January 3, 1982: Split Time

Embed from Getty Images

(Pictured: Olivia Newton John performs at the American Music Awards in January 1982.)

January 3, 1982, was a Sunday. Severe winter weather has battered the West and the Rockies since Christmas; in Wisconsin, there’s nearly a foot of snow on the ground after two major snowfalls in 72 hours, and more snow is forecast in the Midwest today. Subzero temperatures have been recorded from Michigan to Montana. President Reagan returns to the White House today from a holiday vacation in Palm Springs, California, where he will have to deal with the ongoing scandal surrounding national security advisor Richard Allen, who is on a leave of absence after being accused of soliciting bribes from Japanese corporations in conjunction with his private consulting business. Jury selection will continue this week in the trial of accused Atlanta child murderer Wayne Williams. In Poland, the martial law crackdown on labor unrest sparked by the Solidarity movement continues. The United States has imposed economic sanctions on Poland; Reagan will meet with West German leader Helmut Schmidt this week to discuss next steps.

In the NFL playoffs yesterday, Dallas crushed Tampa Bay 38-0 and San Diego beat Miami 41-38 in overtime after blowing a 24-0 lead and falling behind 38-31. Today, Cincinnati beats Buffalo 27-21 and San Francisco knocks off the New York Giants 38-21. Conference championship games will be played next Sunday.

On TV tonight, the CBS lineup includes 60 Minutes, Alice, The Jeffersons, and Trapper John M.D. NBC presents CHiPs followed by the theatrical movie The Boys From Brazil. On ABC, it’s Today’s FBI and the theatrical movie Running starring Michael Douglas. At his house in Colts Neck, New Jersey, Bruce Springsteen records several songs that will eventually be released on the album Nebraska. The Billboard Hot 100 will be frozen this week; Olivia Newton-John’s “Physical” and “Waiting for a Girl Like You” by Foreigner were holding at #1 and #2 for the week of December 27, the fifth consecutive week they have occupied the top two positions. At WBEN in Buffalo, a new survey comes out on Tuesday. “Physical” and “Centerfold” by the J. Geils Band will hold at #1 and #2. “I Can’t Go for That” by Hall and Oates is #3 and “Comin’ In and Out of Your Life” by Barbra Streisand is #4. “Waiting for a Girl Like You” rounds out the Top Five. Three songs make big moves into the Top 10: “Under Pressure” by Queen and David Bowie from #12 to #7, “Our Lips Are Sealed” by the Go-Gos from #15 to #8, and “Abacab” by Genesis from #23 to #9. “Turn Your Love Around” by George Benson moves from #17 to #13.

Perspective From the Present: Richard Allen resigned his post on Monday, January 4, although he was never shown to have broken any laws. The upcoming NFL conference championship games would both go down in history: the Cincinnati-San Diego game as the Freezer Bowl and the Dallas-San Francisco game for the last-minute Joe Montana-to-Dwight Clark touchdown pass known as “the catch.” And after a grim year for pop music in 1981, 1982 was sounding better already.

It was Christmas vacation at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, although I split time between home and my campus apartment. On Thursday, December 31st, I had done the New Year’s Eve countdown show on KDTH. On New Year’s Day, I ran the board for the station’s broadcast of the Rose Bowl, in which Iowa was thumped by Washington, 28-0. On Saturday the 2nd, two friends and I broadcast a basketball game on the campus radio station—a game that was sparsely attended given the viciously cold weather, and a broadcast likely unheard by anyone not participating in it. Afterward, my friends decided to sleep on my living room floor. The next morning, their cars wouldn’t start until I jumped them. That afternoon, I had to help dig my girlfriend’s car out of a snowdrift after she slid off the road on her way to work.

A couple of Sundays later, I would be on my way out of my apartment, bound for the radio station at 4:30AM, when I heard a banging noise from upstairs. I went to investigate and saw my roommate stomping out burning curtains, which had caught fire from being too close to the baseboard heater. Smoke damage made the apartment unlivable; I decided that I would rent my own place in Dubuque, considering that I was about to start working full-time at KDTH in February while finishing up my last semester of school. So in a span of about two weeks, I found a place, packed, and moved, and become suddenly, unexpectedly, a young man on his own in the city, with no roommates and no parents around, just me, and my salary of $200 a week.

3 thoughts on “January 3, 1982: Split Time


    My interest heightens when you get to Perspective From the Present! Comparing your 1982 to my 1970. We’re in the entertainment business! You doubled my $100/week start as a studio cameraman at WKOW-TV. Humble beginnings.

    1. Wesley

      My thoughts exactly when I saw this picture, mikehagerty.

      And jb, thanks for publishing the WBEN survey. Sounds like their audience was ahead of the curve in improving top 40 music in 1982.

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