Back in the land of blue sky. It's warmer
here too! The dash across the country and
back reminds me of how I made
a living for many years.
Then, as now, I suffer a
kind of cultural or location blurring.
Certain scenes become icons of a time, place
or feeling. This trip was a joy, but
also bitter sweet.
Some of these images tell the story.
One of the first jobs of my dad was here.
Just out of high school and before the Army and WWII he worked as nightwatchman at Warner Gear on the edge of Muncie Indiana.
The job was a kind of favor to a lad who had
been a star basket ball player. It was only a place holder job for dad. Later he played semi pro ball and took other work before the war changed everyone's world. But Warner
Gear kept turning and over the years thousands of Indiana
families built futures by the work done here.
Today its a windy echo of a Bruce Springsteen landscape
of broken dreams and shut down jobs.
So-- that was at one end of the sentimental journey.
The other pole was the premiere of the documentary
about an historic radio showdown, that also symbolizes
I was lucky to be on a team that put modern FM
radio into the American culture.
To look at us now it is, maybe, hard to imagine
these guys created a new genre of radio, promotion, public interaction and new formats that continue today.
Buster Bodine, Mike Griffin and Cris "Moto Groove" Conner
were new stars of a new kind of radio.
As film editor Brad Schushard looks on,
Al Stone, in the cap, signs posters next to
the AM radio star Roger W. Morgan.
Just out of college, Stone assembled a group of young
broadcasters to try something new. They ended
up toppling the vaunted and legendary WIFE, the highest
rated AM station in the nation. WNAP became the
first commercially successful FM Rock station in America.
The rest is history.
On this evening the old adversaries were colleagues in the celebration of the historic battle.
In the film, this gent, tells just a little about his own infamous reputation of being the king of the groupie magnets. He said he "never really needed a good opening line." He said he had "a role to play and he lived up to his name- Fast Freddie Fever." The stories of his experiences
are legion. Most will probably remain untold.
Fans of that era paid a premium price to attend
a private VIP reception that featured a limo ride
to the red carpet premiere. Here Mike Griffin
is again the center of attention, giving his fans
It was humbling to see and hear how the
sold out theatre audiences (they had to add a second
showing) reacted to moments from the film.
Even more humbling were those who approached us at the gala or the opening recalling something we said or did
all those years ago, that meant so much to their lives and in some cases had a life long impact.
We were doing a job, having fun being innovative but without a thought to the fact we were making history, let alone influencing lives in the manner
we heard about on these evenings of memories.
Bitter sweet in its own way.
The trip back gave me a private moment to pay
respects to my family members.
I'm sure that doing so on a frigid, windy, gray day
turned up the emotional vibe a mark or two.
I had to wonder what my parents or my grand parents
would make of what has become of modern media
and cultural tastes. Could they believe that some of
what we did left the mark it has?
It's also bittersweet to know those
once young guys and gals, like their fans, are becoming
nostalgia, though still comfortable and
even talented, in the spot light.
Buster Bodine's antics in the follow up
Q&A after the film being a case in point.
I told people who asked what I was doing now
that I had become a "villager," acclimated to quiet
and serenity far away from hubba hubba and hoopla.
It was fun to be back on the television stations,
even keeping a tight schedule, and being in the spot, because I knew it was a bit like Cinderella. The ball would soon be over. It is wonderful to be back in the village.
There is blue sky and sooo much warmer!!!
See you down the trail.