Sunday, June 24, 2007

On Having Malaria For Many Years

It all began at WICC, the largest station in the market, where I began in the news department. But I could spin discs with the best of them and splice tape better than the best of them. That was 48 years ago; I was 17 and hungrier for radio than food.

We were on 24 hours/day, which was somewhat unusual at the time. We also had an FM side, which was definitely new and, like all stations at that time, mono; stereo FM had not been invented yet.

Part of my job involved monitoring shortwave radio stations from a handful of countries, tape recording their news broadcasts and, if there was anything of interest for us, editing the specific item down to 30-45 seconds for air.

FM was all-jazz: records, tapes, in-studio interviews, live shows from Bridgeport night spots. All this from a studio which was probably far less than 10 feet by 10 feet.

Later, I cultivated my older, “classical music” voice at another small outlet which broadcast to a rather sophisticated location. Years afterward, I told my students, “The only thing that matters is what comes out of the speaker.” Here, and another one or two places, were the embodiment of that teaching; horrible dumps, but I treated each and its programming with dignity. The cockroaches and rats never cared.

From day one, I had caught “Radio Malaria”; it would never be out of my blood. Some people get over it, others are lucky and die with a microphone in their hands.


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