Yes. What’s your favorite radio station?
I don’t mean right now because if you’re a Region Rat that’s pretty easy. WJOB, baby, the voice of the Region.
I mean from your whole life. That gets me to thinking about radio at different times in my life. Starts with WLS in the early 1970s playing AM hits on the big blowtorch that you can hear late at night in northern Alabama on a drive to Disney World. That feeling of a connection to your home, your Chicago, even though you’re in a place that your dad won’t let you touch the faucet in the filling station bathrooms.
Sittin on the Dock of the Bay
Three Dog Night
I Can’t Get No Satisfaction
Have you ever seen Rain
Billy, don’t be a hero, don’t be a fool with your life.
Me and Julio, baby
Go, go little Queenie
All sorts of amazing music on WLS and its competitor WCFL and the cool jocks talking through a slight reverb to a young ruffian in Munster, Indiana, staying up late in bed listening to a transistor radio on the nightstand.
And then there’s the birth of sports talk radio. Continuous arguing about the merits of cover-2 started out unique and welcome home. I remember driving home from golfing in the late 1980s from a course on the west side of Chicago and there was a guy on 820AM talking to John Paxson for half an hour. Most enjoyable ride ever down 294 to Indiana. 820 morphed into 670 and then came ESPN 1000 and all of the sudden I didn’t mind waiting outside Strack & Van Til’s grocery store for my wife to finish shopping. The calming effect of a good interview with Mike Ditka, Bill Walton, a sportswriter from Sanford, Florida. All sports talk is good, just some is better than others.
Like pizza, movies, chili and walks around Wicker Park. And sex.
And then in Berkeley hanging out in my room at the co-op (don’t say "commune") attempting to study scientific calculus but instead listening to the best rock station ever while reading and re-reading the columns of Herb Caen. I wanted Herb Caen’s life. Write a column and then go drinking around the Wharf and the many other good bars of San Francisco.
It could be argued, I suppose, that I have succeeded in setting up a Region version of Herb Caen's life, but then again that could be nothing more than half a dream.