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300 Seconds Episode #117: “Radio”

NOTE: This is a transcript of a podcast for those with hearing difficulties, those that prefer to read, and those who would prefer to not hear the sound of my voice. 😉

Click here to listen to this episode! 

You are listening to ‘300 Seconds with Eduardo Soliz,’ and this is episode number 117, “Radio,” so let the 300 Seconds begin!

I consider myself blessed to be a part of Generation X.  I was born in the analog days of the seventies, grew up during the early digital age of the eighties, when video games and home computers were new, and saw the internet grow up in the 1990s from clunky beige PCs dialing up over phone lines to now being an indispensable part of modern life in the twenty-first century as we carry around our cell phones wherever we go.

Despite all the new super-awesome whiz-bang music technology that has come and gone over the years from cassette tapes to Walkmans to CDs to MP3 players to streaming services, I still have a soft spot for radio.

Back in the day, radio was where you went to hear the newest music.  If there was a particular song you really liked, you could use a tape recorder to catch it the next time it came on.  Hopefully you were there to press Record and hopefully the dee-jay didn’t blab over the beginning or the end of the song too much and hopefully your tape didn’t get chewed up by the player.  Ah, good times.

My mother had a radio in the kitchen when I was a kid.  I remember sitting nearby in the mornings watching her cooking breakfast while music played.  Years later, when I eventually bought a house, I also bought a radio for the kitchen.

My first car back in 1990 had a tape player that ended up being less than reliable so I spent my first years of college listening to local radio stations during my twenty-mile commute to school and back.  I particularly liked the oldies station; I remember listening to the morning DJs reading the local school lunch menus during my commute, peppering them with corny jokes and funny sound effects.  The radio in my car eventually quit working to the point where it would only pick up the AM dial and even then, there was only one country station that the thing would pick up reliably.  I don’t care much for country music, but they did play Paul Harvey in the afternoons during my drive home, so I got to hear a lot of Paul Harvey.  Good day.

It wasn’t until 2005 that I got a car with a CD player in it, so radio was my driving companion for a number of years, and over those years, I have noticed a few changes.  Like everything else in life, some of those changes have been good and others have been not so good. 

One trend that I liked was when stations started popping up that didn’t have DJs.  Jack-FM in San Antonio was the first one that I heard, and I’m pretty sure there is one in your neck of the woods, whether it’s called Jack or John or Bob or Sue or whatever one-syllable name they happen to give to it.  As much as I enjoyed the two guys on the oldies station back in the nineties, way too many DJs fill the airwaves with annoying blather that could be filled with music instead.  Yeah, I’ll switch over to the AM dial if I want to hear mindless yakking.  But, if there is one thing that AM radio is still good for, it’s sports.  I have spent many a Sunday listening to the Dallas Cowboys play on my drive home, and I have to say that listening to them suck is only slightly less painful than watching them suck on television.

Even though I have a USB drive loaded with my favorite radio hits of the 70s and 80s plugged into my vehicle, I still listen to radio for music on occasion, though it has become a bit harder as of late, and of course, commercials are to blame.

I get it.  Complaining about the number of commercials on the radio is like complaining about the weather:  You can’t do a whole lot about it so there really isn’t much point.  But, just like the weather, radio is getting worse:  You see, in order to play more commercials, you have to play less of something else, and kind of like how network TV shows became shorter over the years, radio stations have been trimming songs to make room for more commercials.  I mainly listen to stations that play of 80s and 90s music that I heard growing up, so when something is taken out of a song, I immediately notice.  Usually it’s something like a guitar solo, but I was legitimately upset the first time I heard Michael Jackson’s Thriller with the Vincent Price voiceover cut out.  Whomever made that decision needs to be fired…preferably from a cannon.  Radio, somebody still loves you, but we need to talk. 

This has been 300 Seconds with Eduardo Soliz, the next episode will be posted after I sign up for Pandora.  For more wonderfully weird and witty words written by me, visit Eduardo Soliz dot com, and I thank you for listening!  Be good, take care and God Bless.

 

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Christmas, list, MUSIC

My Favorite Christmas Songs 2020 #10

“A Winter’s Tale,” Queen, 1995.

This stream of consciousness ballad was written by Freddie Mercury as he looked outside the windows of various places in Montreux, Switzerland. The song was part of the album “Made in Heaven,” the last Queen album with Mercury, who died in 1991.

TRIVIA: In the video game Resident Evil 2, characters Chris and Claire Redfield sport jackets with “Made in Heaven” on the back.

Click here to listen to all the songs on YouTube!

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Christmas, list, MUSIC

My Favorite Christmas Songs 2020 #9

“The Man With All the Toys,” The Beach Boys, 1964.

Released on The Beach Boys Christmas Album, this yuletide tale is overshadowed somewhat by “Little Saint Nick” (which made my original list) but is a charming tune in its own right.

TRIVIA: A second Christmas album, “Merry Christmas from the Beach Boys,” was recorded for a 1978 release, but would be rejected by Warner Brothers Records.

Click here to listen to all the songs on YouTube!

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Christmas, list, MUSIC

My Favorite Christmas Songs 2020 #8

“My Christmas Wish,” Johnny Colla, 2020.

One of the founding members of Huey Lewis and The News (who’s a capella version of Winter Wonderland landed on 2015’s list), Colla has released two solo albums and gives us this peppy ode to holidays spent heartbroken, yet hopeful.

TRIVIA: Johnny co-wrote 80’s classics “The Heart of Rock and Roll,” “The Power of Love,” and “If This Is It.”

Click here to listen to all the songs on YouTube!

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Christmas, list, MUSIC

My Favorite Christmas Songs 2020 #7

“What Christmas Means to Me,” Stevie Wonder, 1967.

This classic was featured on Wonder’s “Someday at Christmas” album. I thought I had already added it to my list, but here it is now!

TRIVIA: Despite containing two songs that would go on to become holiday classics (with the title track being the other), “Someday At Christmas” failed to chart on its original release.

Click here to listen to all the songs on YouTube!

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Christmas, list, MUSIC

My Favorite Christmas Songs 2020 #6

“Merry Christmas Baby,” Otis Redding, 1968.

This R&B Christmas standard was originally recorded in 1947 by Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers featuring Charles Brown on vocals. Redding’s cover ups the tempo and adds a distinctive electric organ.

TRIVIA: Charles Brown would go on to sing the classic “Please Come Home for Christmas” in 1960.

Click here to listen to all the songs on YouTube!

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Christmas, list, MUSIC

My Favorite Christmas Songs 2020 #5

“Twistin’ Bells,” Santo and Johnny, 1960.

Just based on their names, I always thought this instrumental duo were Latinos, but brothers Santo Anthony Farina and John Steven Farina are Italians from Brooklyn. Their distinctive sound comes from Santo’s steel guitar.

TRIVIA: The beginnings of Santo and Johnny’s most famous song, “Sleep Walk,” came about when the brothers decided to work on music one sleepless night after a gig.

Click here to listen to all the songs on YouTube!

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Christmas, list, MUSIC

My Favorite Christmas Songs 2020 #4

“All Alone On Christmas,” Darlene Love, 1992.

When I first heard this song, I thought it was much older than it actually is. Come to my surprise, the song is was featured in the film Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. Darlene Love also recorded 1963’s Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) which is also one of my faves, and likely accounts for my confusion.

TRIVIA: Members of The E Street Band and The Miami Horns perform.

Click here to listen to all the songs on YouTube!

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Christmas, list, MUSIC

My Favorite Christmas Songs 2020 #3

“Same Old Lang Syne,” Dan Fogelberg, 1980

This is one of the few Christmas songs that is based on a true story. Dan Fogelberg bumped into an old flame sometime in the mid 1970s and the encounter inspired this song. Naturally, he took a few poetic liberties.

TRIVIA: The woman Dan bumped into is Jill Anderson Greulich, who told her side of the story in a December 2007 article following Fogelberg’s death from prostate cancer.

Click here to listen to all the songs on YouTube!

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Christmas, list, MUSIC

My Favorite Christmas Songs 2020 #2

“When Santa Claus Gets Your Letter,” Gene Autry with the Cass County Boys, 1950

The Singing Cowboy fills us in on what happens to all those letters that end up at the North Pole.

TRIVIA: The Cass County Boys were accordionist Fred Martin, guitarist Jerry Scoggins, and bassist Bert Dodson. The Boys regularly performed with Autry on his radio program “Melody Ranch” and appeared in several of Autry’s films and TV shows.

Click here to listen to all the songs on YouTube!

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