Monday, January 02, 2023

Old DJs

Maybe it's just pure nostalgia.  I try to avoid it, but I'm probably just as guilty, if not more, of romanticizing things from the past.  Seeing the "Dick Clark" New Year show listed on the television, even though he's been dead for a decade, started me to going down that road.

There aren't any good DJs, anymore.  I'm not talking about the guys who do parties with turntables or electronic sampling.  I'm talking about the guys who introduce you to new music.

Sure, Dick Clark, Casey Kasem, Wolfman Jack and Shadoe Stevens didn't go out and find that new music.  In most cases, what they spun was already on the 'charts'.  They did, however, allow a bunch of us rural, isolated kids to hear what other kids liked.  You could either like it or not, but you heard it, and that gave you almost a connection to everyone else.

This used to be so important that folks would get prosecuted for trying to influence what got played.  Now, the only junk you hear publicized on the internet and TV are purely 'pay for play.'  The labels and radio stations used to have to take notice when people called in and requested a song.  Now, actively suppressing anything new that could compete with the cheaply produced and inane junk the companies put out is the norm.

Those old guys were born in the 20s, 30s and 40s.  Why weren't there any from the 50s or later?  I know the internet had something to do with it, but it seems like maybe those old guys had too much clout.  I think the companies wanted to be able to control what was popular.  They just wanted to dole out the money to the ones who'd pump out garbage that appeals to the lowest common denominator.

I'm probably way off.  I guess I just miss being able to turn on the radio and hear a familiar voice.  It's not like I'm a huge pop music fan.  I liked a lot more of it back then, though... when it seemed like popular musicians were self-made and heroic.