(Pictured: until I can again be one of the people in this picture, I’ll have to spend my time writing.)
Tomorrow is this website’s 16th anniversary. Here’s the customary rundown of some of my favorite posts since the last anniversary.
I wrote more about American Top 40 than in any previous year, I think. This post featuring an especially wack Long Distance Dedication was fun to write. So was the one about the Christmas songs Casey played. Find all of my posts about the show here. Find the companion feature about the bottom 60 records on the same week’s Billboard chart here.
The Re-Listening Project continued, in which I write about albums we’ve all heard a million times. Subjects included Tusk, The Stranger, A Night at the Opera, and The Long Run. Find all of those posts here.
With the coming of the plague in March, I started writing Life on Lockdown, which has become an intermittent series now (mostly because I write stuff and then have second thoughts about posting it), but I expect it to reappear eventually. I’m especially proud of what I wrote about the message of the BLM/police brutality protests.
The series Inside Billboard (which is sometimes Inside Radio and Records) is one of my favorite things to write. Find the past year’s trades here.
Shortly before last year’s anniversary, I launched a podcast, which is on indefinite hiatus now. If you’d like to revisit the series, you can find it here.
What follows are some favorite posts appearing here since last July that aren’t covered by any of the categories above:
—“The big days come with memories that can keep us going through the years. But most days are ordinary. We spend them pushing whatever rock we’re pushing up whatever hill we’re fated to push it up. And at days’ end, we reach the top, the rock rolls down, and we’ll push it again tomorrow.”
—“When ‘Maude’s Dilemma’ aired in November 1972, about two months before the Roe v. Wade decision legalized abortion nationwide, a couple of CBS affiliates refused to carry it, but apart from that, it caused no widespread controversy. After Roe v. Wade, however, the outrage machine cranked up.”
—“I knew that I was going to be on the radio someday—knew it. Also, there were opportunities and adventures ahead—involving school and sports, and later, girls, and part-time jobs to put money in my pocket, and graduation, and college. And then to conquer the world.”
—“That the theme from the 70s’ most iconic movie would go to #1 in a disco version is just about the most 1970s thing there is.”
—“They look at what the place is doing, and they say, ‘This can’t be working,’ which often translates to, ‘I don’t like this, which means it’s wrong.’ Or they say—and this is closer to what happened at Deadspin—’I’m going to do this thing even if it makes no sense to you, because I’m playing a game of nine-dimensional chess you can’t understand.'”
—“I’m just a dumb-ass part-time disc jockey. I’m not saying anything I wouldn’t say to my bosses when I tell you I don’t like what happened. They don’t either. And I’m sad for my friends. But I’m also concerned about what it means for my own role as a dumb-ass part-time disc jockey.”
—“I thought it would be fun to go through all of the 1969 year-end music surveys at ARSA to see what I could see, but I got partway through and started thinking, no, this is too much even for a geek with time on his hands. So here’s a couple dozen of them, not necessarily the most interesting ones, but a mix of stations big and small, in no particular order, and in two parts.” (Here and here.)
—“Every time a popular artist releases a Christmas album, he or she is following in the footsteps of Bing Crosby and Merry Christmas, which was the first.”
—“A lot of radio stations don’t have news departments anymore, so it’s up to jocks to be the journalists. And who are the grizzled old veterans to serve as role models for them? I guess it’s gonna have to be me.”
I am grateful to all who read here, and especially to the commenters who make this place far smarter than it would be otherwise. I plan to continue doing this until I can’t anymore. Times being what they are, we don’t know when that end-date might come. But we hope it’s not for a while yet.