Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Radio Journeys

I made some mistakes as a DJ. While on the air. Here are a few of them...

When I first came to New York it was to be a disc jockey on WAPP. It was a big station at the time and I was part of a team in the morning, the other half being E.J. Crummey.

So we're on the air one day, about to play Street Fighting Man by the Rolling Stones, and I say, "You know, there isn't an electric guitar in this song. It's all acoustic guitar." Why I said that I don't know and E.J. was incredulous.  That's not true was followed by yes it is and then we played the song.

For a while I was right and then...

Here it came, an electric guitar along with the mud on my face. Go listen and see. You'll hear I was wrong.

It's one thing to be wrong in front of one person, it's another being wrong in front of thousands of them.

You want more?

I'd just gotten to Detroit and was jazzed to be in a market that big. I'd come there from Baltimore and went from the high teens in market size to the then number four city.

I was on the air reading a tag for a store that included a local avenue. That street is spelled Gratiot. It's pronounced Grash-it. I'd never heard of it and pronounced it Gray-tee-ott. Oh, the phone lines lit up and was I taken to the woodshed. "Where you from?" was the first question. The listener said, "It's Grash-it @#%." I said, "I'm sorry." "I'll bet you are," he continued, "Now play me some Skynyrd."

As Popeye said, "You live and you loin."

Another time, again in New York this time at WNEW-FM I was playing what is now my favorite Zeppelin song, Over the Hills and Far Away. You know how it goes. You also know it has a false ending and the song comes back and that's the end. I know it now, I didn't know it then and played the next song.

Before it ended.

Boy people were up-set.

As Popeye said...

Once in Chicago at WLUP-The Loop I was playing The Long Run by The Eagles and talking to my girlfriend on the phone. No big deal, right?  I wasn't paying close attention to what was going on as I was paying close attention to her.

And then it happened.

We were playing records then and as I turned to put the next one down I hit the turntable arm and up in the air it went. The needle bounced a few times on the record and ended up on another song.

All this as I was on.the.air.

I hung up, fast, on my girlfriend and just stared at the hotline knowing my program director would call.

To fire me.

He never did.

Lucky, lucky, lucky.

The old saying, "Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good."

And those are a few mistakes I made.

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