Showing posts with label KOMA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label KOMA. Show all posts

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Music and magic in the night

The magic is gone. Radio is dead.

Not so long ago -- OK, long ago -- the moonlight brought magic into the lives of American kids, their rooms illuminated by the dial lights and vacuum tubes of bedside radios and their ears filled with the soundtrack of amazing worlds that lay somewhere behind four-inch loudspeakers.

Where now lives -- if one can use the term so loosely -- syndicated fare like George Noory's all-night freak show and angry AM-radio ranters used to exist a world where DJs spun records through the night, both across town and halfway across a continent.

LATE AT NIGHT, the old tube radio filled your room with the faint smell of ozone and the powerful magic of stepping into worlds not your own -- the kid in a burg like Baton Rouge eavesdropped on the big-time rock 'n' roll sounds of the big city via WLS in Chicago. Or he might have an entirely legal psychedelic experience in Little Rock -- Little Rock??? -- on KAAY's Beaker Street . . . or, closer to home over on the FM band, on "Loose Radio" or maybe aboard the Chad Noga Choo-Choo on "Rampart 102" out of New Orleans.

Up here in Omaha, kids lay in their rooms listening to the late-night "Good Guy" on the "Mighty 1290" KOIL. Or maybe to whomever was pumpin' out the hits on KOMA in Oklahoma City or KIMN in Denver.

Others, to be sure, had rigged up an FM set so they could tune in and turn on as their radio "guru" dropped the needle on some Moby Grape over on "Radio Free Omaha," and all the groovy cats of the upper Midwest dreamed dreams of Max Yasgur's farm.

We are stardust. We are golden.

We are no more.

THE MAGIC IS DEAD. Our radios -- and our alternate universes -- have collapsed upon themselves in a computerized corporate cataclysm, leaving shards of smashed tubes and smashed dreams scattered across the landscape of our culture and our minds.

After the Buy n Large Corp. bought and consolidated an entire medium, there was no room for such inefficiencies as magic. Soon enough, the airwaves no longer could support life at all.

The children of the magic took it for granted, and it vanished beneath mountains of financial, cultural and human debris. And BnL didn't even leave a Wall·E to clean up the mess.

NOW OUR CHILDREN go through life with cell phones and iPods wired to their brains. They'll never know the magic of conjuring up entire worlds out of a box of capacitors and electron tubes.

They'll do a keyword search for "theater of the mind" on YouTube. All the results will reference an album by Ludacris.

Now, if you will excuse me, I'm going to turn on my old radio -- the one with the glowing vacuum tubes -- and see whether I can tease the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. out of the ether from up there in Winnipeg. I'm becoming a fast fan of In the Key of Charles and Tonic with Tim Tamashiro.

Maybe somewhere out there -- somewhere beyond this all-American, all-capitalistic Iron Curtain of our own making -- there be magic.