| Home | You are strong. You a… »

The Top 5 Reasons I Got Into Radio

There were a few role models I emulated, consciously or otherwise, when I first got into radio back in the mid-nineties.

There was "Chris in the Morning" for his diverse tastes and his seamless integration of philosophy into afternoon music broadcasts. He also did a serialized reading of "War and Peace" over the air. Plus, he rode a motorcycle and was a former criminal. If you knew me at the age of 20, you might have thought they had based this character on future Rob Callahan. (Or, perhaps, that I'd based my life and personality on a young Chris Stevens.)

There were Hines and Berglund. They did these great comedic bits that reminisced of the golden age of comedy, specifically of duos like Abbott and Costello, Laurel & Hardy or Jackie Gleason and Art Carney, but with a modern (for the times) sensibility. They also were not above debuting locally produced novelty songs like "Orono" (a parody of the Beach Boys' "Kokomo") and "Kissing a Ghoul" (George Michael's "Kissing a Fool") and giving air to such other inexplicable hits as "Doctorin' the Tardis" and "They're Totally Nude". So, yeah, if I'd ever had an on air partner we'd probably have sounded like these guys.

Then there was Casey Kasem, who not only delivered the week's Top 40 hits, but did so while providing background and trivia about the performers, or occasionally about the song's subject. When "Ghostbusters" was #1, for instance, he did a brief recap of some of the most famous ghosts of all time. He's the sole reason I was terrified of the Flying Dutchman as a child. During my spots as a guest host on Al Neff's "Into the Music" program, this is the guy I was channeling. He was also the voice of Shaggy, and there's no topping that.

Decades before Tom Bernard became a morning radio powerhouse by adopting the clueless mean old bigot persona for which he's known today, his morning show was smart, topical and hilarious. The bits back then included mock interviews with celebrity impersonators, social commentary that went after everyone, really bizarre crank calls and sketch comedy with which no one else could've gotten away. The KQ Morning Show was the Cracked.com of it's day. Bernard and the KQ Morning Crew were what every other "morning zoo" in the country aspired to be. Now they're just a kind of dumb, angry parody of themselves, but they really were great once.

In my book, though, none of those guys holds a candle to Dr. Demento, who earlier today personally beseeched me to stay deeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee-mented! Having now had that conversation with one of the greats, I can say with reasonable certainty that my life is complete.