Here is the thing:
For the last 15 years, I have been a weekend/fill-in DJ and jack-of-all-trades with the stations of Mid-West Family Broadcasting in Madison, Wisconsin, mostly on Magic 98 and Q106. In May of this year, the person who’d been doing the afternoon show on Magic 98 left the company. After filling in for several weeks, I was offered the opportunity to replace her on a permanent basis, and I took it. So every weekday from 3 til 7 US Central, you can find me here.
After all of the job losses during the radio industry’s COVID year and even before that, my ending up with a full-time radio job is something I never expected. And it feels like the right time for me to take it, even though I know several people of my exact age who have retired this year.
I have never had formal retirement as a life goal, and after nearly two decades participating in the gig economy, in which you generally work until you fall into the sweet embrace of death, the concept doesn’t register. From the age of 11, the only thing I ever really wanted to do—even when I was doing other things, like teaching or working in publishing, on somebody’s formal payroll or as a freelancer—was to be on the air someplace. So I plan to keep doing it until A) it ceases to be fun and/or rewarding; B) I’m no longer able to drag my ass into the studio; or C) management decides they don’t want me anymore. Whether that’s a year from now, five years from now, or longer, who knows. I’ll just keep showing up, until I don’t.
Since there’s some of the word count left, here’s some stuff you might have missed recently on my Twitter feed.
—Here’s Chicago radio legend Larry Lujack on July 5, 1972, his first day doing afternoons at WCFL after five years at WLS and a year-and-a-half on the morning show there. His first break, in which he promises to take down his former colleagues at the Big 89, is amazing, and his first live-read commercial is for disposable panties. He’s figuring out a new job on the fly and he doesn’t care who knows it. The show doesn’t just offer a glimpse behind the curtain to see what it’s like to be a bigtime Top 40 DJ—the whole show is from behind the curtain. Lujack was not always as loose and careless, but he was rarely more entertaining.
—Here’s the story of the Erie Canal Soda Pop Festival, also known as the Bull Island Rock Festival, held in an Illinois swamp on Labor Day weekend 1972. Despite legal efforts to shut it down before it could happen, the festival attracted 200,000 people (by one estimate) for what turned out to be a violent, disorganized mess where “it was easier to buy drugs than to it was buy water.”
—Here’s the story of the time Blondie opened for Rush in Philadelphia, back in 1979. Fans of that erudite progressive power trio were having none of an up-and-coming new wave band, and Blondie was having none of them.
—Here’s the story of a record store in Philadelphia, a two-man shop with five million records. It’s a little like the Soup Nazi’s restaurant: you better know what you want before you walk in there, or no soup for you.
—Here’s an interview with Belinda Carlisle, in the wake of the Go Gos’ election to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She’s lived in Bangkok for the last several years.
—Here’s an interview with sportscaster Marv Albert, who retired at the end of the NBA’s Eastern Conference Finals after 55 years calling the NBA and other pro sports. He’s seen some stuff.
—Here’s the story of what happened to country music’s racial reckoning, which was supposed to happen last summer after the BLM protests, and last winter after Morgan Wallen’s racial slur incident, but which in fact does not seem to have happened at all.
—Here’s how Thomas Edison’s personal musical taste affected the history of recording. While he had a narrow idea of what was acceptable, that narrow idea helped open the door to an entire spectrum of sounds that didn’t conform to it.