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The Automated DJ Has Left the Building

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Located at Point Iroquois Lighthouse, Lake Superior

Located at Point Iroquois Lighthouse, Lake Superior

The other day I turned on my weather radio so I could listen to it (or zone out, as is usually the case) while I folded laundry, as I usually do.

I was in for a rude awakening.

The voice on my weather radio was just not the same.

Now, let me give you some background, some history.

I have a habit of obsessing about the voices that come out of my radio. For more background, click here. Listening for a DJ I like to back announce a song is sometimes just as good as waiting for a favorite song. I still remember the names of some of them I listened to 25 years ago. I have looked up their Facebook pages and befriended them. One of them even stalks me (who know who you are). This phenomenon was partially responsible for me studying radio and TV production in college. I have a story outline based off of one of them I wrote years ago, and someday soon I will fill it in with actual nouns and adjectives and verbs and junk. When a favorite DJ would leave a station (which they frequently do, a good reason for me not to go into that line of work), I would get very depressed.

This is what happened with my weather station.

Well, sort of.

I had gotten used to the old voice. He was friendly and reliable and reasonably easy to understand…for a computer.

Yes. I admit it. As I felt depression crushing me as I listened to the stranger on my radio station, I realized it was true. I had become attached to a voice coming through my radio that I was fully aware was automated all along. When I was first researching a weather radio before I purchased one ten years ago (Ya, I’m a giant nerd.),  I found on the NWS website where they blatantly tell you all about the various versions and upgrades on their voices.

I don’t like this new voice. It is too smooth. For a sample, click here. I liked that the old one stumbled over a few words now and then, sort of a digital pixelated hiccup. Even computers are allowed to mess up sometimes. We are only human, right? Oh, wait…

I even messaged my local weather service office in Pontiac, MI to find out what they changed. Their response:

We switched over to a new digital broadcasting system. The old system was the Console Replacement System (CRS) and the new one is the Broadcast Message Handler (BMH).

That means they went from the voice named Tom to the voice named Paul (There was also another Paul several years ago.). I am sure it is faster and will save more lives in an emergency and blah, blah, blah. But I will miss Tom dearly.

Unlike other DJs, it is unlikely I will find him up and down the dial.

Oh, did I mention that I am watching WKRP in Cincinnati these days. Probably the rest of the formula to why I wanted to study radio.

Have you seen that Dr. Johnny Fever?

Johnny freaks out over a tornado on WKRP in Cincinnati.

Johnny freaks out over a tornado on WKRP in Cincinnati.

Follow the romantic entanglements of The Riley Sisters in my books:
Be Careful What You Wish ForAVAILABLE NOW!
The Wind Could Blow a BugWHERE IT ALL BEGAN!




I <3 DJs

Back in 1990, I would listen every night to the Live 5 at 8 Countdown with Dave Fuller on 92.5 KISS-FM. (I am so old, I remember before they were called KISS-FM.) I would listen on my awesome stereo AM/FM cassette player mini boom box from Sears. (I still have it. The best radio I have ever owned.) I had a total crush on the DJ, Dave Fuller. I still do. Well, a crush on his voice. I had no idea what he looked like. And I wouldn’t know for another 22 years.

I loved the song “Nothing Compares 2 U” by Sinead O’Connor. And it was VERY popular on 92.5, since that is the station all the school girls listened to. I had a knack. I would call about 15 minutes before he did the number one song on the countdown. I knew the number one song would be “Nothing Compares 2 U”. I knew that with the number one song, Dave Fuller always played a phone call. And I knew that he pre-taped the calls. There were multiple times that Dave played MY call on the air.*

*Here is a transcript of one of the calls. I would totally put an audio clip in this post, but I don’t want to get sued:

DF: The coveted event.
The sacred moment.
The thrill you have been waiting all day for.
The number one song on the Live 5 at 8 Countdown.
ME: I wanna request, um, Nothing Compares 2 U for the countdown.
DF: That’s what they all say.
ME: [Awkward teenage giggle.]

I had such a big crush on Dave. I believe I have his birthday written down somewhere in my house. That is probably when I decided that Dave was such a cool name, although that is not the whole reason my dog is named Dave. If I had had a drivers’ license, I totally could have gone to remote broadcasts and stalked him. But by the time I did, he was off to another radio station.

So, I kept listening to 92.5 and I developed a crush on Kurt Kruse (no idea on the spelling) and Billy Michaels. I used to tape the disc jockeys talking to one another at shift change. I actually got to meet Kurt when I got to do a show called “Look Ma, I’m on KISS-FM” where I got to play DJ for an hour on a Friday night when no one listens. But it was right before high school graduation, so I never found out if anyone listened and thought I was ultra-cool. (Or ultra-dork.) I wrote an outline for a story about Billy Michaels, but I have never fleshed out the full story.

Probably my obsession with the DJs (and being totally clueless as to what I wanted to do in life) is why I studied Radio & TV Broadcasting in college. Not that I have ever actually used my degree to go into that field, because I have not.

The other day I looked, and Dave Fuller is now on a station in Detroit. He even has a Facebook page, which means I got to see what he looks like. My 8th grade self was so excited:) [Awkward teenage giggle.]

Sorry for all of the nostalgia lately. I am in the process of converting all my audio cassette tapes to mp3 files. Sometimes technology can be great.

I’m not stalking you. is NOW ON FACEBOOK! “Like” that I’m not stalking you and get an update when there is a new post to read. (It is sort of like YOU are stalking ME.)

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