Songs On The Radio

My first paid job in radio was in 1976 at a station in the San Francisco Bay Area. On my Saturday morning shift, I did a “Swap Shop” program where people could call in if they had something they wanted to sell. When there was no caller, we played an instrumental tune, mostly to let people know we were still on the air. (I heard another station with such a program, and there was just silence if there were no callers.) The tune we usually played was More Today Than Yesterday by Howard Roberts.

Call in now!

During the week, the announcer would play his last record of the previous hour and read the news. A minute or so of Howard Roberts would play as the announcer got his next record ready. On Saturday, I did things differently. For my first record after Swap Shop I would play a 45. My last song of the previous hour would be from an album. I would put the 45 into the recess of the platter and put the LP on top of it. When the song was over, I played the ID and the news intro, during which time I took the LP off and quickly cued the 45. Then, when the news was over, I started Howard Roberts and got right into Swap Shop. I thought it sounded much more professional.

Another tune that was used as a theme song of sorts was one from a 1968 album by band leader Pat Williams. Our sports director used it as the theme for any sports programming we did. The name of that tune was Bubbles Was A Cheerleader.

I did hear the whole song once on KSFO. (The tune in question begins at 23:42 — for some reason the “begin at” function is not working.)

Sometimes my record-cuing prowess let me down. One time I was going to play the song The Rain, The Park, And Other Things by the Cowsills. The song starts off with the sound of a rain shower. I was going to play it off an album, and the song was the first cut on that side.

The rain stopped.

I put the tonearm on the record and turned the platter. I heard the sound of a storm, so I backed the record up. When airtime came, I played the jingle before the song and started the turntable.

Instead of cuing to the rain at the beginning of the song, I had cued the record to the rumble just inside the lip of the record. Four or five seconds later, the rain sound effect began. Oh well.

1976 seemed to be a year for old music. One song that made it to number 7 on the Billboard chart that year was a ten-year old album cut, finally released as a single, from the Beatles Revolver album, Got To Get You Into My Life.

Ten years to number 7.

A good friend of mine was mine was moving from California to New York that summer. Just before she moved, I knew she would be listening. I said goodbye to her over the radio by playing another song from 1966 on it’s second release as a single. While You Didn’t Have To Be So Nice made it to #10 in 1966, it did not chart in 1976.

Goodbye

There was another record re-released in 1976 — Daydream Believer by the Monkees. I once heard the composer of that song, John Stewart — formerly of the Kingston Trio, explain that the song was about the captain of the high school football team who married the homecoming queen. A few years down the road, they realize that their glory days were behind them — but they also realized that they were still very much in love and very happy.

There is still hope.

One day I was going to relate that meaning of the song, but I remembered seeing the engagement announcement in the local newspaper about the captain of the football team and the homecoming queen from my high school graduating class. Something told me not to go say anything.

Three years later I was attending the five-year reunion of my high school class. I was sitting at a table in the back of the room with my date. The football captain came and sat down and started talking with us. The captain and I knew each other, but we never really associated with each other outside of class. He was drinking a beer and had a sad air about him. A few minute later, the homecoming queen walked in with another guy.

I am still glad I did not explain that meaning of that song I played on the radio that evening in 1976.

2 thoughts on “Songs On The Radio”

  1. That’s how we did it in the old days as well. Often the felt was loose so we could hold it instead of the disk when slip starting.

    1. Don’t know if I ever worked with a loose felt, but I have worked with a few that looked like the middle of a grass football field after a game during a heavy rainstorm.

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