Among my frequently reoccurring nightmares is the one where I find myself back in a radio broadcast studio with two turntables, a bank of tape players, a microphone, a clock, and… OH NO… no records, no commercials, no play list, no script, no news… and it’s terrifying! Those were the 70’s and 80’s, and I am happy to say that the “new” studio is a lot more relaxing, but it does lack the drama of old time radio. Yes, I said it… one of my stories about my life now includes the expression “old time.”
One of my first days of work at KFIV started at a small desk near the sales area and I reached to open a 1930’s metal crank window. Just outside was a COW. Seriously, a live cow that was chewing grass. I knew I had entered the twilight zone. From there, I worked in the writers room with a heavy metal typewriter and NO windows (kept us in the dark and fed us junk food), and then a small side studio where we recorded 30 and 60 second commercials, voicing over the smooth sounds of canned, elevator style, royalty free background music.
Studios are notorious for egg-crate soundproofing on the walls, bad shag carpet on the floor, and some evidence of whatever snack the guy before you ate while working. DJs at the time were not known for tidiness (except Radio Rick, which is why he alone rose to top management!).
On the air for live broadcasts was like nothing I have experienced since, except that it is similar to a multi-screen Skype conversation in which you are the leader and you need to carry the conversation while also typing, filing, sorting, planning, organizing, and controlling all of what is around you. I will pay live radio one VERY high compliment – I learned how to multi-task at a very advanced level!
Coming back for Graffiti Weekend for the second year was a blast. Both years I enjoyed the experience, admired the skillful work of engineers Dave Mazzy and John Chappell, and left with delusions of returning to radio when I retire. Those thoughts fade once I am back at my “day job”, but who knows? With the rising average age in America, aging DJs may be a blossoming career in the near future!
Thank you again to everyone who made possible the DJ Reunion. Great fun! Lots of laughs!