I've become part of a huge Facebook community of former Antioch students. I was skeptical at first; what is the point in nostalgia? Was I not alienated enough the first time 'round? (We're getting there...slowly...to my background and how bizarre urban nightmares in my teenage years influenced my strengths and weaknesses. Give me time. It's a long story and I've only been blogging for three years.)
But being a part of a like-minded community has brought me more than nostaligia. It's got familiarity, sure, but there are certain commonalities among us all. I've reconnected with my tribe, in all its freaky and dysfunctional glory.
A guy named Mike—who for reasons that escaped me both then and now was called Miami Mike—reminded me of my college radio days. Lisa Whipple reminded me of how she would come into the studio and take the calls that came in from a prisoner. I was also reminded of a sad kind-of corporate takeover, where the healthy community station was ripped from local control and turned into what was essentially a satellite feed station. Local news became NPR. All things change.
I have a handful of air-check cassettes from those days. (Eww, how old is that fingernail clipping in the cassette case?) I wince when I listen to them, and that which was already embarrassing has suffered terribly in sound quality from the ravages of time. I wasn't a bad radio host at all. It's just that what was innovative in southwestern Ohio in 1986 is pedestrian now.
Here's a snippet of me on the news. Almost all recordings of me anchoring All Things Considered were on reel-to-reel tapes, which I threw away during the last move. I had only this one local story on cassette. I hear awkwardness in my voice.
Speaking of awkwardness, this is even worse! And who the hell cares if something is on yellow vinyl? I hear bits of a Nick Hornby character in 1986-Marie.
Then I stumbled over this gem.
It's a clip from Chuck King's interview with a few of the Dead Kennedys. (Chuck was from Dayton and had a show the night before mine.) They played at Antioch...this somehow happened because I attended a meeting of local music supporters in Dayton, and the grand poobah (then) of Dayton music was looking for a venue for his pals the Dead Kennedys. I didn't really think Community Government would take the offer seriously, but one of them (was his name Jon?) took the ball and ran all the way to the theater building for the most legendary show the region would see in...well, who knows. A long time.