My Cardboard Box

Sunday afternoon Radio

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Obligatory radio image.Weekend radio has always been interesting. Local radio that is, not the corporate stations. The digitally downloaded music program is always present at the latter. At the local station, the regular jock or ‘personality’ has time off. But the rule that the airway must be never made not-empty must be maintained*. In the pre-seventies Back East, before corporate ownership, that might mean polkas on Saturday afternoon, Italian opera on Sunday morning and in the seventies, French-Canadian country music afterwards.

Most times now one gets stuck with syndicated, processed ‘McMeh’, like “Top 40 in ’65”, voiced over by some old guy with a still mellifluous voice (sorta) from his closet studio. Sometimes it’s community radio, the aural predecessor of the long-gone local cable show. That’s where you get to hear gems like the host ranting about speeders, until it gets pointed out by a caller that the host was seen getting a ticket for just that not less than a month before.

Cut to commercial…

The local station, not the college semi-commercial one, really tries. Saturdays are for the retired or washed-out radio-jocks, the guys who long to put on the uniform just one more time and can do it on local radio. Or the kid who fills in between the radio station’s ‘live’ broadcast from some merchant’s parking lot or a car show or “waste collection event”. I say ‘live’, because the radio personality usually phones a in three minute speech (“We’re here for the grand re-opening of the Nanking Nails Swamp Cooler Service store” for play five minutes later.

Sunday morning features pastor’s sermons from a handful of local churches, including the religious-corporate one (which has two stations of its own). An hour or two of what passes for Christian music, slowly morphing into a couple of hours of ‘safe’ pop music. Just the stuff for the christian teen get-togethers after the service.

Then comes the afternoon.

Sunday afternoon radio in the Mojave is… eclectic. You can hear the ghosts of Old FM of the type that still gets played by a station in Palms Springs; easy listening followed by rockabilly, followed by jazz, followed by a crooner long-dead. One guy, probably the janitor, plays whatever he feels like playing for a couple of hours. No voice overs and the station call-sign is canned. Then a more professional yet wide-ranging and just as offbeat syndicated show, albeit by a guy with local ties of a sort (a L.A. weekender with a cabin in the eastern wastelands).

Late Sunday afternoon is Sheer Pretension. This is the time for Joshua Tree’s “music culture’s finest” to to preen, ‘showcase’ their work, and engage in a mutual, er, back-patting festival. There’s a good and somewhat stereotyped reason they’re on in the late afternoon – they’re musicians. One of the announcers had to fill in on the Saturday morning gardening show with the gardening expert and was… incoherent. But the duo here are conscious and try to give the show the aura of two musical dudes just sitting around talking about the ‘local scene’. You can almost picture them sliding down out of their seats. They, or rather the engineer, play mostly-mediocre music, give shout-outs to other local musicians, try to string five words together, et cetera. It brings back my days as a roadie in college, minus the cases of Heineken and the groupies on the tour bus**.

* That’s for another post.
** Same with that one


Written by PappyBro

October 23, 2011 at 15:07

Posted in Music, The Mojave

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