My first time on-air at WDBX

After reading Jason’s post yesterday, I was similarly inspired to share a bit of my own show’s history with readers here at The Blogapus. As I usually say, if it’s not in the liner notes of an album, I’ll forget it– but since I’ve got my original “New Volunteer Application” handy, I can definitely say our story starts in mid-October, 2000.

At the time, I was hosting a program called “Radio Show For Resume” at WIDB, the student radio station at Southern Illinois University. “RSFR” was my early attempt at something like “It’s Too Damn Early” is now, a program featuring experimental music of all sorts. It doesn’t sound too difficult, but it should be noted that my only radio experience up until this time had been about two years worth of co-hosting a live, freeform program of improvisation.

Our broadcasts were influenced by radio drama, vaudeville, and the radio art broadcasts of KPFA’s “Over the Edge”. We were just as likely to create a program about beverages featuring hundreds of audio samples as we were to let someone play a Tibetan singing bowl for an hour. In other words, sitting down to play other people’s CDs was sort of strange. Another downside was that WIDB wasn’t actually broadcasting to anyone but kids in the dorms, the Student Center, and a handful of online listeners… and I wanted to be on the radio!

Naturally, I had been keeping my eye on WDBX as a possible place to transfer a version of the show.

One day, I was driving around in Carbondale while listening to WDBX. I must not have had anything too important going on, because when I heard a DJ mention that he’d been keeping the controls warm for another DJ who was long overdue to arrive, I turned the car around and headed over there. My big plan was to take whatever CDs I had in the car, pose as the tardy DJ’s stand-in, and get on the air.

I don’t recall exactly what I said, but it worked. Perhaps Lonesome Roy was in an especially generous mood that day, or perhaps he was just sick of waiting for the next guy. Whatever, I don’t recall feeling that I fooled him– he just gave me a quizzical look, and a drawn out “okaaaaaay.”

Although I applied to join WDBX shortly thereafter, Brian’s initial offer of a 2-4 a.m. slot didn’t work for me at the time, due to a work conflict. A little over a year passed before I was able to start at WDBX in January of 2002. Following my earlier naming convention of keeping things ridiculously obvious (“Sounds Like Radio,” and “Startling Moniker” are also good examples) I quickly named my show “It’s Too Damn Early.”

If for some strange reason, you’re still awake after reading this entry, you can read more about my thoughts on radio and blogging in a couple different interviews here and here, and about my earlier show with WIDB here.



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