Radio Waves: 11/10/17

My Turn on The Sound

I’ve been talking with Dave Beasing, programmer of The Sound, about doing either a My Turn segment on the station for almost as long as the station has been on the air. For various reasons we never did it, until last month just after the announcement that the station was being sold. Honestly, neither of us knew it would ever air when it was recorded in early October when I visited the station, due to the station’s impending sale and unknown format-change date.

It aired last Sunday.

The plan was right up my alley: a tribute to some of the stations we loved but are no longer with us: KHJ (930 AM) as a top-40 station, the Mellow Sound of KNX-FM (now KCBS-FM, 93.1), The Mighty Met KMET (now KTWV, 94.7 FM), KLOS (95.5 FM), KNAC (now KBUA, 105.5 FM) and The Sound itself.

Admittedly, the KLOS segment could be considered a roast, as kids say today, since KLOS is most certainly still on the air. As Johnny Fever announced on CBS-Television’s WKRP in Cincinnati, “how can I miss you if you won’t go away,” but this was actually meant as a tribute to the KLOS of the mid-1970s and what it played as it competed against KMET.

My plan was to play songs representative of each station’s heydays, which for the most part I think came out OK. For KHJ the songs were This Diamond Ring (Gary Lewis and the Playboys) and I’m Just a Singer (Moody Blues); for KNX-FM they were Fire and Rain (James Taylor) and Who Can it Be Now (Men at Work); and the KMET songs were D’yer Mak’er (which I still pronounced wrong in spite of practicing, by Led Zeppelin) and Rock and Roll Never Forgets (Bob Seger), one of the last songs played on KMET before it left the air in 1987.

For KLOS I chose Bungle in the Jungle (Jethro Tull) and Jamie’s Cryin’ (Van Halen), two songs I heard often on the station … the former at Clear Creek Camp and the latter in electronics shop at San Pedro High. And finally, for KNAC I “cheated” and used a song from my son’s band that would have fit were it still on the air, Misdirect (Divine Intervention). The finale was Zeppelin’s Ten Years Gone, a song that just seems to fit The Sound’s ten-year existence.

As I said, I think the songs fit fairly well. But as Sound DJ Cynthia Fox — a KMET alumnus — pointed out, “one of the outstanding aspects of KMET was playing deeper tracks by the bands the fans loved; it established our credibility as true music fans. So with Led Zeppelin, you’d hear deeper album tracks like The Rover, In the Light, Bron Y Aur, Tangerine, That’s the Way, How Many More Times, No Quarter, and on and on. D’yer Mak’er … not so much emphasis there!!”

Interestingly, I chose the song because it was included in an old KMET air check I was listening to before the show was recorded. But in hindsight, she’s right … not the best choice to showcase KMET.

Regardless, it was a blast to do, fun (for me) to hear, and if you heard it, I hope you enjoyed it. It is programs and attitudes like this that help set The Sound apart from the crowd; I sincerely hope that someday, somehow, some time, The Sound can return. We really need stations like this: stations with soul. Stations that treat listeners with respect and try to be at least a little different. Or, as Cynthia Fox calls it, intelligent radio. Thank you, Dave Beasing, for letting this all happen.

War not over?

It seems that some of you remember the War of the Worlds differently than what has become the modern version of the story … you were indeed led to believe that martians had landed.

“Living in Long Beach, and finishing the dishes in the kitchen with my sister and mother, we were listening to the program and really thought it was happening! We ran into the living room and my father told us to stay seated together in the living room while he went throughout the house, getting my brother and other sister so we could all stay close together in the living room!

Peggy Folger Miller wrote to tell this: “My uncle who also lived in Long Beach, married but with no children, called us and told us to stay put and he would come over to protect us. He had served in both the Army and Navy and thought we needed his experience in a time like this. The next day, it was the talk of the neighborhood and school as everyone wanted to share their stories of fright.

“If we had lived in New Jersey, boy, we would have run someplace!!  (If memory serves me correctly, I think it was New Jersey or thereabouts where the Martians landed.) Sorry; it was no myth in our part of town.”

Former programmer and DJ Chuck Southcott tells this: “Steve Allen told me in one of our many interviews and guest disc-jockey airings that he and his mother were two victims of the show in that he recalled, as a teenager, hearing “Worlds” with his mother in a hotel room in Chicago. Not hearing the intro explaining it was a drama, they were totally fooled. In fact, they ran out of the hotel screaming and looking for others who were as frightened as they.

“When they soon discovered that “life was continuing normally,” they sheepishly returned to their hotel. Steve said he didn’t recall ever being that frightened in his life.”

But agreeing with the new view on the panic – that most of the panic was brought on by the newspapers of the day, is Lynn Burgess, who says, “I was an 11 year old listening to our evening radio in Manhattan, NYC when the program came on. My then 10 year old brother and I listened to the radio station’s mystery broadcasts weekly. The week previously, the “War of the Worlds” was announced, therefore it was no surprise to us. We were surprised by the fuss that followed! Jersey farmers running around with pitchforks for defense. Really?

“At age 90, remembering. Radio was a great form of entertainment … letting us use our imagination and stretching our minds.”