What in the F@#K happened to radio?

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     Growing up in the 70’s and 80’s was a different musical experience than today. Radio was a magical and wonderful friend to many of us, to some it was our best friend. I remember that the “rock” radio stations would play all that fell in to that genre. You would hear it all from ABBA to ZZ Top, and everything in between. The experience was all encompassing and you were exposed to music you might have otherwise never had the chance to hear. I grew to know and love bands from those radio days, I also learned to appreciate a lot of music even though I might not have favored it.

     Radio was a wonderful thing in that the diversity was much greater due to the creative control the DJ’s used to have. The DJ was your friend in music, they were your cool friend that had great music. I loved the fact that the DJ could introduce you to music that they were into. They were your friend that if you were having a bad day, good day, a whatever day, you could call them and request a song to match your mood and they would play it. I would stay up into the wee hours listening and discovering the joy of music and the tidbits of trivia the DJ’s would throw out at us.

        The radio DJ of old was a larger than life character that people admired and envied. They talked to the musicians and sometimes you could call in with your questions as well.  It was all about the music, not sports, not movie stars, not politics, there were talk radio stations for that. There giveaways and contests that were local, I remember winning the entire Queen library on vinyl one time in 1980. There was no “be the 100th national caller” to win.

     Radio, not the internet, not satellite, mp3 players, was truly enjoyable. It was available freely everywhere. Cruising in your car , hanging by the pool, the lake, at a party, or whatever, the radio was a necessity.

     You could hear local bands on the radio as well. It really was a time about the music and the love of it. Radio gave bands a chance to be heard and shared.

     We need to put music back into the ears and lives of the people who love it. There are people out there who think like I do and I know it. I miss the radio stations with the DJ’s with cool names and cool music. I miss being able to listen to the radio and not hear the same 50 songs over and over. I miss the events that the radio stations used to have. I miss it being about the love of music.

     To those DJ’s who were a part of those days, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

      -the Hellion

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5 thoughts on “What in the F@#K happened to radio?

  1. Bro…….I AM IN AGREEMENT with you 100% ! I SO miss those days, when music was magical and not a processed, branded, trendy, everyone sounds the same, programing like today. And the mighty D.J.’S would even do a whole album side if they were really into the artist. Everyone’s blameing the digital age for the downfall of music. It’s not the digital age as much as it’s the all mighty dollar that has changed the face of music. Greedy record companies, greedy multimedia companies…….and the artists STILL don’t make any money. Look at RIAA reports. I will still make music. Why ? Because I LOVE IT, and I STILL think that it can be magical !!!

  2. Took the words out of my mouth – I got my first radio/cassette player/recorder from my Dad for my birthday and discovered the local rock stations in 1971. David Essex’s Rock On was in the Top-10. I quickly discovered that I gravitated toward the musical taste of certain DJs and tuned in to their shows, usually the after prime-time hours when they had fewer advertisers and more time to fill with cuts of their choice, not just the roster of singles they were expected to play in rotation. DJs played “album cuts” from the albums that the hit singles came from and you could get a broader taste of an artist’s whole sound quickly. These DJs also kept older material that they enjoyed in the airwaves for youngsters like me (I just turned 8) who didn’t have access to clubs or theater shows – I grew up far from any cities. The stuff on television designed for us “kids” was The Monkeys or The Partridge Family. Late night radio slipped in the occasional live cuts from Led Zeppelin or Grand Funk Railroad. Then Elton John hit big. I was recording radio shows onto cassette and borrowing someone else’s equipment and learning to patch gear together (Dad enjoyed helping, he designed radio upgrades for submarines after WWII) and made my own mix tapes long before I had a car to cruise around in to listen to them. I still have the first cassette tape I ever picked out from a shop – The Beach Boys album Holland – my favorite song within a spoken voice story on it: Magic Transistor Radio lyric –

    He sat up in his open window
    Looking quietly down at the path
    A firefly flew in his room
    And flew right out again

    Down jumped the prince
    And he went again to find his radio

    Magic transistor radio
    Glowing magic transistor radio
    Glowing magic transistor radio

    As he made his way
    (Glowing magic transistor radio)
    He could hear something once again
    There was that transistor up on the same tree
    Then from inside of it came a strange voice

    Read more: Beach Boys – Magic Transistor Radio Lyrics | MetroLyrics
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