Monday, January 9, 2023

40 and Out


I don't remember the exact date, but it was right around this time of year, 40 years ago.  I did my last shift on my college radio station, WVMW-FM.

You earned credits by putting in hours at the radio station, and there was a minimum requirement.  I didn't mind.  In fact, I loved it.  I played the music I wanted to play, rock, and there was plenty of freedom back in the day.  I really miss that.

So, if I loved it, why did I walk away five months before graduation?  By the time January of 1983 rolled around, I was putting in a lot of time in a job that payed at WARM-AM 590.  The time for college radio just wasn't there.

My solution was to work every shift I could get my hands on during Christmas break at Marywood.  I was scheduled for two a week, and I filled in for everyone who asked.  I had accumulated more than my minimum hours before the spring semester started, so I pulled the plug.

Many classmates asked me to fill in during the spring semester.  I always declined. My time was up.

I went through phases at WVMW.  At first, I didn't talk much.  As I became more comfortable, I talked more, probably too much.  Way too much.  There were nights the FM album rock station sounded like an AM full service radio station.  There was method to the madness.  I was there to learn, to push myself, to better myself.  I couldn't do it by segueing from one song into another and doing the "that was...  this is..." routine.  It's something many college radio stations have forgotten about.  They exist to train broadcasters.  Yes, following tight formats is a skill, but becoming a juke box serves no one.

As I recall, that last show in January 1983 was really nothing special.  I had settled in to a happy medium.  I wasn't talking as much as I once did, but I still did yammer on once in a while.  My last song was "The Stranger" by Billy Joel, which was also the first song I played on WVMW in December of 1979.  There is no real significance to that.  I love the song.  I love the album.  Still do.  My last words, "God bless us, everyone."

All's well that ends well, and this ended well.