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Podcasting Is Just Like Having an Imaginary Radio Show Back in the Day

Enjoying a bit of nostalgia in a modern enterprise

As a kid, one of my dream jobs was being a radio DJ. I also wanted to be a fighter pilot or a Jedi, but being a DJ seemed attainable. It always sounded like DJs were having so much fun. Sitting around, smoking and joking, drinking coffee, listening to music, laying their smooth voices overtop of the first few familiar chords of a song you were desperate to hear.

Then there were the morning shows. Airhorns, record scratches, screeching noises, guitar riffs, air raid sirens, cartoony voices, ridiculous introductions to your favorite songs of the day.

Perhaps the image I have in my brain of a radio disc jockey is one stemming from old sitcoms like WKRP In Cincinnati.

One day my friend Scott and I were recording a morning show. We pretended to be callers calling into the show to request a song or to play on the “party line.” Does anyone remember party lines?

I remember introducing “You Belong to the City” by Glen Frye, and that song still takes me back to the mid 1980s.

Scott dropped the needle into the groove and I introduced the song.

“Now for all you Eagles fans out there, here’s a solo effort from a lone Eagle Glen Frey. Here’s “You Belong To The City.” …

…and we carefully placed the mic in front of the speaker. Then we tried to sneak stealthily away while the song played. The synth and bass line was already playing as I finished the intro.

As we sneaked away to let the song play, there were always snickers and snorts, trips and stuff knocked around. Plenty of stifling of laughter. Then the record skipped or someone laughed. But those things are what made it so fun.

It was pure imagination. We weren’t inhibited by any expectations of a result, we were simply having a good time and being creative. We made bad jokes just to hear ourselves repeated back to us later. Our DJ demo tapes would never make it out of the cassette carrying case.

Plenty of times we never heard the recordings. Other times we listened and laughed even harder. What a couple of idiots! How could we put this out?! How ridiculous!


But then, here we are. Kristi and I are doing just that, except that perhaps I am the only idiot these days. We’re doing something because we enjoy it so much. We have amazing conversations, we learn things, and, basically, we fuck around. When we meet up to record on Sundays, it’s playtime. Even when I’m having a shitty day, a good recording session will always pull me out of the gutter.

That’s one appeal of doing a podcast today. Except that if we’re not careful we’ll allow to joy to be sucked out of it by the desire to make it big. We are in constant competition for survival and attention. In the past, artists and musicians performed for local events or for themselves, not to get a bajillion views on socials. With everything geared so much towards content creation and consumption, we need to remember why we create in the first place.

That’s my biggest problem with hustle culture. Why can’t we just enjoy doing something without having to hustle ourselves? Most of us have jobs we need to hustle at. Do we really want our hobby or passion to become another hustle? Even more, are we hustling our kids through their lives because that’s what society says to do right now?

I’m happy to say that my creative partner in this venture loves the marketing side of it all, while I’m happy being a weirdo screaming into the void. It works out for both of us this way.

As AI becomes more prevalent in our world, our humanness is the one thing that will set us apart from content mills and prolific market saturation. And there’s nothing more human than fucking around with your friends on a show.

Which brings me back to hosting a show about whatever the hell you want it to be about.

Today we talked about our past lives as fake radio show hosts and mix-tape makers. We talked about big stereos and cassette decks and going to concerts without anyone knowing where you were.

We talked about some of the music that always reminds us of certain people, and how memories of those people will in some way be tied to those songs forever.

And we talked about the silly dreams we had to be famous radio hosts.

KiKi, thank you for make one of my dreams come true.

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Kristi Walter
Kristi Walter
Mar 21, 2023

Thank YOU for being my weirdo partner in crime!!! Our Sunday playtimes are my favorite!

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