Last night Eric spun some ancient tunes on his various hand-cranked machines inside the Circa 33 speakeasy. He’s known as DJ Powerless, because of the fact that no power beyond a little elbow grease is necessary to get down to those hits of the early 1900’s. It evoked a somewhat nostalgic feeling for – no, not my past life as a flapper – but the days when I was a song selector myself.
In college I was a weekly radio deejay. Four years of finessing records and CD’s to prevent dead air. Mostly it was an indie rock fest, but I liked to sample other genres – salsa, zydeco, electronica. When Gina appeared as a guest, we’d make “random selections” that usually turned out to be amusing, but forgettable.
Every hour, broadcasting a PSA was a requirement, although I’m not sure how many times this rule was followed by the lot of us. Still, it was kind of fun reading about a supposed “oracle” whose validity was proven by an actor who played Hercules. Or how to navigate back pain with the help of the American Chiropractic Association. Of course everyone’s fave was the 8-track featuring Erik Estrada, although I don’t recall the topic.
A number of my friends had a go accompanying me in the little room stacked with aging vinyl. Not everyone opted to be on the air, but Val was a recurring and vocal visitor my last semester. She and I created the rather hideous “Buttrock Power Hour Half an Hour” which took place at the end of each show. Between gnarly eighties ditties, we’d inject homegrown commercials about such inventions as the Hickey Dickey (all the coverage without the bulk) and the Pitcher Pal (a spin on the Beer Buddy, which forced a can of beer down your throat in one gulp).
Gina and I also had a few antics besides the random records we’d play. The best was a contest to give me a proper deejay name. A few people actually called in and when we announced the winner, a group of guys came to the station to claim their reward. Gina scrambled to the sundries shop downstairs to gather some candy as a prize. Upon their arrival, I realized one of the dudes was someone who’d approached me on campus my freshman year and I had then gone with on a semi-awkward coffee date. By the way, the winning name was Jen-U-ine, but I also went by Jenitalia on occasion.