The Spirit of Radio

At the start of Description 70, I mentioned that I did the episode I did then inspired by something I had listened to the previous night. On The Rock 94.9 in Oshawa (the last place I had a full-time radio job, when it was owned by other people), David Marsden, one of the architects of CFNY (in fact, they were called "The Spirit of Radio"), did a tribute to one of the last men to inhabit and breathe life into what he built, DJ Martin Streek, who had killed himself days earlier (and a couple months after being let go by what had become "102.1 The Edge"). Left entirely to his own devices, Marsden spent his five-hour shift playing music Martin loved listening to and playing, as well as sharing his memories of the man along with reading the memories of others. Those others seemed to fall into two categories: people who knew Martin as a kid, and people who were with him at CFNY over the years. In the latter case, what emerged was a feeling of family which is seldom sustained in radio to this extent. 102.1 The Edge themselves will be having their own tribute tomorrow from 5-8pm eastern, and I understand it will include many messages from CFNY alumni. While that's great, it will have a lot to do to live up to Marsden's tribute a week ago last Thursday.

As I listened to the show, lying in bed, letting it wash over, I was able to record some of it, in the hopes I could share it with people who had missed the show at the time. To their credit, The Rock 94.9 and David Marsden have allowed all five hours to be made available as .mp3 downloads. Here they are available via Toronto Mike's Blog with the playlist all in one place.

I point this out for a couple reasons. CFNY and Los Angeles' KROQ were basically the first alternative stations in the world. In fact, they were alternative stations years before anyone came up with the term "alternative" to describe them. Once that term became a format, things began to go downhill. So there is historical relevance here. Also, podcasters and others sometimes aren't sure what I'm talking about when I say radio used to be different, and that while nothing was perfect by any stretch, it had elements to it that now exist in much of podcasting and other social media: an intimacy, an honesty, a sense of community even if you were by yourself. Even if you listen to a part of one of those .mp3s, I think you'll get a sense of what I'm talking about. If nothing else, you'll get some great music.

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