "When I heard he was on the radio, it was pretty cool."
Chris Jackson, also at UPS, participates in the same "fantasy football" league with Dukes.
"Nothing ever happens that he wants to talk about from the store," Jackson said.
O'Connor can tell the job at UPS runs second to his position at the radio station.
"You can tell that's what he wants to do, his main focus," she said. "He always wants to go to work. He loves HFS."