Monday, November 1, 2010

Marinate Until Saturated

OK, I'm marinating in it...San Francisco Giants World Series Baseball.

I'm a Radio Guy. I've loved Radio and radios since I can remember. I'm in love with the spoken word as well as the written word. I blame radio. I had the lucky fortune to be born in the San Francisco Bay Area in what is now known as "The Golden Age of Bay Area Radio"

Born in the early 50's, radio was ubiquitous in my childhood. Oh, TV was there, but TV was more Event Oriented back in those days. TV went off the air at bedtime. There were TV Shows that everyone always watched...your Ed Sullivan Shows, Jackie Gleason Shows...back then TV meant Variety Shows.

Growing up, I didn't know a single family where the television was on 24/7...not one...even big families with a bunch of kids.

My Dad was a radio Guy. A Civil Engineer, Dad was a hands-on guy, not just an idea man. Dad built stuff. He built a boat, a house full of furniture, and all the little nick-nacks that clutter up the furniture. Some of his dining chairs are still in use at the Ancestral Digs 50+ years after he made them.

I was too young to remember the Shop he built the furniture in, but I remember every shop since that one. They all had one thing in common...when you entered the shop and turned on the lights, the Radio came on too.

Back in the day, Dad listened to KSFO. "The World's Greatest Radio Station" was their slogan, and it was not an idle boast. KSFO was a popular music station in those days...Sinatra, Patty Page, Mel Torme, Steve and Edie, Big Band Dance Music, and the occasional Comedian. To me, all that was just filler (though my music library today features all those artists as well as My Generation's tunesmiths)...just filler between the DJ's. KSFO had so many Hosts that went on to the Broadcasting Hall of Fame...Don Sherwood, Al "Jazzbeaux" Collins, Terry McGovern, Ed "The Moose" Syracuse, Carter B Smith and more.

The hosts on KSFO all were storytellers, weaving "Theater of the Mind" with their ongoing shtick, casts of imaginary characters, and running gags on listeners and management. Irreverent good fun most of the time.

To me radio was always about the talk between the music until the Underground FM Revolution began in San Francisco. With the good quality of the FM sound, and the Freeform Programming, music came to the front of the class. I said goodbye to KSFO and hello to KMPX-FM.

The between tunes babble was way different on was the 60's Counter Culture on the air, but the FM Guys could spin a yarn, and the way many of the creative FM DJ's had of weaving the tunes into their presentation could be electric.

Eventually, business caught up with the new normal, and KMPX became KSAN...things just never seemed the same to me after that. Eventually the 70's happened to Music Radio. Disco, and Programming Services ended the Freeform FM's Heyday...not long after that I discovered Talk Radio.

Don Chamberlain's "California Girls" on KNEW was a "Relationship Talk Show" in the station's reality it was the first "Sex Talk" Show. Chamberlain's show only took women callers. It was heady stuff in it's never knew what you'd hear. Over the first summer I listened to Chamberlain's show I found other radio programs to keep my mind on a good simmer. (I was painting houses with a high school buddy in those days, and we found painting mind-numbingly boring)

We listened to lots of Public Radio. KPFA had lots of radio drama in those days...even serials. I fondly remember their multi-day presentation of "Day Of the Triffids" that was SciFi Gold...and really scary!

In time I discovered Owen Spann on KGO, and Talk Radio totally replaced what was left of Music Radio on my playlist. The discovery aspect of music radio was dead...killed by the Programming Services. Album Rock stations rose from the Underground Radio Ashes...playing the same 50 FM Hits...50 times a week...I was done.

Once hooked on Owen Spann, I found Jim Eason, Dr Dean Edell, Bruce Williams, Michael Jackson (The British Chat Host, not the moonwalking singer)...and loved 'em all...

...Which brings me to my point. Even with all that talk radio, there is one flavor of talk radio that TruckeeDave can't abide...

Sports Talk
I can't, and I barely can even try to give it a chance...I find it to be so much static...all Fanboys and retired sports figures hashing and re-hashing wins, losses, and interminable sporting minutia. I don't go there...Period.

So how come I've been listening to Sports Talk all week? San Francisco Giants Baseball...that's why!

The Giants are such a good story this season! Scrappin' their way up to the top of the baseball world from the NL West basement over the final three months of the regular's a feel-good story in an otherwise noisy world. Can't this election be over any sooner than Tuesday? I'm dreading the inevitable post-election litigation in every remotely close race that'll drag this one into December or worse...

OK, I've become a FanBoy...I'll admit many ways I'm the same 10 year old SF Giants fan that I was in 1962...when my Giants lost the World Series to the New York Yankees.

Oh, I'm not going wall-to-wall sports talk...but I am listening to the extended pre- and post-game Giants' Shows...this story of the 2010 Giants is so much fun...the misfits, oddballs, cast-offs and home-grown rookies are just plain Playin' Baseball...fundamental, hustle-up baseball...a different hero every game...even the East Coast-based "Sports Media" haven't told their story...and it's a good story.

Clearly this year's World Series Broadcast is in the hands of TV Guys...not Baseball Guys.

Sadly, the TV Guys aren't telling the Giants' Story...the Giants' Story is simply...the Giants are playing baseball the right way. Sure they have great pitching, but no sluggers...just good defensive execution plus heads-up base running and situational hitting.

When I think about it, the story is just baseball...simply baseball, the Giants are merely the players...this season Baseball, The Game, is the star, and the story.

Just plain Old Fashioned Baseball played in the World Series like every one of the previous 105 World Series...there's plenty to talk about...for baseball lovers.

The Giants win Game 4 and take a 3-1 lead in the World Series.

As always in Baseball, some history was on display. 

The Giants' 23 year-old catcher Buster Posey- and 21 year-old pitcher Madison Bumgarner  are the first rookie battery to start a World Series game since Spec Shea and Yogi Berra in Game 1, of the 1947 Series between the New York Yankees and Brooklyn Dodgers

As with every Post-Season Giants Game...I turned the TV sound OFF and listened to the play-by-play on the radio. KNBR 680AM, the SF Giants Flagship is home to several future broadcast inductees to the Radio Hall of Fame...and John Miller who's already enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame. 

These guys are a treat to listen to. If you're out of range of KNBR, no problemo! The KNBR Feed is on


  1. Oh yeah, we are on the same page here. ^5's fellow radiohead.

    I'll always remember the Indy 500 on radio and, of course, Giants baseball. My memory fades and may be faulty, but I distinctly remember Jackie Stewart racing one year and then being one of the announcing partners the next.

    My addiction to radio became confirmed by way of what were called "The Golden Age Of Radio" rebroadcasts in the 60's and early 70's. This was the "Theater Of The Mind" that had its heyday in the 30's, 40's, and 50's before television. From situation comedies to mystery, to hard boiled noir detective series, to science fiction, I became a fan of them all and still am. Who can forget "Henryyyyyyyy! Henry Morgan!", "We bring you ... Suspense!" and "Dimension X ...x...x...x!"

    There were numerous but sporadic rebroadcasts done by various Bay Area radio hosts. The only ones I can think of right now were Gene Nelson (somewhere in the middle) and John Gilliland (much later), but there were at least four others who did stints on different AM radio stations. Then came a revival in 1974 with E.G.Marshall and "Mystery Theater".

    As far as talk goes, I was a big fan of Russ "The Moose" Syracuse who was a disc jockey but I remember him with a quasi-talk program that nightly would feature "The Mystery Box". He was a kick.

    Of course, the coolest Bay Area music show of all time was hosted by Al "Jazzbeau" Collins. I still am a denizen of The Purple Grotto. You can checkout any time you like, but you can never leave.

    With the end of "underground" FM rock music and pop music radio withering into Disco, I discovered Lee Rodgers and then Jim Eason (thanks to you, Truckee Dave). I have been an addict of news-talk radio ever since. (By the way, when email became ubiquitous I submitted material to Eason and Rodgers. They both used it some of it, in particular the Shakespeare stuff.)

    By the way, around 7-8 years ago I emailed Ken Nordine to ask him some questions about the "Incredible But True" radio spots. He answered back! Sadly, I lost that email.

    Mr. Nordine (never a Bay Area radio personality) still has a weekly program in Chicago on some NPR station.

  2. I think you're right re Sir Jackie Stewart and the 500.

    I think Jackie followed the 500 right to ABC TV as well.

    Thank God for talk radio...the last outpost of creativity on the airwaves!

  3. Oooops, that should have been "Henryyyyyyy! Henry Aldridge!" in the above. Dang, the first thing to go is the, um, I forget.