Today in things I can hardly live without

There is something you might not know about me. I am a huge radio fan.

My first radio memory was from third grade, when I was startled out of bed by my clock radio blaring out “My Sharona” in the middle of the night. But it was at 10 years old, when my family lived in Oak Park Illinois, a few blocks from the Chicago city limits, that the world opened up to me through that little dial. Once I discovered I could sample so much I was hooked. By junior high, I was in Philadelphia, where I practically lived on the floor in front of my stereo, scanning stations continuously and making mix tapes. Then there was the fun of calling the station trying to get through for a contest. What exactly was the best strategy for trying to be the 3rd or 9th caller? All I know was there were a lot of busy signals and my finger would get sore from all the dialing. Yes, dialing. The rotary phone. One time I got on the air requesting David Bowie. I was so nervous I could barely handle it.

During the Reagan years of high school my parents had NPR on every night and I listened to All Things Considered while washing dishes. By the time I was old enough to vote for the first time I had enough information to know I did not want Bush Sr. elected and I even volunteered registering democrats.

During my brief experience in the corporate world in Houston I worked a mind numbingly boring job as a temp cataloging geologic data for a major oil company. What saved me? At 2:00 Terry Gross and Fresh Air came on, and I was allowed to listen on my headphones during work.

My old DJ fantasies came true a few years back when I got to go on the air and spin a couple tracks at KUGS while promoting an upcoming show for my band. Come to think of it, we even played live in the studio once. Yay for radio!

I still have a couple of those old Philadelphia mix tapes. And I still listen to the radio every day. I don’t know what I would do without it.

Since commercial radio annoys the shit out of me. I’m lucky to live in a town with 2 npr affiliates, an excellent college station, a radio museum station, and even a pirate old timey station. If I can handle the ads, I can also hear French, Chinese and Punjabi stations which radiate down from Canada. And it’s free.

Sometimes when I consider moving up to the mountains I think about what I’d be missing. I guess I’d be missing all these crazy invisible waves passing though me all the time.

The kiddo and I are going to build a radio out of a paper towel tube and foil. I’ll let you know how it goes.


3 Responses to “Today in things I can hardly live without”

  1. 1 natchrl8r October 22, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    Yo Beatgrl;

    I must be a little older because my first radio memories are of Petula Clark’s “Downtown”, “Hello Dolly” and “I Wanna Hold Your Hand”.
    We share the love of NPR. When I was without video and computer KUOW was my best friend. I still listen to Morning Edition when I’m getting ready for work, This American Life and Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me doing chores, As It Happens and Diane Ream on the timer when I’m nodding off. I am a junkie, complete with driveway moments and podcasts. I also did the Radio contests in high school; I won Rolling Stones “Sticky Fingers” and Art Garfunkel’s “Breakaway” from KJR Seattle (but i had speed dial) I was woken up in the middle of the night by War’s “Low Rider” as a teenager.

    Now I am listening to crystal clear KUOW on itunes as well as stations in Brazil, New Orleans or anywhere else I choose. And FYI, I got KUOW, KPLU, and KNWR in the mountains, albeit a little staticky, but internet is available in the foothills too.

    BTW, I didn’t know you lived in near Chicago and Philly. So did I! In the Navy… I’ll have to tell you about my retro “Haight Street” experience on South St. Philadelphia in 1979.

    This is such a long comment, I think I’ll post it as my blog today.

    Thanks for the inspiration!


  2. 2 Oceanrevery October 23, 2008 at 6:16 am

    I remember “Just slip out the back Jack, makin’ new plans Sam, don’t mean to be corduroy, just listen to me.” Though I had plenty of corduroy, I wondered what it could mean to be corduroy.

    Another – “I’m not talkin’ bout mellidium, and I don’t want to change your mind, but there’s a warm wind blowing…”

    And somehow the words of Eric Claptons “Coccaine” stuck with me and I would walk around singing “If you want to get down, down on the ground, coccaine…” Our housekeepers great big eyes would roll at me and she’d say “you better be stayin away from that stuff.” I had no idea what she was talking about. “If you want to go out, you’ve got to take her out, coccaine…”

    And what ever happened to Wolfman Jack?

  3. 3 natchrl8r October 23, 2008 at 8:20 am

    Yeah! The Wolfman! Our busdriver used to play him on the bus to Central Regional High in Bayville, New Jersey. I was in junior high. I remember Melanie, “I’ve Got A Brand New Rollerskate”, Steve Miller “The Joker”, Doobie Brothers “Black Water”, and of course Deep Purple “Smoke on the Water”. I was constantly making cassette recordings off the radio and from my friend’s 45’s. I probably still have a portion of “The Top 100 of 1975”, “Killing Me Softly” and “There’s Got To Be A Morning After” theme song to “The Poseidon Adventure” disaster movie.

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