Radio Nights: a music education via the airwaves | Off Piste | Bend | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon
The Source Weekly’s reporting is made possible by the power of your support. Be a part of it!
Pin It

Radio Nights: a music education via the airwaves 

When I was young, my family lived on the flanks of Cheyenne Mountain outside Colorado Springs, Colorado. My father would scan the horizon to the east and say, "on a clear day you can see Kansas from here."

When he wasn't making pronouncements like that he was playing music. Not of his own making but recorded music. After work and all day, every day on weekends, he had music playing on the phonograph.

By the time I got smart enough to know more about music, I started to kid my father that if a composer or bandleaders name had a "B" in it, their music was to his liking.

I learned first about the three big "B's"- Bach, Beethoven and Brahms although I was way more interested in my father's other B's: Bix (as in Beiderbeck), Benny (as in Goodman) and Basie (as in Count).

I also found his third B group -- Broadway musicals -- interesting. And there was always a 33rpm recording of the latest hot musical show that got played to death when my father came home from a business trip to New York City.

The musicals started with "Oklahoma" then came "South Pacific" and "Kismet" and so on for years.

But while my father was playing lots of good music, I was getting turned on to a lot of things musically I'd never heard before via my small console radio. The same radio I put under my covers at night, so only I could hear it and was certain it was well hidden when my parents came to check to make sure I was in bed.

It was there that I first discovered the joys of living at over 6,000 feet on a mountainside with a somewhat interrupted air space between our house and the mysterious Midwest and South,

So at age 10, I started twisting the dial to listen to all this nighttime radio on stations that seemed to come in as clearly as if they were located in downtown Colorado Springs.

My first big finds were those just-over-the-border megawatt stations in Mexico that played a lot of C and W and offered things like: " 100 Baby chickens for $19.95".

Tired of them I was running down the AM band one Sunday night when I came on a voice saying: "this is WWL New Orleans. Now let's join Tony Almarico and his band down at the Steel Pier."

Suddenly there was Dixieland jazz coming out of the radio followed by inane patter like, "Well Tony how are the boys in the band doing tonight?"

"Great, we're just happy to get some toe tapping music out over the air."

OK, it was cornball but I loved the fact that I was listening to a station from New Orleans. I mean New Orleans was way over there on the map on my bedroom wall.

So I kept my dial set on WWL only to tune in on Monday to find Tony Almarico and his band gone replaced by a show called "Moonglow With Martin."

Martin, I can't recall his first name, was the epitome of what I would come to know as cool. He played jazz records and introduced them in this mellow baritone voice that never betrayed any excitement about anything including some burning hot recording.

"Here's one by Stan Getz I think you'll enjoy. With Stan are Lou Levey on drums,etc"

I figured why not give the show a listen. I did and from that first listen well my teens I was a regular listener to "Moonglow With Martin".

In the process I learned about music my old man had yet to put on and play at full volume around the house.

Through "Moonglow", I became acquainted with Duke Ellington, with BeBop, and the post Bird/Diz/Monk/Trane bop "Cool School" of Getz and assorted West Coasters like Chet Baker and Gerry Mulligan.

In short, "Moonglow With Martin" became my music education.

And when I got to college and had my own radio show, I modeled it after "Moonglow" right down to having some background music playing softly behind me when I talked.

Later when one of my professors asked me what had sparked my interest in music, I had to confess what my father started a guy named Martin finished over the airwaves under the covers of my bed in Colorado.

Pin It

Comments (16)

Showing 1-16 of 16

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-16 of 16

Add a comment

Today | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu
Something Dirty Live

Something Dirty Live - Worthy Brewing

Sat., May 28, 7-9 p.m.
Submitting an event is free and easy.

Newsletter Signup

Get Central Oregon daily news
directly in your inbox

Get Social

Latest in Off Piste

  • Can't Wait for the Face-Kini Trend to Hit Bend

    • Aug 20, 2012
      More reasons to slap one of these on, according to The Indian Express is they are,"also extremely effective at repelling insects and jellyfish." Read about even racier Face-Kinis here: http://inventorspot. More »
  • A New Way to Protect That Gorgeous Mug of Yours

    • Aug 20, 2012
    Sick of the claustrophobic greasy cloud of sunscreen, fellow sun bunnies?  It drips into your eyes if you're active and sweating and sometimes has a pasty white sheen, but in Bend sun protection is mandatory.   The other problem is the way it makes you feel like you're being buried alive. More »
  • Bust a Love Move Today

    • Aug 9, 2012
    Long before Gay A. Bradshaw (one of Oregon’s own) put a name on them, trans-species relationships have continued to baffle, challenge, and warm the hearts of non-human animals and humanimals alike. More »
  • More »

More by The Source Staff

Want to advertise with us?

For info on print and digital advertising, >> Click Here

© 2022 LAY IT OUT INC | 704 NW GEORGIA AVE, BEND, OREGON 97703  |   Privacy Policy

Website powered by Foundation