Judges who rock!
When it comes to US 1 Radio/FM 104’s “Ed Scales Show” — a weekly trove of 60s, 70s, and 80s classic hits — there’s more than meets the ear.
Most listeners know the eponymous host for his encyclopedic knowledge of all things Rolling Stones, Beatles, The Who, and a pantheon of guitar gods led by Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton.
But what most listeners don’t know is that “Ed Scales” is Third District Court of Appeal Judge Edwin A. Scales III.
And that’s by design.
“I don’t talk about my day job,” Scales says. “It’s a show about rock ‘n roll.”
Listeners who tuned in to the “Ed Scales Show” on Sunday, November 17 — or streamed it live on iHeartRadio or the US1 Radio website — got a rare treat.
That’s the day Scales shared the microphone with a special guest who also didn’t mention his day job — U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Robert Luck.
Only a few days after he stepped into the tiny Sugarloaf Key broadcast booth, the former Florida Supreme Court justice was confirmed to his new post by the U.S. Senate.
(The same week, the U.S. Senate also confirmed former Florida Supreme Court Justice Barbara Lagoa to the Atlanta-based U.S. appeals court.)
Scales befriended Luck after former Gov. Rick Scott appointed Luck to the Third District Court of Appeal in 2017. Luck and Scales have remained close ever since.
Every year for the past three years, Scales and Luck have delivered a judicial seminar sponsored by the Monroe County Bar Association. This year, Scales asked Luck to delay his departure and appear on the show.
Despite his relative youth — 40 — Luck is a classic-rock maven, Scales said.
“I’ll tell you what surprised me,” Scales said. “His depth of knowledge of rock and roll is almost as broad and deep as his knowledge of the law, so he can talk as fluently about rock and roll even though it’s several generations before him.”
Scales has a vast collection of compact discs, but he invited Luck to choose the music for the program, which airs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“We played Beatles, we played a lot of Bob Seger, and he’s a big Lou Reed fan,” Scales said. “We played Clapton, we played some Bob Dylan, some U2, and we also played ‘Hot Rod Lincoln’ by Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen.”
A spokesperson said Luck was preparing to move to Atlanta and unavailable to discuss his appearance on the show. But legal scholars wouldn’t be surprised by Luck’s musical taste.
Judge Luck has been known to sprinkle pop culture references in his judicial opinions — he recently gave a nod to “Animal House.”
Scales, a former Key West City Commissioner, is also a former member of The Florida Bar Board of Governors and the Executive Committee. When he served on the board, Scales was known for his magnetic personality, colorful sense of humor, and love of practical jokes.
He has been hosting the “Ed Scales Show” since 1999. In recent years, retired Monroe County Judge Wayne Miller has been a frequent guest host when Scales is unable to appear.
Sometimes the two jurists co-host, says US1 Radio Station Manager Rick Lopez.
“It’s probably a little bit unusual to have someone of his reputation and stature doing a little radio show, but he loves it. It’s great to have him here,” Lopez said of Scales. “They tag team that show. When Ed can’t do it, Wayne does. They just love it; they’re like two kids in a candy store.”
Program Director Erika Perkins didn’t bother to dress up when she went to the studio to catch up on some work the Sunday Judge Luck appeared.
“I was still in my pajamas and getting some work done when the next thing I know, Ed is introducing me to a (former) Supreme Court justice,” she laughed.
Scales is not paid for his work. Station management does not promote the show or identify Scales as a judge. The program is interrupted by pre-recorded blocks of commercials, but no promotions are tied to the “Ed Scales Show.”
When former Gov. Scott appointed him to the Third DCA in 2013, Scales asked the Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee if he could continue hosting the show.
In part, JEAC Opinion No. 2014-03 says, “Yes, as long the judge ensures that the judge’s hosting duties do not demean the judicial office, the judge is not an employee of the radio station and the judge does not personally participate in advertising promotions.”
Scales says the show is a welcome distraction and a perfect vehicle for exercising a passion he developed as a teenager.
Scales was a broadcast major in his undergraduate days at the University of Florida, where he hosted college radio programs.
“I started when I was 16, and I’ve been on the air ever since,” Scales said.