~KHJ Los Angeles!~ Portions of the day's programming are reproduced by means of electrical transcriptions or tape recordings.
You can hear the music on the AM radio
The VCR and the DVD
There wasn't none of that crap back in 1970
We didn't know about a World Wide Web
It was a whole different game being played back when I was a kid
Wanna get down in a cool way
Picture yourself on a beautiful day
Big bell bottoms and groovy long hair
Just walkin' in style with a portable CD player
No, you would listen to the music on the AM radio
Yeah, you could hear the music on a AM radio

Art Alexakis of Everclear pretty much sums it up with “AM Radio.” Another thing that is impossible for me to effectively explain to the youngsters – the HUGE importance of the radio in my life, and for so many others, too. There were fewer links to each other then, fewer ways to hook into the collective. I got my first transistor radio on my 2nd birthday. It was my best thing, a magic little red-and-gold box where I could spin the dial back and forth and the world would come right to me. I figured out where the pop stations were, took my little baby fingers and slowly, carefully, tuned…it…in. WOKY, The Mighty 92! The Beatles owned it all then.

I'd be in bed with the radio on
I would listen to it all night long
Just to hear my favorite song
You'd have to wait but you could hear it on the AM radio
Yeah, you could hear the music on an AM radio

The most exciting time was dusk. Some of the stations would sign off for the day, then the AM signals would go into free-for-all, and depending upon the time of the year and the weather, you would pick up stations from all over the country, which just thrilled me to no end. WLS was the big boy from Chicago, so I always got that in, but at night some of the 50,000 watt powerhouse stations would drift in and out, and who knows what else. I’d hear the famous DJs from New York City, funny call letters from Canada and Mexico, country music from Tennessee or Louisiana, sometimes one of the “K” stations from the Wild West. My mind would float out into the night sky, trying to ride the waves, closing my eyes, feeling the connection between me, the music, the spinning records, the people who sat and played the music, for me.

Things changed back in '75
We were all growing up on the in and the outside
We got in trouble with the police man
We got busted gettin' high in the back of my friend's van
I remember 1977
I started going to concerts and I saw the Led Zeppelin
I got a guitar on Christmas day
I dreamed that Jimmy Page would come from Santa Monica and teach me to play
Teach me to play...

By this time, AM radio was burnt and fried. Nothing can keep that kind of energy going, and as the industry changed, the music changed, Top 40 tightened to Top 20, and pop turned to schmaltz. Again. FM radio, at one time the haven of classical music with serious, droning DJs, switched over to Rock (as opposed to Pop), and the growing, changing audience went there. The serious, droning DJs stayed. Stereos instead of transistor radios, long album cuts instead of singles, laid-back instead of frenetic. I went, too.

Over the years, radio was eaten alive by corporate playlists, the FCC, music industry greed, and listener apathy. Terrestrial radio is now, more or less, a wasteland of dull talk radio, manic Spanish-language stations, bloated and aging NPR programs, computer-generated Oldies, and pop stations that play song after song after song from “artists” groomed to sound exactly like the last one who made a profit for the office dudes.

Well I never pray
But tonight I'm on my knees yeah
I need to hear some sounds that recognize the pain in me, yeah
I let the melody shine, let it cleanse my mind, I feel free now
But the airwaves are clean and there's nobody singing to me now.

--Richard Ashcroft, “Bitter Sweet Symphony”

The revolution, or maybe the revision, is occurring now on satellite radio: XM and Sirius. If you loved radio, go there. Whatever you loved about it lives there, somewhere. For me, it is worth the money to pay the subscription, buy the equipment, to feel like those of us who really cared about the music, cared about sharing it, have a place to be. Connect.