Sunday, May 20, 2012

Catching up

Gentle readers, I apologize for not posting my usual weekly blog last week. That weekend was pretty busy; last Saturday was our Goddaughter’s wedding day and we were tied up in all the festivities on Friday and Saturday and spent all day Sunday catching up all the tasks that we do around the house normally on Saturday. Not the least of which was to rest up from all the activity. I was honored to be the DJ at the reception and that meant setting up and tearing down all the equipment a DJ uses at a reception. We had a great time and it was fun to watch all the folks out there on the dance floor and occasionally out there myself. By the end of the day, my tuxedo needed a thorough cleaning.

Meet Megan Sluder, the Bride. I was pleased that the bride and groom’s playlist included a healthy chunk of music from the 50s and 60s as well as some of the more modern hits. I even got to see them dance to “The Wobble”, now that was really something. I say “them dance” but it was really the young women and girls that dance while the boys and young men stand around and watch. That is pretty much the biggest change from “our day” when boys and girls got out there and danced the night away. It really amuses me that these days the girls get on the dance floor and wiggle while the boys stand around with drinks in their hands and ogle.

Speaking of the music of the 50s and 60s, my Monday morning radio show on WUSC-FM here in Columbia has undergone some changes. I have been doing a blues and soul show every week for some time now. Recently the last station playing “Oldies” moved to a 70s and 80s format leaving the market quiet for the songs of our times. Station management asked me if I would consider changing format to fill in the void. As much as I love the music of that era, I did not want to stop the work I have been doing with classic soul and blues singers to keep their music alive so we compromised with a new show, “50s, 60’s and Soul”.

This is Katherine, the DJ on the show before mine. This has given me a chance to dig even deeper into the music of our day and I am lovin’ it. I am playing everything from Perry Como, Doris Day and Debbie Reynolds to the British Invasion! In my opinion, our music was much more diverse than the pop music of today. Remember Bo Diddley and Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis and The Coasters? They are all fair game for my new show format and I am really having a good time bringing it all back again. I am doing the show, “old school” style, with fast paced short duration patter, lots of production elements and maintaining the feel good mood that we had on the radio back in the 60s. The other DJs in the station have not heard anything like it and many are intrigued by the diversion from the block announcing style that has been de rigueur on the radio for the past 20 years. I love having them hang out with me in the control room where we can chat about all the changes in radio that have occurred over the years. Some of them want to learn how to do “old school” and I am more than glad to teach them.

A control room full of people is a happy control room. The look and feel of radio control rooms has changed significantly over the years, but the camaraderie of the “pilots of the airwaves” has not changed. It is so good to know that there are young people with a fire in the belly for the same thing that made me glad to come to work every day back in the day. So if you tune me in on Mondays from 9 AM until Noon Eastern time, don’t be surprised if you hear another voice on the air with me, digging the old style. For those of you in Columbia, the station is at 90.5 on the FM dial and WUSC.SC.EDU on the web for those of you who are not.

So as I write this, my mind is already thinking of all those songs we danced to at the parties and the proms back in the day. I remember the RCA Victrola on the garage floor surrounded by my classmates shuffling 45 rpm records around while the rest of us danced to “Why Must Teenagers Fall in Love” or “Blue Suede Shoes” or “Venus in Blue Jeans” or “Lipstick on Your Collar”. Wow, that could be the start of tomorrow’s show! Oh MY!

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