I had some wonderful emails arrive almost immediately after last week’s column regarding what I miss about radio was published. So many, in fact, that I cannot possibly print them all. But I’ll shut up right now and get to as many as I can.
Elle from Venice: “OH YEAH, I remember some entertaining DJs! In the early 70s, I remember driving to work in downtown LA, sitting on the Santa Monica Freeway Parking Lot, and listening to the completely politically-incorrect Hudson & Landry. They would also play cuts off their comedy album. Listening to "Bruiser Larue," I laughed until I almost missed my off-ramp and then had to repair my runny mascara before work. And it's still a feeling of comfort and bringing back good days when I hear Charlie Tuna's voice! Classy, always!”
From Cindy: “There is one thing that I really miss that you didn't mention. I remember years ago when radio commercials were fun and made to entertain listeners like mini radio shows, or just silly little visual vignettes. My favorite was by a couple of L.A. tire guys named Ted and Ed...or was it Ed and Ted; The gimmick was that they were going around the world to sell tires. My favorite, the Matterhorn, where they were less than impressed by the size of it but one of them noticed a giant mouse walking by...”
Russ from Glendale: “What I miss most about today's radio are the great public service shows I would listen to that were usually aired on weekends. The shows I particularly remember listening to were Powerline, SCAN, Open Door, Master Control, and my all time favorite, Ask the Professor. Are any still aired? I wouldn't even mind listening to older shows if I could find them, so far I haven't had much luck. Maybe you or your readers might know where these show are now.”
(I loved Professor and Powerline too. I have often wondered if they are still being produced).
Ardi Newton: I enjoyed your article today so much. It really did bring back old memories. I graduated from high school in 1962. Our radio stations were KFWB and KRLA. I still remember the jingle:" KFWB, radio 98, color radio, channel 98." Some of the names I remember are Wink Martindale, Dick Whittington, and over at KMPC, Dick Whittinghill (or vice versa). Remember Wolfman Jack and Doctor Demento? We always had 'the news at the top of the hour'. Those were the days.”
Keeping in mind that I was simply stating what I miss in radio, not condemning radio today, I was surprised by the responses. These letters illustrate the difference between then and now: Radio was a companion then. DJs were larger than life. Stations were so big that they influenced teen culture more than parents and teachers. As Larry Lear of West Covina wrote, “when you were almost anywhere other than in the classroom at school, you had the radio playing.”
Today? Not so much. Most kids use other forms of entertainment; if they want new music they go elsewhere. Many don’t even turn on a radio, which in many ways makes me sad. But honestly, with so many stations using canned DJs, cluttered on-air presentations and no compelling content, is it any wonder that iPods and Pandora are the choice of a new generation? Without good DJs and other important elements, you might as well be Pandora. You certainly are not doing “radio.”
Get This App ...
... demanded reader Dennis Collier. It’s a talk radio app for iPhones called “Talk Shows on Internet Radio” that brings the world of syndicated talk radio right to your phone. I have not tried it (my personal ban on most talk radio shows is still in effect) but reviews seem decent. For $3.99 maybe it’s worth a gamble.