But free form radio was something I'd wanted to do since I was a teenager and I can't describe how fulfilling it is every week to play almost anything you want to play while finding a way to balance what is aired. I have special rules about rotating my artists in order to keep the show from sounding like a personal jukebox. Can anyone tell who my all-time top ten favorites are, based on what hits the Retroactive airwaves? Doubtful.
I feel the show has depth because I'm lucky to have lived in three different areas of the country and musically, I have a vivid memory of what made those places so special. Coming from the Midwest, the bedrock of my long-running show was inspired by the great 1960s AM (CKLW, WKNR) and FM (WABX) stations that lit Detroit up back in the day. I got to Texas in 1973 and didn't understand that folkie/country thing at all ("What is this 'Cosmic Cowboy' crap?," I wondered, as somebody named Pete Brown and another person played a bunch of songs for my fellow incoming students at Texas Lutheran not long after we first arrived).
Thankfully, I found some fabulous stations in South Central Texas (KRMH, "Karma" in San Marcos, KLBJ/Austin, and even KEXL/San Antonio--KOKE was supposed to be extraordinary, but I could never tune it in unless I was driving 50 miles north to Austin) that positively fueled my radio listening, not to mention the rock column I wrote for the college's weekly newspaper for four years. Austin radio, God love them, played more Little Feat, Freddie King and Bonnie Raitt than I ever heard in Detroit. Those three stations, while in tune with the early '70s "Progressive Country" movement to an extent, refused to be defined by that sound. And I refused too, explaining to my Michigan friends that "Texas isn't just country music"; in much the same way, I needed them to know that I wasn't at TLU (then TLC) studying to be a minister--not that there's anything wrong with that, to paraphrase the Seinfeld program.
Just before I left Michigan for Washington state in 1993, I found out about two trailblazers from Tacoma, the (Fabulous) Wailers, and especially the Sonics, who compare to favorably to Detroit's proto-punk pioneers the MC5 and the Stooges. I try to get something on the air from a Pacific Northwest band every week, and not as many artists from my other regions of residence, because the Northwest is where I live.
Put simply, I am still having a blast doing my Saturday program. There are many colleagues, mentors and more that have helped me attain what I feel is a very good radio show. There are too many of you to thank, but I will mention two this time: My fellow KAOS progammer, Steve McLellan, and my loving wife, Gina. Back when I got kicked in the teeth after giving my all to a job I'd had for twenty years, I thought maybe I should give up the show and concentrate on finding new employment. Steve and Gina were among the first to say that quitting KAOS would be a mistake, because my soul is in there. Thanks to both of you, and to everyone else who has aided me along the way. It's too late to stop now.
PS--My first time on the air at KAOS was right before Retroactive began. I was subbing on a program called Have It Yahweh. And of course, someone phoned in to say that I was making fun of God by using that moniker. "It's not my show!," I told them.
PPS--The best phone calls I've received? One time, a listener said that he had moved away from Olympia for several years, came back, and was glad to hear I was still at good old 89.3...Another time, I had Yoko Ono on and the phone box lit up. "Uh oh, here comes a nasty call," I figured. Yet it was a completely different type of response: "I love Yoko! Is that from Fly or Approximately Infinite Universe?," they asked. That is so Olympia.