But DJ's live on and on.
What is it about radio that seems to imply that it will always be here? No matter how old radio gets as a medium, no matter how advanced video and CGI and VH1MTV2CMTGAC and all that guff gets there's still something about sitting in your room with the radio playing, or the morning commute with the morning guy (or gal) giving you the news and weather. I think a big part of it is that we all know that in most cases (unless your local station is automated) there actually IS a guy or gal sitting up in some studio somewhere in front of a console with stacks of CDs arranged around, or maybe just some big wooden racks full of vinyl and a couple of old turntables. Either way they're there; taking requests, following a playlist, or just keeping you company in the midst of your morning drive, your late shift, or simply a long sleepless night, talking to your heart with their voice over the radiowaves.
Every Friday morning our local pop station does a Friday Flashback, hosted by a Dynamic Duo called "Ron And Riley," and they play nothing but requested songs from the 80's and early 90's for a couple of hours. It's a lot of fun, a nice break for me from NPR, and being a child of the 80's I get to relive those halcyone days when all I had to do was ride around in my old truck and listen to synthesizers and sax solos, imagining girls with big, winged back hair and leather body suits driving around in a Lamborgini looking for nerdy guys with center-parted hair and glasses. Me and Vulgar Wizard and Adrenaline Junkie have a lot of fun in the office during those two hours, yelling at each other up and down the halls when a particularly good song comes on, or when we recognise a request from a certain ex-coworker who shall remain nameless.
Except for the moniker "Mighty Mighty Thick Suet Boy."
And of course we spend the entire morning bombarding poor Ron with phone calls, emails, and faxes, after having spent the entire previous day beating our heads together trying to come up with that perfect 80's song. And if we're lucky, or say just the right thing, we end up on the radio, to the cheers (and jeers) of the other people in the office who really want to hear THEIR voices on the radio.
So what is it in these days of instant communication, webcams (and camwhores,) podcasting and video communications that's so magical not only about your local DJ but about hearing your voice on the radio? As often as I've heard my own voice on Talkies Tuesday and over intercoms and recorded here and there I still get a grin out of hearing myself on the radio, requesting One Night In Bangkok from Murray Head or Rythymn of Love from Yes.
All I can assume is that radio instills the feeling of a one-on-one between you and the DJ. It's such a strangely intimate thing, and mixed with music it has a powerful emotional strength that we sometimes take for granted. Every other medium seems to be, strangely enough, public. Very public. And even though radio reaches as many people in a day as email and video conferencing and all that good stuff, they all seem to lack that sense of intimacy, that tete' a tete' that radio brings. And hearing YOUR voice on the radio meshed with that faceless voice out of your speakers gives us a real validation, a feeling that we really ARE someone, since our voice was right there just a moment ago, and for a brief few seconds we were up in that steel and glass broadcast tower, spinning the platters that matter.