Fisher Price record player toy
Ever since I was old enough to walk, I had a record player. I used my first record player so much that the motor burned out and caught fire, which is one of the most vivid memories that I have of my early childhood. The successor to that record player was a birthday gift.
At some point, I inherited a box of old 45s from an older sibling. Although there were some non-rock records in there (“Cast Your Fate to the Wind” comes to mind, as well as a Popeye record called “Never Play with Matches”, and one or two of those 78s marketed for children), this was my introduction to the genre of rock music. The box was laden with (mostly) 1960’s rock and roll: I remember there were some pre-Beatles stuff in there (Chubby Checker, Bobby Sherman, etc.), some British Invasion goodies (The Beatles, The Searchers), and even some late 1960’s bubblegum (The 1910 Fruitgum Company, The Foundations). Every once and awhile I would get some new records as gifts. At the time, even used 45s bought at a thrift shop served to expand my musical horizons.
By the time I was about 12, I actually had enough disposable income to purchase records of my own. The first record I bought with my own money was “Centerfold” by the J. Geils Band, and the first album was “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” by the Beatles. Soon I had a small collection of music on vinyl. A trip to a local flea market proved fruitful, when one of the vendors was so eager to unload a collection of 78’s and 45’s that he sold me the whole box for one dollar. A few years later, my uncle, who had owned the house adjacent to the one in which I grew up since the mid-1960’s, sold the house, and I inherited a collection of albums that my cousin had left behind when he went away to graduate school in Boston in the late 1970’s. This collection contained everything from late 1960’s pop and rock (e.g. The Box Tops, Creedence Clearwater Revival) to mid and late 1970’s arena rock (e.g. Ted Nugent). Once again, I augmented my already-expanding collection of music.
During my high school years, I joined the school radio station (we were one of the few high schools in the area to have their own radio station). We had a Class D FM station (10 watts, non-directional). Class D licenses were first issued by the FCC in 1948, and were the FCC’s first attempt to bring more schools and colleges onto the air. Class D stations were strictly non-commercial, and restricted to 88 to 92 MHz (the educational sub-band). But in 1978, in response to a petition by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CFB), the FCC decided to phase out Class D licenses. No new Class D licenses would be issued, and existing Class D stations were encouraged to upgrade their transmitters to 100 watts. Back then, one of the local colleges wanted our frequency for their own station, and we were embroiled in a dispute with them over which would ultimately result in our station going off the air, although this did not happen until after I graduated. In the meantime, the school radio station provided a creative outlet. The broadcast hours of the station were split between our school and the other high school in the district, with our high school limited to being on the air from 3 PM to 6 PM on Wednesdays and Fridays (this soon expanded to 3 PM to 6 PM on Mondays in 1985).
In the meantime, CDs began to supplant vinyl as the format of choice, and I began to build up a substantial collection of CDs, starting with Billy Squier’s “Emotions in Motion”. I enrolled in college and briefly had a show on the campus radio station. By now, my interest in broadcasting had waned, although I was still a music fan. The parsimonious ethic that inspired my previous music purchases continued, and I rarely paid retail for a CD. Years later, even with the advent of Napster and other peer-to-peer file sharing networks, there was still music that I sought that could not be found through conventional channels. As a result, when I found out that there was a monthly record show at the firehouse in a nearby town, I began frequenting them, and was able to acquire a good deal of otherwise unavailable music.
Why have I decided to start this blog? In recent years, the proliferation of outlets for underground radio, such as low-powered FM stations (LPFM), internet radio, and free-to-air satellite, has revitalized my interest in broadcasting. With this in mind, I decided that the time had come to once again share my views on music (and radio as well) with the rest of the world. In the weeks and months ahead, I intend to use this site as a forum for those views, as well as the home base for my new internet radio station, Six Appeal Radio. Stay tuned.