Friday, April 11, 2008

I Wonder...
...why nobody ever listened to my radio show. As I mentioned, I am going through my old cassettes and transferring them to a medium that I'll be able to listen to (and getting rid of many dubbed cassettes that are in such bad condition that I can't really even listen to them). As I do so, I have been listening to some of the "mix tapes" (if you're under age 30, just smile and nod your head) and I came across some of the tapes of the "DJ Jazzy Brian and the Fresh Pancake" WNUR radio show. Not only were our shows on between 2 and 4 am, but they were simply awful. You never knew what kind of horrible music we were going to play. Probably because we never knew what kind of horrible music we were going to play.

Set list:
Dead Kennedys (they ranked two songs)
Aztec Camera (on 45 instead of 33, doing a Van Halen cover)
Atilla the Stockbroker
Beastie Boys
Depth Charge
Burl Ives
The Toy Dolls (with an Elvis cover tune)
DJ Quick
Ronald Reagan (spoken word)
Ella Fitzgerald
Sesame Street Theme
Public Enemy/Ice-T "medley"

(+ multiple playing of a short portion of a public service announcement; I think we were supposed to play the whole thing)

That coupled with inane and sleepy-sounding stupid DJ banter... I can't see why people weren't staying up all night to listen to our show. Or why the only calls we got were from drunks or stoners. Doesn't make any sense.


Our radio show's advertising policy was something like this: if you happened to tune in between 2-4 on a certain night, you could hear the show. Otherwise, forget about it. Oh, and we didn't have much of a broadcast range anyway.

We played music that we liked and that we wanted to hear, and if you didn't like it, you were free to call in a request that would be ignored.

We bantered in ways that the two of us generally thought was at least somewhat humorous (it was funnier at 3 am than in the day), and if you didn't like it, there were plenty of other stations on the radio. We lampooned characters made "famous" by better radio personalities (if my brother and his friends qualify as "better") in the past - if you hadn't heard their shows, or even the combined show that I did with my brother with "Pancake" as our apprentice, then you missed out on why they were funny. We used insider terminology where we were the only insiders...

Why does this matter? Why does it even merit a blog post?

Because this is often the way Christians deal with their faith and with church. If you happen to show up in their church building at the right time of the day on the right day of the week, you might be able to "tune in."

We play music that is accessible to church people. Only. Besides the obvious point (the instrumentation, which I really don't have as much an issue with as one might think), try reading the lyrics of some favorite hymns - but read them with an outsider's mentality. It can be quite difficult. And try shouting out "FREEBIRD" in a church service sometime and see if the worship band stops and plays it for you.

We use a lot of "Christianese" and insider terminology in the church. I remember once when the Appalachia Service Project was brought up in a former church (great ministry, by the way) - we always used its initials: ASP. So anyway, someone saw it and immediately thought of this.

And all the while, just like "Pancake" and I - as long as we're "on the air" we think we're being successful...


Anonymous said...

Hey! "Someone listened to your HIGH SCHOOL radio programs regularly! That "someone" would have loyally listened to your college ones. And I do remember hearing a couple when I was there, er, I mean "someone" was there.

The Thief said...

Yeah, but you're "anonymous" - which I take to mean that you're embarrassed that you listened to my radio show.

Oh, and my WHSK show was infinitely cooler than my WNUR. Except when I played NOFX and Depth Charge on WNUR. That was pretty cool.

Then again, on WHSK I always played music exclusively from my personal collection...

The Sister said...

I confess that I attempted to listen to the tapes of your radio show (or it might have been the ones with your brother), and I 1) couldn't handle the music and 2) thought the banter was, er, weird.
Except the one when Pancake was broadcasting live "from" New Madrid in expectation of the Big Earthquake. That one was kind of funny.

The Thief said...

Sister: 1. I can't handle the music anymore either, and 2. The banter is barely listenable, not simply "weird." It's frankly embarrassing. But maybe it made sense at 3:00 am in college?