Saturday, April 16, 2005

A dream of a radio appearance for MWT

Judy and I have each, and both, spent enough time in radio that we both still have what we call, predictably, "radio dreams."  Basically, they are manifestations of the particular brand of PTSD inflicted upon those denizens of the very air whom we knew then as "disc jockeys".  Getting radio product on the air in a tight, synchronized manner with specifically timed elements which had to happen at exact time cues, commercials logged, discrepancies noted, make-goods scheduled, wire ripped and read, weather service called--all done manually...not a single computer or digital anything anywhere--music cued by hand, commercials on continuous tape loop cartridge running on three or four decks (it was like being an octopus on meth just "running the board")--records to pull before your shift and file after, and always the relentless pressure to have someting on the air at all times, and something cued to be next!  And, kid--try to put some personality in it, will ya? 

Anyway, the nightmares consist of none of the elements being reliable--turntables not working, mic switch open, commercials not there, not logged--on and on.

All this was flashing through my gourd as our limo rolled up to the backstage studio door of WVXA radio (96.7 FM, hereabouts, and part of NPR and the X-Star Radio Network) hidden in the Northern Michigan countryside.  Okay, picture an Astrovan pulling up to a small farmhouse.

This is the station where you can hear Prairie Home Companion, or Riders In The Sky, or the great radio shows like Jack Benny, or Big Band, or my favorite "The Music Shelf" with Jim King.  Jim runs on a bit and is sometimes a little stilted; but, he bothers to find and share something with us about the music.  I'm so old, I like that.  And, of course, it's music we all grew up with and can't hear anywhere else.

We had a great time!  Bob is really an old-school radio guy who has done his best to provide truly local intelligent talk about efforts folks are making in our area.  There is precious little airtime devoted to such concepts anymore.  They don't pull any numbers.

Bob knows how to make you feel comfortable on the air right away, and helps you set up the info you're trying to get out there. (This was about our concert at North Woods on Sunday, and we broadcast Thursday.)  Listening on the cans as he faded out of applause on our CD and chuckled his way into his own comments while recuing and switching over so our mikes would be on (there's always some left-handed engineering thing to work around in every studio!)--it all took me back to radio the way it used to be.

Thanks for a great time on the air, Bob!  I hope your career as a music producer takes off.

Of course, the station has been sold.  Another family of stations loses the fight to present what radio presents best:  "The Theatre Of The Mind"

No comments:

Post a Comment