Tuesday, April 26, 2016

"How many fingers, Winston?"

I will always love Radio.  Good old fashioned, live, Freeform Radio.  Honest, non-corrupted, doing it for real Radio.  And like a lifelong partner, soul mate, friend and lover, member of the family, I have painfully watched this Dear Soul go through the hurtful trials of existence, fighting off the illnesses for its struggle to survive.  Battered down by the treatments of the professionals; "experts" who profess to keep the patient "alive."  Bullshit!

What a difference a decade can make.  When SPACE PIRATE RADIO went on the air for the first time on January 27th, 1974, KTYD Santa Barbara, California, the people running the station were all young, rebellious, excited by the music, inspired by the sound and vision of what could be possible with this overgrown wireless set.  Business wasn't the motivating reason for being on the air.  We weren't unprofessional.  Hardly.  We just knew that if we did something good that we were all passionate about, the station would financially float.  Good Deeds would garnish Good Rewards.  And we were right.  KTYD with all its eccentricities, contradicting personalities and ultra diverse programming, became the top model of a successful Freeform Radio station.  We were a hit, Man!  A Big Hit!  The record companies loved us 'cause all types of new artists and musical styles got a shot.  The DJs loved what they played.  No playlist commanded by someone else.  No payola.  No corruption. It was Real.!

That would change... 

Success at doing something original creates a satisfaction; a sense of well being that like Alchemy, transmutes into power.  A Personal Power, interpreted differently by the Individual.  How one uses this Power, is the Rite of Passage.  I watched so many of my young, hippie, radical or just fun loving or downright lazy friends transform themselves.  Once in possession of this Power.  If one does not have the ample tools of introspection, this gift of certain powers has the ability to transform on lesser levels.  For the Man on the Street, we call this transformation: Corruption.

And in the Purgatory of Life known as Commerce or Industry or the Free Market, this Corruption, soul devastating as it can be...  Well, it is simply Business As Usual.

How quickly the free spirited and visionary, idealistic youth of the '60s and '70s were able to embrace in the '80s, the repressed, restrictive and so hated values of their oh so un-understanding parents. After the murder of John Lennon and the Reign of Master Chimps, Ronald Reagan and Czarina-like, mystic loving, Rasputin Red Wearing former FBI agent Nancy Davis, my Weather Or Not Underground Members, Black, White, Grey or Slightly Beige Panthers were ready to give up.  Olly Olly Oxen Free.  Time to give up the Go Go Dancing for the Dance of the Lemmings.  "Hey, I'm middle aged!  Time to get my share."   

So the year 1984 lives up to its Orwellian promise.  In the early days of radio, a local radio station had to be locally owned.  Serving the community and so forth.  Media understood by and for the Community.  With the spokesperson for the General Electric Theatre and Company, the Death Valley Days industry of Boraxo and the Twenty Mule Team, Chesterfield Cigarettes as the Perfect Christmas Gift, Arrow Shirts and so on...well, it was time to remove that little local radio hang up.  Why couldn't a Media Consulting Group from Langley, Virginia decide what people in Laguna Beach would hear?  Thus, with little effective Resistance, the FCC or Federal Communications Center, de-regulated ownership rules of small market radio stations, and the buying boom was on. 

Like a night on the Home Shopping Network, selling zircon encrusted earrings, the pitch was feverish.  Small Mom & Pop companies bought up failing stations in exciting communities like Santa Barbara and Long Beach; less exciting places like Banning, Beaumont and Barstow.  Communications savvy banks were quick to make loans available, with the small print proviso, that if the bubble should burst and collections were due, said broadcast stations would revert to the banks.  And for, pardon the playlist pun...a song.

Now, in a piece of fiction writing, wouldn't it be funny if these banks were only shills or fronts for a larger network of one market, one owner Media Corporations?  Nah, you couldn't write this kind of stuff.  Who would have such a clear channel of operations, be premier in such an undertaking and still be taken sirius?

Stuff and Nonsense.