Posts from August 2013
by Kelly Randall posted Aug 29 2013 10:44AM

Or so I thought.  It was my second full-time radio job.  I had just turned 21 and had been hired at a "progressive rock" FM station in San Diego.This was fall 1975. Growing up back East, I had only dreamed of Southern California. 


 I imagined SoCal to be one long continuous Beach Boys song:  sun, waves, girls and cars. And oh man, it was.  I lived in a hippy town called Ocean Beach. I rode a motorcycle up the coast each night to work.  What could go wrong?


Be careful what you wish for.


I had been hired to do the all night show. Back in the pre-Internet days, doing an all night show live was great.  You had a smaller but very dedicated audience. Some listeners were working the third shift and they would reach out to you via the request line.  You became part of their workplace.


Other regular listeners lived alternate livestyles.  Party all night and sleep all day.  I had regular listener who called himself "The Del Cerro Stoner." He was a Vietnam Vet.  Obviously dealing with PTSD, four years later, from being an infantry soldier in combat. He would call nightly for the Who song, "Won't Get Fooled Again."  The Del Cerro Stoner would tell me he and his platoon listened to that song every day when out in the field. And then he would tell me a story from the "teenage wasteland" as he called Vietnam.


I loved the audience for that show.  Freaks flying all different flags.


So, the audience was cool and my fellow disc jockeys were fun. Now, the station owner was a little strange, but I didn't have much contact with him so I didn't think much of it.  That is, until the lamp incident happened.


You'd think the all night studios of a hippy FM station would be cool.  You're playing all those great album cuts in a mellow vibe town of San Diego, right?




The studio had harsh fluorescent lighting. And really, really intense. You couldn't adjust them in any way. It was like sitting under a french fry warmer each night.


Finally, I had enough.  I brought a lamp in from home.  I put it on the console and turned off the harsh overhead lighting.  Finally, I had a studio that mirrored my listeners home environments.


Everything was cool until the day I showed up at work and found a memo in my in-box.  It was from the station owner and it stated that no lamps were permitted in the air studio and "if I wanted a den, I should go buy a house."


Wow. Kill the vibe.  Suddenly I realized my little spot of hip California wasn't so hip.  The bad station owner sold soon thereafter and he was gone.  I, too, was gone taking a job back East in Baltimore.


The station in San Diego is still there.  I bet a lamp is burning somewhere in that studio each night. 




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by Kelly Randall posted Aug 12 2013 10:14AM

I went to see the new Matt Damon movie, ?Elysium? on Friday.  And I wasn?t alone: the 99% filled cinemas this past weekend to enjoy a sci-fi film about the 1%. The dystopian thriller ?Elysium? ? which imagines an Earth that has been left to rot while the rich enjoy themselves on a space station ? topped the weekend box office with $30.5 million, according to studio estimates.  


People like science fiction for different reasons.  Some go for the tech.  All the cool new stuff that the screenwriter believes will be coming down the road.  Others appreciate the social/political critiques the sci-fi writers employ to discuss today?s problems or issues through the use of sci-fi.  


The big daddy of the latter category is George Orwell?s ?1984,? the ultimate big-brother- is-watching-you tale. Don?t you think George would get a kick out of the revealed NSA program to watch (and listen) to all Internet and telecom communications? Would he give us a big ?I told you so??




Writer/Director Neil Blomkampf's vision of future in ?Elysium? where the rich live in orbiting space station and oppress the poor below is meant to cause controversy.  And it does.  Not everyone is happy with its future vision.  Neil definitely is making his point about what he believes are underlying causes to the illegal immigration issues facing the U.S. today.  


And for the tech lovers, they don?t care about the social issues. They love the tech, which in this film is very, very good. Great visions of futuristic LA, hovering over Earth is a wondrous space station where the rich live in absolute splendor, complete with MRI-like machines that cure any disease in a matter of seconds. That?s what draws the illegal aliens from Earth:  the chance to run in and get cured from a life-threatening illness.   


Who wouldn?t want that?  


I think it?s great filmmakers come along and make a statement.  And I don?t always have to agree with that message. But it starts a discussion. It causes us to engage with one another. After all, isn?t our free public discourse what makes America great?

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by Kelly Randall posted Aug 5 2013 10:32AM

Lots of folks make jokes about musicians not being smart.  You?ve heard drummer jokes, right?


How do you tell if the stage is level?

The drummer is drooling from both sides of his mouth.

How can you tell a drummer's at the door?

The knocking speeds up.


What's the last thing a drummer says in a band?

"Hey, how about we try one of my songs?"


Ok.  Not always fair as a lot of musicians are very smart, as well as great business people.  And that includes drummers.  Bruce Springsteen comes to mind as a super-smart musician. In fact, Bruce likes to joke about his spare time when he watches TV and his mind starts drifting to adding up the commercial endorsements he's turned down over the course of his career. Most likely, a startling amount of money.


This week?s winner for dumbest band in the world has to be the Bloodhound Gang.  They were playing in the Ukraine this past week when the bassist shoves a Russian flag down his pants and pulls it out the back of his pants.  And he had the gall to tell the audience not to tell Putin.  Now,  the lead singer objected right at that moment, saying he didn?t agree with what just happened. But it was too late.  The word was out that a rock band had desecrated the Russian flag. Pretty soon the upcoming appearance at a weekend rock festival was cancelled. Then, they were deported and had to head right to the airport.


It gets worse.


At the airport lounge, Russian nationalists tracked them down and tried to smother one of the band members with an American flag.  The Bloodhound Gang was lucky to get out of Russia unhurt.


Think the Bloodhound Gang is looking for a new bass player this week?


It?s very simple. If you are invited to play in a foreign country, stay away from the host nation?s flag. And if invited to play in Russia, definitely leave the Russian flag out of your stage act, unless you plan to bunk down for a long while with Edward Snowden.


Want a few more drummer jokes?  I love drummers, but ok, here goes:


What do you call a drummer with half a brain?



What does a drummer use for contraception?

His personality.


What do you say to a drummer in a three-piece suit?

"Will the defendant please rise?"


"Hey buddy, how late does the band play?"

  "Oh, about half a beat behind the drummer."



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