Forty years ago in Chicago: The WLS Survey, January 28, 1978

(Of course he does.) The last week of January, 1978 saw me as a fourth-grader at Helen Keller School in Tinley Park, Illinois. I was still about a year and a half away from "playing radio" in Mr. Johnston's sixth-grade class.  I would have been about two months away from receiving my first stereo system … Continue reading Forty years ago in Chicago: The WLS Survey, January 28, 1978

A sixth-grader’s records: The Billboard Hot 100, May 17, 1980

  (Above: The place where my radio career started, in a very loose sense of the word.) The big story in the middle of May 1980 was the eruption of Mount Saint Helens in Washington State.  More than fifty people lost their lives in the blast, and it dominated the news cycle for several days.  … Continue reading A sixth-grader’s records: The Billboard Hot 100, May 17, 1980

New year’s resolutions: Dramarama, “Last Cigarette” (1989)

(Above: Cover art for Stuck in Wonderamaland, 1990) I was never really a smoker. I was in the habit of buying cigarettes only when working at my first job, which I fondly think back on as "petroleum distributor."  To be correct, I had exactly three jobs that were not in radio: -Gas pump jockey, Brian's … Continue reading New year’s resolutions: Dramarama, “Last Cigarette” (1989)

One morning in college radio: December 5, 1988

(Above: Some of the WLRA airstaff, Spring 1988.  Yours truly is in the mismatched Hawaiian clothing at the left of the frame.) Monday, December 5, 1988 was a chilly day in Chicagoland.  In the news, PTL Ministries head Jim Bakker was indicted on charges that he defrauded his flock.  (The various Bakker scandals would introduce … Continue reading One morning in college radio: December 5, 1988

One day in college radio: November 14, 1988

Above: A clinic in how not to design a business card, in terms of readability. Monday, November 14, 1988 was an overcast day around much of Chicagoland. The snows of winter weren't falling yet, and on the campus of Lewis University thoughts were beginning to turn to the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.  The Chicago Bears had … Continue reading One day in college radio: November 14, 1988

Forgoing your college eligibility: Stevie Wonder, “I Wish” (1976)

(Above: Me in a WJTW polo shirt.  For some reason, this was taken in the production room of WCFL-FM/Morris.) 28 years ago tonight, I did my first professional radio show at WJTW-FM in Joliet. In an earlier post I discussed how I had applied for a job at the station in sales, but that my … Continue reading Forgoing your college eligibility: Stevie Wonder, “I Wish” (1976)

Imitation and flattery: The college radio show intro (1987 – 1988)

This piece is a little different today as it doesn't highlight a specific song, but will talk about a number of songs that all served the same purpose: starting my college radio shows. There's not much that people in radio don't rip off.  If you've moved around the country, you've no doubt noticed the preponderance … Continue reading Imitation and flattery: The college radio show intro (1987 – 1988)

Crossing the line: Utter Confusion, “Beer Goggles” (1988)

(Above: The 12" single in question.  Good luck finding it.) I had a long conversation with my college radio advisor yesterday.  John Carey has been responsible for the students of WLRA at Lewis University for the last thirty years or so.  He was a young advisor when I was a freshman back at the school … Continue reading Crossing the line: Utter Confusion, “Beer Goggles” (1988)

A radio anniversary: R.E.M., “It’s the End of the World As We Know it” (1987)

(Above: This is not at all what the first day looked like, but when I think "college radio," it looks like this.) Each of us has certain dates that stand out in our lives that go past our own birthdays. Anniversaries, the death of a parent (I have two of those dates to remember), job … Continue reading A radio anniversary: R.E.M., “It’s the End of the World As We Know it” (1987)