Hardy grew up in the area listening to groups like the Four Tops and the Temptations, and his many fans in the area know that his roots go deep into the soil of Eastern North Carolina. Hardy's youthful love for beach music and dancing developed into a career in radio when he created an award-winning beach music show that has been on going since April 1974.
Each Sunday night from 5 to 10 p.m. on WNCT FM 107.9, Steve Hardy's Original Beach Party goes out over the airwaves, and Hardy says it's a fun way to make a living. Thousands of fans tune in each week, listening for their favorite songs, many of them checking in by phone nearly every week, requesting favorites or just calling to visit. "My friends and fans call in and tell me about what's going on with them, where they've been, what they've been doing...it's like family," Hardy said, "they want to know what's going on with me, and I like to know what's going on in their lives. I thank the Lord that I have that personality, that I can interact with people the way I do. It's been a blessing to me." Hardy also hosts a weekly hour-long television show that's aired at midnight on many stations in Eastern North Carolina on Saturday night.
In talking with him, the thing that comes across is that he really loves what he does. He recalls growing up in Snow Hill, going with his friends to the Pavilion at Atlantic Beach, Williams Lake outside Clinton and to the Hillview Grill in Snow Hill, where he and his friends danced on a concrete floor to music from a juke box. He recalls going with friends to an old pickle factory in Faison, where a group called Ulysses Hardy and the Blue Notes would play, and they would all dance and have a great time. Hardy also remembers coming to several clubs in Wilson that no longer exist — "the Purple Griffin Club that used to be over by Watson's Feed Company, and Melody Park that used to be out on Highway 301. We all went to the drive-in in Wilson, too, where we listened to music and hung out, and then we'd go to the Creamery. It was just a way of life for all of us."
Hardy's show is the longest-running beach music radio show on the air. He's won many awards over the years, from several DJ of the year awards and the coveted Cammy Award for Lifetime Achievement, to being elected to the Beach Music Hall of Fame.
In addition to the weekly radio show, Hardy also plays venues from Atlanta to Virginia Beach and Richmond, all up and down the East Coast, everything from Wilson's Whirligig Festival to Wilmington's Azalea Festival.
Hardy takes his weekly radio show and his beach music on the road, playing wedding receptions, private parties, banquets, conventions and motivational meetings, meeting up with friends and making new ones everywhere he goes.
He also hosts an annual Christmas party for fans and friends; this year's party is December 22st at the Greenville Convention Center. There will be four bands, discount rooms, free food, and a drop box for Toys for Tots. Hardy also promotes good causes with his beach music, doing shows to benefit the American Cancer Society and putting on an annual golf tournament in Myrtle Beach to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
If you haven't had a chance to see Steve Hardy and his Original Beach Party in person, don't miss him at the all his upcoming events.. It won't be long before your toes will be tapping and you'll find yourself on the dance floor!