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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.