How Radio Was (Back In The Day)

I've been listening to some YouTube "videos" (not really videos) of some old vinyl/cds that were released some years back. They were records of "radio broadcasts", simulated with actual DJs from back in the day, from the years 1955-1970. Here is a sample cover, covering the year 1962 (the year I was born):

Cruisin62cover_jpg_medium

via leemichaelwithers.tripod.com

The covers were all done by artist Mike Royer, probably best known these days as the principal 70s inker/letterer for comic creator Jack Kirby. Each cover represented the year the record dealt with. As for the music, it was principally top 40 from the predominant AM stations (when AM stations were actually playing music instead of talk shows). And the DJs were authentic, covering local news and events, and of course, since ad revenue paid the bills, you'd have those, often created (in the early days, at least) by the on-air staff.

Now here's an example of this, from the Cruisin' '70 album:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VDrDBSELWvE&feature=relmfu

(Hopefully I did that right)

This example is the typical style we would hear when I was 8 years old, in 1970. Throughout the 70s and 80s I would listen to radio and we'd have the radio station's DJs be totally engaged to the local scene. If there was a high school ball game going on, you'd expect to hear about the score when it ended. If there was a concert going on, they'd tell you when and what venue. You'd have a playlist of course, but often you could request a song and get it played.

I can think of songs and groups that were popularized by local DJs accepting requests. "Beth" by KISS was probably that group's biggest 70s hit, yet it was originally a B-Side on the 45 RPM record it was released on, so requests to the local radio station gave it the exposure it needed to become that big hit. The group Rush will soon celebrate it's 45th anniversary. They first got big in the US, primarily because a Cleveland OH radio station promoted them locally, and word spread.

The reason I am typing about this, is that it has been a long, long time since I wanted to listen to the radio. Pretty much the only time I do so willingly, is because the electric may have gone out. And when I do, I get the same crap on virtually every station. Talk Radio. Talk Radio. The same five songs, played over and over. Playlists provided from some corporate entity to be played the same way nationwide. Local requests? Fugghettaboutit.

Around here (Columbus OH) the closest we get to local news is 610AM (WTVN), and even with that, when we lost our electric for 19 hours back in June, as many as 600,000 people lost power, yet they had virtually no usable information so we could deal with the situation, unless "usable information" was listening to that blowhard Rush Limbaugh prattle on uselessly.

I can understand why many people do not listen to the radio in this day and age. As much music as you want is available in a variety of ways, on-line, through your Iphones or Android devices, even (gasp) from a store on CD. So if you can carry around a device that allows you to have thousands of songs at your fingertips, why would anyone want to listen to a relic from a bygone age?

I dunno. Perhaps, by listening to these YouTube spots or my own vinyl record collection, I can remember when, even though they weren't 100% happy days (too much war, rioting and killing when I was a kid to be like Happy Days for me), but sometimes, it just seems that way, and even though I am more tech-savvy than many of my peers, sometimes I just want to relax, and force the pace down a little slower.