‘Extended’ Version of Genesis Flopped
Sure enjoyed Joe Lasmane’s article “How About a Little Bathroom Humor” in the Jan. 2 issue of Radio World:
As a former “rock jock,” I remember those days. For me, the fun of being on the air kind of went away when we went to computer automation and you no longer pulled LPs, CDs and carts.
No more pride in a great “beat-on-beat” segue, and a lot of looking at a computer screen and waiting for the opportunity to say something (hopefully witty, clever or at least “not dumb”).
Though I’m sure the list could go on and on, I had to add a few more “bathroom songs”:
“Alice’s Restaurant Massacree” (also known as just “Alice’s Restaurant”) by Arlo Guthrie. This was an interesting song, but you could probably only get away with using it on a classic rocker — or on Thanksgiving Day.
“The End” by The Doors — Man, what a downer song. But at more than 10 minutes long, it was bathroom time.
There’s “Sun King Medley” by the Beatles, comprising “Sun King,” “Mean Mr. Mustard,” “Polythene Pam” and “She Came In Through the Bathroom Window” (almost apropos for the topic). What a great group of songs that sweep into each other.
And so many more …
Of course, on “the flip side” (pun intended), you would never want to play “The Letter” by The Box Tops (even for a run to the pop machine), because you had less than two minutes to accomplish anything!
And on the classic rock side, the acapella “Mercedes Benz” by Janis Joplin was the shortest (never “walk the ramp,” since she talks about “doing a song of great political and social import”).
By the way, “Mercedes Benz” segueing into “Love Stinks” by J. Geils Band was a great mix!
Finally, in 1985, in the earliest days of CDs, I made the fatal mistake of thinking a CD could never skip. I was working at WONE(FM) in Akron/Cleveland/Canton (which was sister station with WAKR 1590 radio and WAKR TV-23).
It was about 3 a.m. and snowing outside.
I started the song “Mama” by Genesis, then headed down the hall to look at the color weather radar in the TV control room. The song was 6:49, so I had plenty of time.
I did something I rarely would do, and that was to turn down the control room monitor before I left (WAKR’s studio was right next door and I frequently “rocked too loud” and had complaints from “the neighbors”).
As I came back in (about 6 minutes later), I noticed all my phone lines flashing in unison (not common for “the weeee hours of the morning”) and looked at the countdown on the controller of our two Sony commercial CD players. The time said I had about 6:20 left, so I figured it just swept into the next song ... that is, until I turned up the control room monitor to hear “dadadadadadadadada.”
Apparently no sooner than I walked out of the control room, the CD locked in and was skipping on the air for six minutes!
Being a “good rock jock,” I swept into my next song with by “mixing” into it.
After that song faded, I back announced my set with the words “97.5, W-O-N-E with some Floyd, the extended version of ‘Mama’ by Genesis, and something new from Suzanne Vega.”
Then I started to answer the phones.
In short, most people did not like that extended version. I can say that I never, ever left the control room without an FM Walkman after that. I also never killed the control room monitor.
So, though the fun of being a jock is gone for me (with automation), at least the chance of “skipping CDs” and inattentive jocks has diminished.
Thanks to Joe for rekindling the old memories.
A One-Man Show
Responding to “How About a Little Bathroom Humor,” I was “the guy.”
In 1968, I did a two-week fill-in for a “one-man-band” guy: Phil Bailey at WMPI(FM) in Scottsburg, Ind.
Shift on-air from 6 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. No breaks. Just 30–60 minutes of uninterrupted “Noon News.”
Nothing worked in the control room. I repaired every item while on the air. There was a standing desk, but it was built 13 inches too high, even for me.
By Friday, the staff had designed a new desk, which I installed Friday night (midnight to 7 a.m.). This one was a sit-down desk and solved the problem with the 16-year-old kids who had to kneel on the stool to reach the mike.
Remote on both carts and turntables just below the Bauer eight-channel slide fader board ... and another set of remotes in the bathroom.