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08/01/2008 Entry: "Paddy's Radio MI-5"

Paddy sayz: I just started a radio show on WRFR 93.3FM in Rockland (streaming on the web at wrfr.org) and I thought a radio-related 5 for this week:

1. What was the first song you remember hearing on the radio? Maybe a favorite that you really looked forward to hearing?
~I guess the earliest songs I remember hearing specifically on radio were the hits that were playing the year my Aunt Ginny and Uncle Ade took my sister and I to New York. It seemed like no matter what station Uncle Ade had the radio on, you heard Bad Girls, Hot Stuff, or Dance, Dance, Dance. I guess that makes it 1979--I would've been seven at the time. I still really dig all those songs, especially Bad Girls--the only pop song I know that features a samba whistle!

2. As a kid, I had a transistor radio that I took with me EVERYWHERE! Did radio play a big part in your childhood? What specifically did you listen to?
~Radio was a big part of my childhood. I can remember taking my old cassette recorder, and using the internal microphone to record FM broadcasts. We had a radio, and we had a cassette recorder, but they weren't build together, so you had to use a microphone to get the signal onto the tape! I remember taping in our living room one day, and someone slammed the door into the house. I said on the tape, like I was some kind of DJ: "You may have heard some big noise right then, but everything is ok now." In fact, you couldn't hear it on the tape. And that taught me a valuable "on air" lesson: don't bring up your mistakes on the air. Your audience probably didn't even notice it.

3. When I was a teen growing up in Maine, there were two kinds of kids: WBLM kids (album rock) and WIGY kids (Top 40). Which one, if either, were you? If you aren't from here (or are older or younger), relate as best you can your listening preferences as a teen.
~I remember WIGY, and WIGY the Wonderdog. I don't really remember them playing soft hits, though, as Paddy remembers. I'm a little younger than Paddy, so maybe they had a little more edge when I was listening to them. Not as edgy as WBLM, but I remember songs by the likes of REO Speedwagon, Jon Stewart, Fleetwood Mac, and that kinda thing. By the time I was a teen, though, WIGY was gone, and the CD was just coming in. I was one of the first teens I knew to own a CD player. You can read all about that somewhat sordid tale here.

4. Do you have a special "radio moment" that you can share?
~I can remember listening to Larry Glick out of WBZ AM in Boston. Lisa, Mike, and I would make our own radio programs on tape, based on what Larry would do on the air. I also remember when Jim and I had our own program on the same station as Paddy. "The Jazz Workshop" lasted two years, I think, on Monday nights from 9pm-10pm. I think we had few listeners. My dad lived too far away to get any signal from the tiny 100 watt station, so every few weeks we'd record our show on CD, and give him a copy. One week, Jim invented a Jazz musician by the name of Lefty Hefterson. A few weeks later, I said something about Jim's character Hefty Lefterson. Jim and I got laughing on the air about how we imagined some large lady, abandoning her toddler, as in "Hefty left her son." And, of course, this was the week we were taping the show for Dad. When he heard the CD, he too got the side-splitting laughs; not because he thought the joke was funny, but he got laughing because we were laughing. We didn't even tape the Lefty Hefterson show--he didn't know the background story at all. Still, I remember him laughing every time we listened to that show. I think I still have that CD at the house.

5. In this age of micro-mp3 players, XM and iTunes ... how often (if at all) do you listen to radio?
~I listen to NPR in the shower Monday-Friday. Why would this conservative listen to a decidedly left leaning station? Simple. It's the only local news station I can get in the bathroom! Other than that, I don't listen to FM. Now, my XM radio practically GLOWS from use. I listen to it all the time! It's a constant companion in the car, offering me everything for bluegrass to Latin Jazz, and everything else you could ask for. Country? About 10 channels. Blues? Yup. Heck, there are even four comedy channels! I like to listen to the Laugh USA "clean comedy" station as I drift off to sleep. It even has BBC, NPR, and every Red Sox game, regardless of what park they're playing in. I used to say "I'll never pay for radio." Now I say "I can't believe I listened to the same songs on FM for so long!" I'm a true XM convert.

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