I have a love-hate relationship with the radio. When I was a teenager I loved listening to the radio. Of course, at that time I had few options, it was the radio or records (as in the vinyl type). I mostly listened to KFRC or KYA which were the "rock and roll" stations at the time. I could listen all day and it never seemed like they repeated the same songs, or maybe I just didn't notice. I never remember hearing useless chatter between the DJ's either, or again, maybe I just didn't notice.
Along came CDs and iPods and the like and when I was able to download songs on my computer and listen to them that way, the only time I really listened to the radio was when I was driving in my car. All of a sudden the stations kept changing formats. It seemed like the stations I was used to listening to started playing hip hop and rap instead of my usual rock. The disc jockeys started playing stupid games and making prank phone calls. When I did find a station I liked, they played the same songs over and over. I kept thinking that if I was able to have thousands of songs on my iMac, which would take me days to play them all without repeating, why couldn't the radio stations do the same?
And then there was MAX. In 2006 MAX 97.5 FM, which was a relatively new station on the dial in my area, actually did something wonderful. According to a newspaper article at the time, the executives did a market research and found out that "...announcers weren't adding much to the listening experience...MAX listeners are people who were not satisfied with traditional stations and said they'd just as soon have just the music." WHAT? Someone actually listened to their listeners? MAX got rid of all the disc jockeys and proclaimed that they were the "station that plays whatever it feels like!" They got John O'Hurley (the actor who played J. Peterman on "Seinfeld") to do spot promos and they just played the music. All the time. They did have a spot about every hour or two where they would run a few commercials but it wasn't even five minutes worth it didn't seem like.
I was in HEAVEN! I even called the radio station (something I had NEVER done before) to tell them how much I appreciated their programming AND THEY USED THAT ON THE AIR! Several times I was driving and heard my voice on the radio saying how much I liked it. How cool is that?
MAX did have contests to win concert tickets but instead of having to call at a certain time or answer a trivia question or be a certain number caller, all you had to do was send them an email with your name and address. That's it! So, of course I sent them an email, but didn't think too much about it because I never win anything.
And then one day, after sitting through a jury selection process (I did not get interviewed but it was getting close), I came home to find a letter from MAX FM. At first I thought it was just an advertisement and then I read the letter:
OMG! I had actually won! I was SO excited. I had only been to three concerts in my life and the last one had been three years before. The seats were in the second level so it wasn't exactly front row and no one made a big deal about my husband and I but that didn't matter to me. Huey Lewis and the News were fantastic. We were a little disappointed with the Chicago performance but the whole experience was just a thrill. Of course I made a page in my concert scrapbook for it:
The pictures I took were not the greatest but I remember every bit of that night. The next day I called the radio station again to tell them thanks for the tickets and let them know how much fun we had. They used that as a promo spot too! I did not hear it but one of my friends did and told me they had heard me on the radio. Wow, I was almost famous!
I had such a good time that I decided I wanted to start going to more concerts. I had not gone to them when I was growing up and now that our kids were older, I figured my husband and I deserved to have a night out once in a while. I got us tickets to see Journey and Def Leppard later that year and since that time we have gone to at least four concerts a year. This year we are going to 9!
Sadly, by the next year 95.7 had changed again and had become a country station, the WOLF. While I don't mind country music sometimes, it's not my go-to and so I went back to using CDs and then eventually my iPhone as my music in the car. Nevertheless, I blame the radio for my concert addiction. I guess it could be worse.
How about you? Ever won a contest? Have a favorite radio station? Miss the Oldies? Love to hear about it!