Forgotten 45: "Personally"
Perhaps the mega-consolidation of radio stations, so that even tiny stations in the middle of nowhere can be part of a corporately programmed chain, will mean the end of the phenomenon, but while it lasted, it was pretty common: A small-town station would get the idea that the best way to attract the widest possible audience would be to play as wide a variety of music as possible. Up to a point, it can work--but beyond that point, cluelessness lies. I once worked in a market that was home to the single most clueless radio station on Earth. I once heard them segue from Bruce Springsteen into the Glenn Miller Orchestra, but that wasn't their all-time prizewinner: That would have been the night they went from something by Motley Crue into Shelley Fabares' 1963 hit "Johnny Angel," which was being played at the wrong speed.
Stations with a clue would generally be a little more subtle in trying to achieve a broad mix. At KDTH in Dubuque circa early 80s, we did it. Our music was mostly soft country--call it urban cowboy or countrypolitan, they both fit--but we mixed in some AC material during the day and harder country at night. Our definition of "soft country" was fairly broad--it included then-current superstars like Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton, but also certain records by the Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, and others on that California soft-rock continuum.
Like, for another example, Karla Bonoff, whose 1982 hit "Personally" we played for a while. The first time I ever heard it was the first afternoon I played it on the air, and I liked it so much I played it again right away. It's got one of the all-time great DJ talkover intros, and it's hooky in about half-a-dozen different ways. I heard it again this morning, at the bagel shop--yet another great moment in the history of background music--and you can hear it now by clicking here.
(Columbia 02805, chart peak: #19, August 7, 1982)
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