Recently in my ears
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Earlier tonight, I shook hands with Michael Halloran. He had just finished cleaning out his office.
He said, "I'll see you later."
I responded, "Yeah, see ya."
I know, it doesn't seem like much of a deal, but it was mildly surreal. The casualness of it shook me a bit. I can't imagine when we might see each other again, but I'm pretty sure it will happen.
If you listen to FM 94/9 or follow the goings-on of radio in San Diego, you know by now that Halloran was let go from the station. I don't understand exactly what happened or why, but it did. It upset a lot of people - listeners, as well as everyone here at the station, including myself.
When I found out, I talked to my wife about it. "He was a big part of why I got into radio." I corrected myself: "No. He is entirely why I got into radio."
Of course, like a lot of folks in San Diego, I was aware of him from his time at 91X, which was some pretty good radio when he was there. That wasn't what did it though. It was KUPR. It didn't last long, but it made a huge impression on me.
It was the middle of the 1990s, I was working in a comic book store. I don't remember how I became aware of the station, but I know that it hooked me immediately. My work day was helped immensely by the sounds funk, surf guitar, classic country, the occasional crooner, some techno, swing... genre didn't matter. What mattered was that the music was good. Nobody else was playing Johhny Cash on the radio. Or Los Straitjackets, alongside James Brown and Frank Sinatra next to Beck and Jamiroquai. Ashley MacIsaac and Wilco. Come on! This was how radio should be. This was the work of Michael Halloran.
I don't think the dial on the shop's stereo changed once I found that station.
Until one day I unlocked the doors to the store, went to the back to turn on the music (before turning on the lights - priorities!), and out came something country. Okay, KUPR played all kinds of stuff. But then it played another country song. And another. I was confused at first. Then a bit concerned. Slowly, I became upset; more than I'd ever been in my life, about anything.
The good music. Was gone. That... How... Why... I got lost in my own head trying to come to terms with it. The best radio station ever to have been in San Diego was gone. The music, gone. I was livid. My life would never be the same, having experienced that. How could I go back to listening to classic rock or "alternative" ever again?
It might sound a bit exaggerated, but I assure you, I had trouble getting anything done that day, I couldn't think correctly, I was tense. I couldn't remember being that passionate about anything, ever.
I had to be a part of correcting this somehow.
That day, the day Michael Halloran's KUPR shut down, was when I decided to back to school, take some classes, do whatever it took to get into radio.
NSFW - careful!
Today is Casey Kasem's 77th birthday (born April 27, 1932). If you were listening to FM 94/9 this morning, you might have heard Tommy play an audio clip that has a bit of infamy in radio circles with Mister Kasem doing quite a bit of seemingly out-of-character swearing.
The version that he played was edited to keep to FCC away. Below is the unedited version, recorded in the mid 1980s. This is entirely Not Work Safe. Seriously. Be careful where you play it.