Thursday, July 02, 2015
An ode to radio
It was all rather primitive. I could never segue from one record to another since I only had one turntable, and besides, who gave a shit about “more music?” This was Judy Miller… I mean, MY show. “Ahab the Arab” was coming. Just be patient.
My on air “style” was a mish-mosh of Elliot Field, Gary Owens, Dick Whittington, Jonathon Winters, Bob & Ray, Don McKinnon, Oscar Levant, Alan King, B. Mitchell Reed, and Emperor Hudson. I somehow managed to combine the worst of all of them.
I recorded these God-awful programs and wisely never listened back to them. I’m sure even at the tender age of 12 I would have been horrified at how truly terrible I must’ve sounded.
At the time I never told anybody about my bedroom shows. It was one of those activities you kept to yourself. (And I had the good sense not to record the other activity.) I thought I was the only kid pathetic enough to do bedroom radio shows. Years later when I got into radio professionally I learned that many of us did variations of this same activity. (Note: A radio child prodigy is one who can talk up to vocals at age 7.)
Just as grown up “Judy Miller” must be thrilled that no one was actually sitting in front of their TV sets watching her fling herself against a wall while displaying her ballet skills, no one heard our bogus radio shows.
However, today is a different story. With computer programs, iTunes, and a microphone, not only could a kid produce a rather sophisticated bedroom radio show but he could BROADCAST it – and not just locally –all over the world. Holy shit! I thank God that wasn’t available in my day. I probably still couldn’t show my face in Luxembourg.
It ain’t the same.
I miss the old days. The innocent days I suppose. When radio was a big part of everyone’s lives. Where we all discovered the same music together. Where we all bolstered our self-esteem because the coolest, hippest, funniest DJ’s on the planet were talking directly to us.
And nerds like us wanted to be on the radio because it was “special.” To be that one person behind the microphone sending your voice 2,000 miles was a privilege. Not everyone could do it. And now everyone can. But no one wants to. To me that’s really sad.
Meanwhile, go on YouTube. I’ll bet there are 50,000 different “Judy Miller” shows.
I’m so happy that I was in radio when I was. You never forget your first love.