If you don't wish to click the link, local rock station KUFO 101.1 has been replaced by an FM simulcast of KXL Newsradio 750. Until Oct. 23, 2009, it was the home of several DJs I know and like, but that day the station fired almost all of its on-air staff and re-branded itself. The music stayed the same, the personalities were different except for one DJ who I'm not acquainted with, and as I was A) epically annoyed on behalf of the people I liked who'd been on that station and B) not as big on that music, I listened to no more than a few minutes of that station ever since. And no, playing Glenn Beck and Lars Larson is not going to bring me back.
Which brings me to a point I'm not sure I've shared with you: about a decade ago, I seriously considered getting into radio.
I'd been a radio geek since the 1980s. It helped that D.C.-area DJs Don Geronimo and Mike O'Meara went into the behind-the-mic mechanics of putting on their show, whether it was the Morning Zoo they hosted from 1985 to 1991 or their afternoon show I listened to for the latter half of my high school life. I fell away from that in college, focusing on film music (and, of course, studies and trying to get a girlfriend), but then in the late 90s I became a dedicated, concerted listener of radio again. In Hermiston, Oregon for three years, I listened almost entirely to NPR, specifically Northwest Public Radio out of Pullman, Washington, but when I'd stay with the folks in the Portland area I'd tune into KINK FM 101.9. Once I was back living in the Portland area in late 2000, I started being that close listener again, paying attention and getting attached to certain hosts. I've listened to KINK FM ever since, and also latched onto 94.7 KNRK, except for the maddening and ill-advised "Marconi era" of 2003 to 2004. (94.7's efforts to repair itself after that yielded this entry I'm proud of, "The Epic of NRK.") And it seemed like trying the business would be a natural outgrowth of that.
I'd like to thank my friend Sylvia Giustina for delivering the big AH HELL NAW to that.
She and I were volunteer tour guides for the Portland Center for the Performing Arts back in 2003, and as we got to know each other I learned she'd been a DJ for a few years in the late Seventies and early 80s. She and I had a long heart-to-heart phone talk one morning in early 2003 -- not long after the space shuttle Columbia had disintegrated in the atmosphere, so I was not in my best frame of mind -- and she told me of some of her DJ experience and gave me advice.
Which boiled down to Don't get into radio if you value your soul.
Sylvia scared me straight. I stayed a close listener, and over time I got to know some of those DJs and be a supporter of them, but even back then getting into radio was a bad idea for me. And that was before radio as we know it started changing so much. This was before satellite radio, for instance, and more to the point for the DJs I know, before podcasting over the Internet had really taken off. I still wonder about that sometimes as a might-have-been, still thinking Maybe I could've been good at being on the radio, or at least a behind-the-scenes person -- and hey, that can lead to bigger things, too, like Don and Mike's former intern Greg Garcia going on to create the TV shows MY Name Is Earl and Raising Hope -- but radio should probably be something I listen to, not contribute to.
Unless I wind up doing something behind-the-scenes for podcasters, and find out I'm good at that.
There remains that hope. Whether reality would allow it is another question.
Meanwhile, you can read what Bobby "Fatboy" Roberts thinks about his former employer disappearing from the face of radio.