No Static At All

Being a child of
the 1950’s and 1960’s,
I got the opportunity
to see some marvelous
technological changes
come into play
right in front of
my very nose.

I mean,
my very ears.

Frequency Modulation,
for one.

Awwww….
don’t go all
he’s going too technical for me …”

— that’s simply the
real name of what
everybody today calls F.M.

And I have to tell you,
despite all the other
interesting and cool
innovations of the day,
my favorite was
always F.M.

I guess you had to
make a long road trip,
like I often did with
my family, from Florida
to the Northeast
to see relatives,
armed only with a
funky, clunky, junky
A.M. transistor radio,
to really understand.

The A.M.
(or, Amplitude Modulation)
Band not only represents
major suckage today,
but sucked just as bad,
(and maybe even worse)
back in the 1960’s.

Nothing but fast talking,
over-emoted DJ’s babbling
a vapid stream
of un-conciousness,
playing the same 10 damn
records over and over,
not to mention the
commercials every 3 minutes —
— which really put
the ‘AD’ in AD Nauseam.

And the static —-
man, everytime you rode
into outlying metro areas,
under an overpass,
or a plane flew over,
or even turned onto
a route with high grass
on the shoulder-
the static made the
radio unlistenable.

You had no choice
but to take your
mono-earphone out
and tolerate your
brothers and sisters
whining and whingeing.

You could only hope
that one of those
BIG POWER 50,000 watt
stations would fade
in once in a while —

— like WLS in Chicago,
or WSM in Nashville.

Of course, country ain’t
exactly my thing,
but compared to listening
to my brother grousing
“ARE WE THERE YET”
4000 times in that special
staccato-falsetto he saved
for such occasions,
it was sweet music to
my ears for sure.

Then, one special day,
the girl down the street
got a new fangled
AM-FM stereo —
and I couldn’t get enough
of messing with that thing.

“F-M” you say?
Experimental, you say?
No commercials, you say?
No static, you say ?
You Don’t Say !

Of course,
I’d love to tell you
that this story had
some kinda romantic
ending, like me and
Susie ran off together
and started our own
Border-Buster
million watt FM station
playing nothing but
album-cuts off classic
rock and roll albums
and a nightly show
featuring China Valles
and some really
cool jazz, man.

But sad to say,
Susie soon took up
with the co-captain of
the JV Lacrosse team,
and I had to get
(beg/borrow/steal)
my own FM receiver.

Still, I do kinda have
my own version of a
1960’s FM station
to this day —
it’s called my IPOD.

Sometimes,
just sometimes,
mind you,
you have to say
“Thank Heaven”
for technology.

That’s my story,
and I’m sticking with it.

!!!! HOY !!!!

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17 thoughts on “No Static At All

  1. This was fun to read AND informative!
    I still listen to the radio…online and in my car.
    I remember, as a kid, saving up and buying myself a transistor radio with ear-buds, so I could listen to what I wanted to listen to, and not have to listen to what my siblings were playing! 🙂
    HUGS!!! 🙂

  2. tidiousted says:

    DAB and DAB+ is introduced all over Norway and they are closing down the FM net county by county. I love DAB, run connected to my pc I can reach DAB stations all over the world and we already got nearly 50 local station that I can listen to anywhere. But you and I are the same age, so I love FM too and hate the fact that they are closing it down. I have so many great memories connected to FM car radios and portables that the fact that the net will be gone here fills me with sadness. Luckily I live so close to Sweden that I can still listen to Swedish stations on my FM radios 😉

  3. ktz2 says:

    oh the radio memories… LA had a 50,000w AM station in the 60s that had to have its transmiter in MEXICO to get around wattage limits..that station had Wolfman Jack ! Sometimes it came in late at night in the SF area, around 550+ miles. .
    Then SF had the freeform ‘hippie’ stations KMPX & KSAN… The Dead, Janis, the Airplane. . would drop by the station.. those were the days !

  4. J.C. Scheff says:

    This is wonderfully pieced. I especially like the vintage advertisments. I’m big into history and love studying media and how it has evolved and shaped us as a society.

  5. julespaige says:

    I remember radio well… I think I still have an old chunky thing – Gets a few FM stations but only the one local AM that I listen to (in our dip of a valley comes through on it) is filled with static. So I listen to my ‘Oldies’ on the house receivers and good speakers.

    Hubby was into Ham radio for a bit as a younger guy – I’d never make it with Ham radio static was the norm. Maybe still is. I’m guessing while on Navy tours getting good reception was dicey too.

    • When I was in service, I had a very cool multi-band shortwave radio that got international stations , so reception (assuming I had a place to string the aerial) was never much of an issue — and of course, in the fleet they had their on-board R.E. systems– personal in/out HAM radios seemed very cool, but also awful technical and expensive !

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