The Freelance Mentalists.
Saturday, October 30, 2004
Yeah, y'know, see, it's like this. Radio is kind of dead to me, but that doesn't mean it's dead. And it's not really dead to me, just I'll never have that close relationship to it the way I used to.

And man, did I use to. I was a JUNKIE yo. I had it on all the time, from about 2nd grade until about 10th grade; again when I got to Boston and had no CDs for a year because they were all down with my girlfriend in New York; again when I moved to be with her; again when my whole job was driving around the south side of Chicago; again when I discovered the free-form community-supported station up here in Madison, at least for a little while.

But I have a CD player in the car now -- well, it's just my Discman, which I haul back and forth -- and the TV's always on in the house. I have my stations that I hit up (mostly the Latin AM station here in town, and Air America, and occasionally listening to a Brewers or Cubs game), but I'm sick of our hip-hop station [especially that they've dumped the local morning DJs in favor of "The Madhouse" or whatever it is, a supposedly hip-hop version of Howard Stern that is SUCKY and CRAPPY and SO WHITE IT HURTS] and I'm not so hot on country music anymore, and our access station is boring me to tears for some reason right now. Maybe I'll switch back someday but I doubt it.

So yeah, for me it's dead. Too corporate, too boring, too braindead, too locked in. And too many shitty commercials. Whatever happened to AWESOME COMMERCIALS that made you crack up?

My five favorite radio moments ever:

5. Hearing "I Can See Clearly Now" when I was a kid in Portland on KISN-AM, right as the rain stopped so it was clear we'd be playing our baseball game after all. It was kind of perfect.

4. Listening to Chicago's sports talk station WSCR dissect the NFL Draft live, withering wit and immense sports knowledge, oh man I was pretty impressed with that.

3. Hearing the KGON DJ play the song I requested and had been waiting all day to hear: "Somebody to Love" by Queen. I was like 12.

2. Pulling into NYC with a whole U-Haul trailer of stuff, my wife had a migraine so she couldn't unload anything, it was hot, I was hungry and adrenalized and overcaffeinated and I hadn't really been in Manhattan more than twice before, we were MOVING, it was exciting...and what was on while I unloaded our entire lives into a shitty expensive but awesomely located 85th st. studio apt.? DJ RED ALERT, spinning LIVE, the way I had always thought it would be.

1. Doing a public access show with Emma and Sammy and Jeff, we played whatever we wanted to, Emma and Sam sang along to "Jailbreak," it was truly cool. I wanna be a DJ.

Oh yeah, that's right, radio's dead. Shit.

Maybe it isn't, though. I mean, I ain't holding out much hope for satellite or internet radio -- although some people swear by that stuff -- nor do I really think we're going to see an indie radio revolution. But there is hope within me. And Emma loves the radio, listens to it all the time. I'm the past: she's the future.

Damn, I gotta get up offa that thing. Stop whining. Start listening. Keep hoping. It's free music, dude, what the hell's wrong with that?
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