Radio, Radio: The Boom Box Years

When I was a kid, I’m talking ages 10-14 most likely, I listened to the radio constantly. I still have the boom box pictured on header of this website, which is out of service but presently in my bedroom closet. I also had a double-cassette boom box (with a tiny black and white t.v. – fancy!) that allowed me to tape from cassette to cassette, and overdub my own vocal on top.

From what I’m told, because I honestly don’t remember, I would make tapes and give them to family members with me as the DJ in between tracks. So basically, I was Lil Wayne in 1987, making mix tapes and giving them away. Most of those tapes are probably gone, discarded over time.

Buried in my boxes of audio cassettes, VHS tapes and various other out-of-date media I found one mix I made, sometime in 1986, which would have made me 11 or 12 years old. Here’s what was on that tape:

Tape, Side 1
Billy Ocean –  When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going
Los Lobos – LaBamba
Whitesnake – Here I Go Again
Fat Boys – Wipeout
Prince – U Got The Look
Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes – (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life
Huey Lewis & The News – Jacob’s Ladder
The Other Ones – Holiday
Ray Parker, Jr. – Ghostbusters
Richard Marx – Don’t Mean Nothing
George Michael – Faith
Chicago – Will You Still Love Me
Phil Collins – Easy Lover

Tape, Side 2
Fat Boys – Wipeout
Billy Joel – Second Wind (Only Human)
Richard Marx – Should’ve Known Better
Robert Tepper – No Easy Way Out
John Cougar Mellencamp – R.O.C.K. In The U.S.A.
Art of Noise – Peter Gunn Theme
Aerosmith – Dude Looks Like A Lady
The Bangles – Hazy Shade of Winter
Kenny Loggins – Danger Zone
Chicago Bears – Super Bowl Shuffle
Billy Idol – Mony, Mony
Bruce Hornsby – Every Little Kiss
Los Lobos – Come On, Let’s Go
Bob Seger – Shakedown

Listen: 12-Year Old DJ’ing Tim

As you can see, I had stellar musical tastes as a 12-year old. I’m not sure why the Fat Boys cover of ‘Wipe Out‘ made it twice. I was a huge Fat Boys fan at the time, and I was also a big Beach Boys fan, so perhaps that was just me being really enthusiastic. There are also two Richard Marx songs, which I can justify by saying at least they were the rockers. Otherwise I would be embarrassed.

Most days, this is what I would do – listen to the radio tape songs and make tapes. At night, I would put on the Buffalo Sabres hockey broadcast during the Fall and Winter and fall asleep to the games, and the Buffalo Bisons or New York Yankees baseball broadcast during the Spring and Summer. I guess it only made sense that when I got to college I would end up on a college radio station doing this same thing – talking up music I was excited about, and that I’m still doing that today with the Dig Me Out podcast. (Insert “Circle of Life” clip here)

UPDATE 9/10/11: Turns out I missed one key aspect of my “Boom Box Years.” Upon reviewing a tape of Buffalo Bills songs, which will be in an upcoming post, I discovered recordings of myself, probably between 1988 and 1992, calling into sports talk radio in Buffalo and Cleveland. I had no memory of these calls, so they were a total shock.

Buffalo Call-In Show, Talk to Fred Smerlas (note: Fred Smerlas was the Nose Tackle of the Buffalo Bills from ’79-89)

Cleveland Call-In Show #1

Cleveland Call-In Show #2

Cleveland Call-In Show #3

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