Wednesday, May 4, 2022

A Minute at Midnight


Once upon a time, radio was just about all live and all local.

When I started at WARM 590 in 1981, we were playing music, with a live personality, around the clock.  Kids, you missed a great time in the industry.  After several months on the weekend overnight shift, playing the religious and public affairs shows, I was pressed in to service to be the overnight DJ on an interim basis.  That shift was a revolving door for a while, and one of the people who had it was battling an illness.

The evening guy would end his show at midnight.  We would run five minutes of AP Network News, and by the way, the Associated Press had an awesome audio network at one time.  The newscast would end and be followed by a one minute recorded segment provided by the Christophers, a Christian inspirational group.

The voice of the Christophers was Father John Catoir, and I'm searching for the words to describe the piece.  Yes, it was religion based, but it wasn't over the top.  No matter what religion you followed, even if you had none, these pieces were non offensive.  The goal was to inspire, and they really hit the mark.  Father Catoir had a wonderfully pleasing, soothing, yet authoritative voice.  Even though I was picking up my music and grabbing my commercial material, I always took the time to listen and pay attention.

Occasionally, I would be a scamp and choose a record with a long instrumental intro, like Toto's "Africa" and "Love Will Find a Way" by Pablo Cruise, and start the song beneath Father Catoir as he was wrapping up.  Station management never caught me, and the statute of limitations has run out.  It was not an attempt to be disrespectful, but rather an effort to get back to the music just a little faster.

Father John Catoir died April 7.  He was 90.

I'm sure Father Catoir inspired millions over the years and he provided a nice start to the morning for some kid in a radio studio, all alone, in Avoca, PA

Thank you.