A tiny radio station that went off the air nearly 20 years ago, and shut down online in 2010, is “having a moment” as they say. It’s garnering all sorts of “ink” (as they used to call publicity) for rounding up more than 30 DJs who worked at the station to present a 40th anniversary of the signature “Modern Rock 500” countdown of the top modern rock/indie/alternative songs from their massive library o’ tunes. And author Robin James just released a new book (The Future of Rock & Roll: 97X and the Fight for True Independence) that chronicles the history of the station and why its independent spirit still matters today.
The press parade started back in March, when the press release for the Modern Rock 500 came out.
On May 11th, Robin did a book event at The Mercantile Library – co-hosted by Dave and yours truly. That gig was sold out… and an absolute blast!
Robin James was interviewed by Jason Cohen in the June issue of Cincinnati Magazine. (Editor John Fox is a longtime friend of the station – he used to appear on the air when he was editor of Everybody’s News and later Cincinnati CityBeat.)
The press coverage is nice… but honestly, this means more to us than anything else:
We’ve been able to reconnect with a small-but-mighty community through music. And that’s more precious than all the “ink” (or gold) in the world.
“From WOXY I learned it is important to support your local scene. If you care about independence, being creative and really having the ability for both yourself and for other people to innovate and do things that are new and different, then you would care about the story and example of WOXY.”
Robin James in the Journal News article by Don Thrasher linked above
If you’d like to tune in for yourself and find out what all the fuss is about, you can do so today and tomorrow from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (the Dolly Parton shift) on Inhailer Radio, and then again over the Memorial Day Weekend at that same spot on your internet radio dial!
“Weird Al” Yankovic has a biopic out called Weird. In true Weird Al fashion, it’s a parody of biopics. And of course it’s on a weird network (the Roku channel). Weirder still, Daniel Radcliffe plays Al.
I watched it last night. Pretty funny stuff. (One of the best running gags is that Al wrote an original song called “Eat it” and then Michael Jackson came out with “Beat it” as a parody of that.)
Here’s one of the opening scenes, poking fun at the trope of parents who just don’t understand:
“Stop being who you are and doing the things you love…” Classic!
But near the end of the movie, “Al” gives an awards ceremony speech that doesn’t seem like parody (if you can overlook the fact that he pees his pants):
“Live the life you want to live. Be as weird as you wanna be. You will never find true happiness until you can truly accept who you are.”
Al Yankovic plays the accordian. And he does parodies of pop music songs. Not exactly the template for a rocket ride to the top of the music charts. But somehow it worked.
He chose the weird path… the path that was true to himself… and it paid off.
“nonstop but fruitless efforts to fill the yawning chasm of his soul by seeking the attention of indifferent strangers.”
Andy Borowitz, in The New Yorker
I probably shouldn’t be posting the entire piece from Andy Borowitz here. To make amends, I’ll mention that a subscription to The New Yorker is well worth the price (especially in Year 1, when they cut you a discount). There’s so much good content in every issue: news, features, fiction, cartoons, humor like the piece above, poetry…
In the “digital economy” I know people are used to getting their content for free. But keep in mind that most websites are siphoning your personal data and selling it to the highest bidder. So it only seems “free”… and you are the product. If you want to support quality writing, fork over a few bucks – the transaction is much more above-board. And go ahead and pay a bit more for the printed magazine… it’s a better experience, and easier on your eyes.
The only challenge I’ve found with my New Yorker subscription is that there’s so much great content in every issue that I’m constantly running a few weeks behind on my reading. A nice problem to have. Unless I break my glasses like ol’ Burgess Meredith in the Twilight Zone episode above.
As a live music fan, I am duty-bound to hate Ticketmaster (a.k.a. Ticketbastard). I’ve been railing against their ridiculous fees for years, and doing everything I can to avoid them – which usually involves a trip to the venue box office during the limited hours that it’s open.
But now the cavalry is on the way to help – the Taylor Swift Army. Because hell hath no fury like a Swiftie scorned (they learned from TS herself… just listen to her lyrics).
The Taylor Ticketmaster debacle might finally break up the Live Nation/Ticketmaster monopoly – a merger that never should’ve been allowed to happen in the first place. (Hmm, combining the largest artist management and venue company with the company that sells tickets to shows… what could possibly go wrong?)
I’m not against for-profit businesses making a profit. But I am against profiteering. And when the various and sundry “fees” for a ticket wind up adding an additional 50% to the price, that seems really excessive to me.
The Royal Crescent Mob reunion shows are a Exhibit A.
[Music-heavy sidebar – feel free to skip ahead if you’re not into that sort of thing – Hi Kelly! The Royal Crescent Mob was a punk/funk band from Columbus, Ohio – their heyday was the late 80s/early 90s. They disbanded in 1994, but are reuniting to play two shows in December — one in Columbus and one in the Cincy area — as cancer research fundraisers, because three members of the band have been impacted by cancer.
With drummer Carlton Smith recently diagnosed with brain cancer (Glioblastoma), singer David Ellison, recently treated for Prostate Cancer and the loss of guitarist B’s wife, Cincinnati Attorney, Sallee Fry in May, 2022, to Pancreatic Cancer, the four band members, decided there is no time like the present to celebrate life and revel in the joy of playing music together and the healing spirit music embodies in the human soul.]
Same band, similar venues in Columbus and Cincinnati on consecutive nights. The Columbus show tickets sales are through TicketWeb (a company that is dedicated to working with independent venues and promoters). Face value of the ticket is $30. TicketWeb service fees add another $7.95… and the fees are clearly shown on the site.
Meanwhile the Cincy show (it’s actually in Northern Kentucky) is a Ticketbastard show… Face value of the ticket is $30, but fees add $14.45 to the price tag… and the fees are hidden unless you know to click on the tiny carat symbol by the price.
“Service fee”… “facility charge” (keep in mind Live Nation/Ticketmaster owns a lot of these venues)… “order processing fee”… they just make up names for the various line items to make it seem like it’s not all going into their pockets. Don’t be fooled!
But the fees for a club show are chump change compared to the large venue shows like T-Swizzle and Bruce Springsteen. For a Bruce arena show in Columbus, the Ticketbastard “service fee” on a $518 ticket is a whopping $76.65. Oh, and don’t forget that order processing fee of $6. $82.65 for Ticketmaster to perform the same services that they were willing to do for a paltry $14.45 for a club show. Talk about paying the cost to be see the Boss!
How does Ticketmaster get away with it? You don’t need a top hat and monocle to see the answer:
Apparently the Justice Department has been investigating Live Nation. I say it’s long overdue.
They claim the investigation predates the Taylor fiasco, but Taylor’s travails will certainly add a bright, hot spotlight to the investigation. Ticketmaster has been ripping off customers for years… something music fans know “all too well.”
The never-ending pandemic. Monkeypox. Inflation. Partisan politics. Those are enough to turn the cheeriest optimist into a grump. But now comes the ultimate summer bummer:
No one is more disappointed than this guy:
The article got me to thinking…
who would win a Hairy Chest Contest on The Love Boat?
(Yes, I’m aware that the Pacific Princess was part of Princess Cruises, not Carnival… but I’m not going to let the facts get in the way of a fun post.)
Rules of the game:
Staff isn’t eligible (sorry Doc, Isaac, Gopher and Captain Stubing).
Hairiest Chest wins.
Then, I combed (see what I did there?) through the list of Love Boat guest stars, from A to Z… or more accurately, from Aames to Zmed.
I actually checked not one, but two lists (my diligence in researching cheesy 70s TV knows no bounds – you’re welcome!). There’s the list of guest stars on IMDB – 552 names in all! But this site has a more exhaustive list as it includes every person billed as a guest star (meaning they got the “your face in a porthole” treatment in the opening credits).
Place your bets
This guy was the epitome of “clean cut” on F-Troop, Mayberry RFD and in pretty much every other role he played. No chance.
A swarthy man’s man and a real-life friend of George “Goober” Lindsey. Also starred in a TV show with “wolf” in the title (Airwolf). Definitely a contender.
Does the “C” in “Mr. C” stand for “chest hair”? Only Marion knows for sure.
Had a perfect 70s hairdo… but we think his chest was a hair-don’t.
Based on his past performance (hairy legs in pantyhose), he looks primed to M*A*S*H the competition.
Might not have what it takes when the CHiPs are down and the shirts are off.
Probably Knott the best bet, but was a Furley down the stretch.
Al Molinaro and Pat Morita
Entry featuring both owners of Arnold’s could be a threat, but Morita might give his chest hair a “wax off.”
Russell shows hustle, but his chest ain’t the best.
Not a legit entry, but by law every Love Boat-related document must contain at least one reference to her.
Dark Horse candidate
During my deep-dive (ha!) research, I found this photo:
I guest a post-Grizzly Adams (but pre-cocaine bust) Dan Haggerty didn’t merit the porthole treatment. But the dude went toe-to-toe and pelt-to-pelt with a bear. Definitely a favorite to win it all.
And the winner is…
The winner, by a whisker, in the mother of all upsets, is:
Wow, from perpetual Hollywood Square to the toast of the coast… congrats!
Well, that certainly was exciting, wasn’t it? I’m parched from my exhaustive research, so if you’ll excuse me, I need to get a Piña Colada from the hardest working bartender in show business (he worked the Lido Deck AND Pirate’s Cove… amazing!)
It’s filled with fun facts and funny photos. In short, it’s as fabulous as Nanette Fabray AND Shelley Fabares. Then, curl up with some popcorn and feast your eyes upon this supercut of every Love Boat guest star ever. Both the list of guest stars and this video are from the blog Gr8er Days, which celebrates the stars of yesteryear.
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