Local DJ returns to the radio three years after attack

FRESNO, Calif.

He's known on 95.7 The Fox as "Spotman."

Among the devastating consequences of his brain injury from the violent attack, Spotman lost his ability to speak.

"I learned how to do everything all over again," said O'Shaughnessy. "I had lots of therapists. People teaching me how to talk again, walk again. I had someone teaching me how to use a knife again. It's surprising how much information comes through your hand when you're shaving or combing your hair. If you've lost all of your automatic, those things become very difficult with your other hand."

But with the help of a team of doctors and some music-based therapy, Spotman rediscovered his voice.

"I memorized songs by Sparks," said O'Shaughnessy. "They're an old 80's band that still put out material. By memorizing songs I was putting it in a form I understood so it was good for my brain to memorize something and good for my mouth to try and say it."

Has been determined to get back in the booth ever since.

"I practiced and practiced and practiced," he said. "I practiced on my way to work; I practiced standing here in between going on the air, hundreds, if not thousands of hours."

His long time coworker and friend Andrea Carter helped him through it.

"I knew he'd be back, I knew he could do it and it's because of the person he is," she said. "He's tenacious and stubborn and I knew this guy was going do it, he was going get back on the air."

Carter was one of several coworkers to receive a phone call from a familiar voice that day. Three teenagers, carrying out a rash of carjacking's and robberies in the area, attacked Spotman as he got out of his car at work. Somehow, she said, Spotman managed to crawl to the back door of the studio and dial his phone. His next two words were probably the most important and what helped save his life. He said "studio help."

"I'll never forget that moment when the firefighter found him and he goes this man's been beat up," she said. "And it was one of the most shocking moments of my life. I just couldn't believe it, you know?"

Since then, the two have been inseparable, working side-by-side rehearsing to perfect Spotman's speech.

"I practiced every day and I still practice every day to get my voice back," said Spotman.

Friday night, he'll step up to the microphone for the first time since the attack, returning to the radio after a remarkable recovery.

I'm very excited about it, everyone is excited about it," said Carter. "The fans, the listeners, the phone calls are unreal. It's been so long since he's been on the air, but they still remember him and ask for him every day."

Spotman said he appreciates the opportunity and thanked his fans for welcoming him back.

"This is the dream I've always wanted," he said. "I like this job, I like my employers, and I like my bosses. I'm not going to give this one up. For all the people who helped me out, I'm doing it for them. For all the people who listened to me on the Fox I'm doing it for them. They put out for me, I'll put out for them."

You can catch Spotman on 95.7 The Fox Monday through Friday from 7p.m. to 10p.m.

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