Radio Daze Part 3

I’ve previously posted a couple of audio clips from my 97X radio days. Here’s another gem (and by “gem” we mean “not completely painful to listen to”). It’s a commercial for a Cincinnati record store called Everybody’s Records. They advertised on 97X for the entire duration of the station’s existence, and are still around today, 40 years after they first opened their doors.

This commercial features three 97X legends… and me. Julie Maxwell, Rictile and Dave each spent several years at the station and are still remembered fondly by the small but mighty listener base. They’re all great broadcasters, and even better people. Rictile is still gracing the airwaves, albeit under his real name, at Vermont Public Radio. Julie and Dave work in advertising – as do quite a few other 97X expats.

This particular commercial was about 48 seconds long – at a free-form station like 97X, we didn’t have to adhere to strict timing guidelines. And the few advertisers that we did have gave us a lot of creative leeway in creating the commercials (as witnessed by my lame Grandpa Simpson impersonation in this particular ad).

The art vs. commerce scale tilted heavily toward the art side. We were a bunch of wacky kids, and the production studio was our playpen. We had tons of fun coming up with ideas and creating the spots… despite the fact that the recording equipment was a million miles away from state-of-the-art.

Our equipment was only slightly better than this.

Like Julie and Dave, I too segued from radio to advertising, and our time at 97X was our “10,000 hours” in Malcolm Gladwell parlance.

One of the things I miss most about my radio days is doing wacky character voices. You don’t get many opportunities in the real world to bust into a Bob Dylan, Snoop Dogg or Fabio impersonation. Well, I suppose you can, but your family, friends and co-workers might think you’re crazy. And they may be right.






6 thoughts on “Radio Daze Part 3

  1. Considering I was the last Production Director of 97X (among other things…) of course I have to comment on this.

    We had that old-as-hell four-track reel-to-reel (look it up, kids) when I got there (right when you left), and then it was replaced with an 8-track a couple of years later. WOO HOO!

    Circa 2000ish we went digital with an actual computer in the production studio, and it was marvelous – but the commercials still went onto carts because we were analog in the main studio. We alleviated some of this use by adding a 3rd CD player in the main studio and burning promos/liners/sweeper CD’s. But all the way up until the end, we had cart players in the studio for the commercials.

    For the uninitiated, “carts” were basically 8-track cassettes with some differences.

    The one thing we did keep up until the end was that creative spirit.

    Good times.

  2. You are cutting yourself short. You were also a fine wall painter as witnessed at 97X. You were the definition of “Jack” of all trades.

    • Thanks Andi! One of the best things about working at 97X was the chance to meet super-cool listeners like you. The bond forged by the music we loved will never be broken.

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