What I Did On My Summer Vacation

Although my summer vacation isn’t over until September 18, I thought I would tell you about one of the things I did. Unlike those young adventurous souls who take 900-mile canoe trips, yesterday (Thursday, 8/09) I did a one-hour show on Bearcast, the University of Cincinnati‘s student-run Internet radio station. I will be serving as Interim Faculty Advisor for Bearcast during the Autumn and Winter Quarters of this academic year. Just to get a feel for the station, I will be doing shows every now and then.

It had been almost eight years since I appeared live behind a microphone, on Clear Channel‘s WVMX-FM (MIX 94.1). My stint at
MIX marked the end of a 25-year career that was started, ironically enough, on Ohio University‘s student-run All-Campus Radio Network (ACRN). A lot has changed since I worked at “Acorn”, which was the derogatory nickname used by our friendly rivals at university-owned WOUB-AM/FM. Side note: our retort for them was “Woobie.”

Bearcast still plays most of its music on CDs, but the recorded spots are played from a computerized “replay” machine. There is a computer mounted right in front of the DJ, so he/she can quickly access the web to look up anything, such as biographies of artists. Because I am a bit deficient in current music knowledge, I plan to give this computer a good workout! I mean, who the heck are Gogol Bordello? In addition to taking requests by phone, listeners can utilize Bearcast’s AOL Instant Messaging (AIM) account and chat with the DJ on the screen.

Clear Channel installed computers in the MIX studio before I left in 1999, so I was used to that aspect. The music was the biggest challenge, and will most likley continue to be. MIX had a computerized playlist so I didn’t have to fret over which songs to play. I could get to the station just a few minutes before my show started, and I could totally focus on what I was going to talk about. Not so at Bearcast, at least not for now. It is refreshingly “old school” in the sense that there is a monstrous wide-open playlist, just as it was back in the heady days of late-60s/early 70s progressive rock radio. Plus, the DJs get to pick their own music with very few restrictions. That means you do need to figure out which songs to play and the order in which they will be. That can be a daunting task for a 52-year-old in a college-aged music format. Not to mention the fact that you still have to figure out what to talk about. Maybe there’s a reality show plot in here somewhere!

All in all, I enjoyed my time yesterday. I might do one or two more shows before the autumn quarter starts., unless CBS Radio calls me to be the permanent replacement for Don Imus. Yeah, and I’ll win both the MegaMillions and PowerBall lottery jackpots this weekend!

Monday, August 13: Pre-Long Tail: A Post About Postman


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