Sunday, May 4, 2008

Where are the Kids on Bicycles?

I connected with Dan Kelley this weekend. Dan has programmed for Clear Channel and Citadel and currently writes the ClassicRockFM Blog. While in High school, Dan and I started out at the same radio station, WVVX AM/FM in Highland Park, Illinois a northern suburb of Chicago. Dan was at the station a couple of years before me and our paths never crossed until this weekend when I sent him a note commenting on a post he had written. It was then that we connected the dots.

When Dan wrote back to me he commented that he used to ride his bicycle an hour each way to work at the radio station. His comment struck a chord with me. On occasion, I did the same when I had the keys to my mother's car taken away from me as punishment for mouthing off to her. If my friend Alan couldn't give me a ride (he had a car) I'd have to ride my bike. Thirty-two years later, with two daughters 11 and 14, I get it. I can finally admit that I deserved the punishment.

It occurred to me that back in the day when Dan and I started working at WVVX there was a passion for working at the station. The truth be known, I would have worked there for free just to hang out. I signed the station on the air on Saturday and Sunday mornings. I started as a board-op and ran the required public affairs shows and ran the board for all of the different brokered out shows that were aired. My boss, Jim Hoffman would pay me an extra five dollars a week to vacuum the floors, dust desks and windex the windows. I could not have been more excited to take on that responsibility. I was hanging out at the radio station and getting paid for it!

A lot has changed in thirty years. The public affairs requirements have become more lax. Computers and technology have drastically reduced the need for board-ops. And sadly, I don't see the kids taking the bus or riding their bikes an hour to work and hang out at the radio station.