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My first radio program was on a carrier-current station at my New York City high school in 1978. We salvaged an old Army transmitter and tuned it to a somewhat empty AM frequency so that we could broadcast throughout the building. We had one rickety turntable that was cued by holding and releasing the platter. I remember playing Yes and Glenn Gould in the same hour, enjoying the freedom to follow my intuition instead of a playlist.
My college radio station, WRPI, put out 10,000 watts on FM and served the Capital District of New York State. I had a Thursday late-morning show, and the Governor’s office would regularly call for requests. It was a bit intimidating. I would comb the record library for old British Invasion records to play with the new Devo and Talking Heads albums we were receiving. After college, my friends and I built a small FM transmitter to inflict our musical taste on my Long Island neighborhood.
My next real gig was at The Mighty 1290, WGLI, in Babylon, New York. This was a commercial oldies station, meaning I had to follow a format clock and receive a minuscule salary. I learned to nurture creativity within the confines of structure. This was old-school radio; the station played mostly 45s and LPs, many of them original pressings. We had jingles and sounders, cart machines, contests, and network news that needed precise timing.
I’ve drawn upon all these experiences to create Short Stack, a throwback to a time when radio was fun, and music wasn’t synthesized on a laptop. Tune in Thursday mornings and hear for yourself.