A radio station just for me

One week from tonight I resume my radio sportscasting side thing on this radio station for at least the next nine Friday nights, with two more Saturday afternoon football games and three Thursday night volleyball matches … before the postseason begins.

I started doing this in September 1988 based on cable TV experience consisting of one girls basketball game and two-thirds of a hockey game. As I’ve written here before, it’s always been a part-time thing — a hobby that brings in money instead of the usual — and having seen a lot of radio from the inside I have concluded that being a part-timer is preferable to being in radio full-time for many reasons.

This is the thing I enjoy the most, and enjoy enough to want to do it to professional (as in network) standards, including the not-so-fun aspect of game prep, which usually takes up at least as much time as the actual game broadcast does. I have never announced beyond NCAA Division III college football, basketball and hockey (plus one semi-pro football championship with NFL rules), and at my age I doubt I will have

I wrote back in late June that I have been uncommonly blessed in broadcasting sports to have announced five state football championship games (where my team was 2–3), three state boys basketball tournaments (no state champion yet, though I have experience at that), three state girls basketball tournaments (one year I called two state championships in two hours, and then added another the next season), one state wrestling tournament, two state girls volleyball tournaments (most recently this year despite my team losing the game before state; then came positive COVID tests for the winning team), four state baseball tournaments (no winner there yet), one state softball tournament (which ended with “And that’s a state championship!”), and one state boys soccer tournament (with the house goalkeeper).

All of this wasn’t actually the motivation for today’s blog. A friend of mine forwarded a joke meme that was previously posted by a radio station that calls itself Steve FM. A long time ago I wrote about my idea for “Steve TV,” based on my temporarily ubiquitous presence on local cable TV due to my being a school board candidate while having announced two pre-state basketball tournament games.

It turns out there are two Steve FMs. One is, to be precise, 96.7 Steve FM in Columbia, S.C., while the other is 104.9 Steve FM  (call letters, of course, WSTV, which you’d think would be Steve TV’s call letters, assuming we’re east of the Mississippi River, the W vs. K call-letter dividing line) in Roanoke, Va., a station that refers to itself as “Roanoke’s Random Radio.” Both are owned by iHeart Radio.

Each plays “adult hits,” defined by the always-accurate Wikipedia as “adult contemporary, pop and mainstream rock hits from the 1970s [or late 1960s] through at least the 1990s.” Another feature is that “Due to its broad nature, the adult hits format can be easily automated. This means that the station can be run with little to no on-air personalities (a trait that, in some cases, may be openly promoted by the station), leaving only staff involved in station operations, advertising sales, and promotional presences.”

Wikipedia adds that “A large number of adult hits stations utilize male names as their branding. The practice was popularized by the franchised Jack FM and Bob FM brands, and has been widely imitated with other common male names.” That includes Ben FM, Charlie FM, Chuck FM, Ed FM, Frank FM, Mac FM, Max FM, Mike FM, Rob FM, Sam FM, Ted FM, Tom FM, Wayne FM and, to be more inclusive I suppose, Kate FM.

I am not really a fan of automated radio, though I listen on occasion (until I hear a song I don’t like). Live and local is really the best radio. (It is, for instance, hard to get local weather updates when there is no one to provide them.) On the other hand, if it’s my radio station then I should be the voice, right? (As if anyone would listen to 24/7 Steve.)

Most music radio stations have a playlist of 250 to 300 songs. I have a YouTube playlist called, of course, Presty the DJ …

… with, as of this writing, 712 songs. Since the average radio station plays 360 songs a day, I could go through the whole playlist without a repeat every two days, and, unlike both terrestrial and satellite radio, never hear a song I don’t like.

As long as we’re going through this fantasy exercise, I should point out that I like theme blocks to a point (“60s at 6,” “70s at 7,” “80s at 8,” “Two-for Tuesdays,” etc.) I also like actual news (and entertainment news is not really news unless it has some sort of strange element to it, preferably one that makes a celebrity look stupid).

I also like comedy bits to a point. I grew up listening to Larry Lujack’s “Animal Stories” and “Cheap Trashy Showbiz Report” on WLS in Chicago. Later the former Rick and Len had “Small Town Crime Wave” and other bits on WAPL in Appleton. The most hilarious was probably “PO’d in the Post,” when they would reread segments from The Post~Crescent’s “Sound Off” column, which was nothing more than voicemails of people anonymously complaining about something.

Readers might recall that Rush Limbaugh started as a top 40 DJ …

… and his original idea was to combine rock and roll and right-wing politics. I’m not sure anyone has done that, and therefore I wonder if that’s possible, though combining rock music with libertarian politics is more consistent.

I usually listen to radio for music more than talk anyway.



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