While Bob Dylan's song title fits an increasing number of situations these days, I feel more and more like my grandfather when I hear myself saying "when I was a kid..." or "remember when...". The latest incident happened just this week, when I learned that Michael Tearson, a Philadelphia legend and FM radio icon, had been let go by WMGK. (There is a great article by Jonathan Takiff in the Daily News about the situation, and about Michael. http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/gizmo/187013276.html)
I am having trouble imagining not hearing his voice on my car radio - he's been on one station or another since before I got my driver's license. My car was the only place I could listen to the stations I wanted to. My parents weren't big fans of the kind of music played on WXPN, WDAS or WMMR. They were convinced that the deejays were pot-smoking commies sending out mind control waves to turn us all into degenerate hippies. Geez, not all of them were! And to be honest, back in the early 70s, it wasn't difficult to turn us into degenerate hippies anyway. Since every radio at home was set to WIP, my car (a 66 mustang!) was where I got to know music.
Being contrary and butting heads with my parents was something that I perfected over the years. The best instance of this was getting instructions from my dad, the Colonel, prior to my brother and I being left home alone, and I quote: "No wild parties, no shacking up and no punk rock". Our standard response was :"Yeah, got it, we'll bring home Wendy O. Williams and the Plasmatics for an orgy" - they were thrilled when I then met and married the road manager/sound man for the shock rockers. Marrying into and then working in the music business for decades brought me into contact with hundreds of icons from my youth - among them the WMMR/WMGK deejays, who often attended or hosted shows at the Ripley Music Hall or the Troc or the Empire Rock Club live broadcasts. I can't tell you how much fun it was to tell my parents that not only had I been listening to and working with the devil's music, I had become friends with a dj my mom once referred to as the anti-christ! She was not amused, but I thought it was hilarious.
I think I'm having a more difficult time dealing with this particular event than I have with other similar news, perhaps because it goes back so far. Everytime some aspect of my younger days is altered or the memory nuked, I start to feel even older and start talking about the days of rotary telphones and AM transistor radios tuned to WFIL and having to get up to change the TV channel. My kids make fun of me, we all laugh - better than the movies! (cheaper, anyway - why, when I was a kid... See what I mean?)
I talked to Michael earlier today, and he sounded pretty upbeat about the whole situation. He's got several irons in the fire, and if I stop being cheap, accept the technology and get Sirius radio, I'll still be able to hear him when I drive.