September 11, 2001 seemed like a pretty ordinary day at 105.5 Triple M in Madison. I was trying to get over a cold, Jonathan wasÂ back from a week long vacation and the 4th annual Madison Blues Festival had just happened a week earlier.
But quickly it was apparent that this day was like no other for me, Jonathan, or anybody else.
We had just finished the news and sports around 7:50 when we got a call on the M line. It was Triple M listener and Madison singer Lynette who called to tell us she just saw on TV that a plane had hit the World Trade Center.
"What?" I dashed into the newsroom down the hall to check out the Associated Press wire, and at that point there was only a one-line story that had come across. It wasn't even an "urgent" story much less a bulletin. It read, "Plane crashes into World Trade Center, according to television reports." I went on the air with it, and didn't think much of it. (Read the Associated Press timeline here).
Then came news of the second explosion, and I remember saying on the air that I hesitated to consider this a terrorist act.
But as the news kept coming in it became more and more obvious that it indeed was the work of terrorists. Regular programming was suspended on Triple M, and there was little any one could do but watch in horror. We only had one tiny little TV in the radio station. It was in the newsroom and staff members kept coming in to get the latest news.
I called my friend whose husband worked for American Airlines and found out he wasn't working that day, felt relief.
I couldn't leave the radio station...there was really nothing I could do to report on this huge story, but I didn't want to be alone.
When I did leave work,Â the gravity of the situation really hit home when I turned on my TV and found coverage on every station..even MTV! What in the hell? I know this seems ridiculous, but when I saw it on MTV, the situation became surreal. I remember just sitting alone in my apartment in silence.
Later that night when I knew my family members would be home, I called them to touch base. None of them lived in New York, but I just needed to reach out. Hear a familiar voice. Something that I knew was real, and could hold onto..even it if was just over the telephone.
So on this tenth anniversary, I'm reminded how important family and friends are. Hold them close. You never know when you won't be able to.
This is something I promise to make a bigger priority from now on.
MTV is turning 30 years old this August, so I thought I'd dip back into my memory banks to the early days of the music TV network..back when they actually played videos!
Not every city had MTV right away, but Stevens Point was, amazingly, an early adapter and Jones Intercable or whatever cable company we had back then got on the MTV train only a week or two after it premiered.
I wasn't a huge fan, but did watch it when there wasn't anything else on, or I was hanging out with friends and needed some background music while we chatted and drank!
These are my TOP FIVE MTV videos that for some reason have been imbedded in my brain for all these years (in no particular order).
1. "Land of Confusion" by Genesis. Reaction then: "Wow, they're getting so political! Awesome." Reaction now: "Puppets are creepy."
2. "Cry" by Godley and Creme. Reaction then: "Amazing visual effects, so trippy!" Reaction now: "Um, I guess that was kinda cool."
3. "Freeze Frame" by the J. Geils Band. Reaction then: "Peter Wolf looks a little like Gilligan." Reaction now: "I want that Danelectro guitar."
4. "Take On Me" by A-ha. Reaction then: "Cool pencil animation, lame song." Reaction now: "Cool pencil animation, lame song."
5. "In Your Letter" by REO Speedwagon. Reaction then: "I'm thinking REO might not be all that cool after all." Reaction now: "Kevin Cronin needs to eat a sandwich."
During my childhood in Stevens Point, hot days were often spent at the city's municipal swimming pool, which everyone called The Munici-pool.
It was spartan by today's standards. No water slides, or wave machines. Just a pool, with a deep end and a couple of diving boards (one a high dive).
I don't ever remember adults being involved in any way with our trips to the pool. It was usually a group of kids from the neighborhood walking there or riding our bikes. I bet the oldest kid was sometimes no more than 10 years old. But things were different then and we were all free range kids.
Admission to the pool was 10 cents. That's right. One thin dime. And that got you a wire basket to put your clothes and towel in. In exchange you were given a pin with a basket number that you attached to your swimsuit.
You weren't allowed to bring a towel into the pool area..towels were strictly for drying off afterwards. No toys either..no frisbees, water goggles, no water wiggles. If you were a real renegade you snuck in an extra dime to go diving for.
At 3:00 it was break time and the lifeguards got to go in for a 15 minute swim. Every one else had to take a rest, sunning ourselves while lying down on the hot cement. There were no deck chairs at the Munici-pool. There was also no suntain oil allowed. We didn't call it sunscreen back then..it was supposed to make you tan faster, not protect you from anything.
I had a lot of great times at the Munici-pool, even though I was a terrible swimmer. I almost drowned there once, but I think I'll save that story for another time.
On July 4, 1991, Triple signed on the air for the very first time, on the frequency of 105.5 on the FM dial. A little less than a year later, I started working there, doing afternoon news and writing commercials. It was a lot of fun, albeit low-paid. I was glad to be back in radio, a career which accepted me as I am, quirky, outspoken, and a little bit weird. I promise to share more photos of days gone by ( I have a scanner), but here's a staff photo from probably around 1993. Absent on picture day would be Sybil McGuire. And there's one guy that I could not identify if my life depended on it.
I'm smack dab in the middle, right below and to the left ofÂ Pat Gallagher and his mullet!
So why am I so dressed up?
Okay..by popular demand..here are the names, as I remember them.
Seated: Leslie Gavin and Nate Cohen.
Middle row: Tammy (Turbo) Terwelp, Mike McCoy, Kitty Dunn, Annie Brewer.
Back row: Greg Reisch, ?, Pat Gallagher, Ed Johnson, Kevin Fulk, John Urban.
Triple M's 20th birthday is on the 4th of July. That's got some of us waxing nostalgic around here.
I've been at Triple M for a little over 19 of those years, and I've got pictures to prove it. Here are a few.
1. I had just started working at Triple M when I got a crazy idea for a promotion before the Genesis show at Camp Randall. I had this friend that people said looked a lot like Phil Collins..so we brought him in and he played the part to the hilt. Free photos with "Bill Collins." The photographer in this photo is my future co-host, John Urban. They guy in the wacky shorts is Ralph Cohen.
2. John Urban in the old Triple M studio on Odana Road. He put up with me from 1993-1998.
3. With Jonathan at the second annual St. Patrick's Day Parade, March 1999. That other dude is Radio Free Madison's Rick Murphy. And yeah, I'm the one in the funny hat.
4. Live From London (Wisconsin). Our first photo shoot with roadkill.
5. At a Madison Blues Festival..with Westside Andy. Awww, shucks.
Sarah Palin's been getting some flack for her reinvention of the Paul Revere story. So I thought I'd present evidence of my advanced knowledge of United States history, even at a very early age.
I believe I wrote this fine little essay when I was around 8 years old,Â because I was bored.Â I have no idea why I saved it; I found it among a bunch of childhood drawings that my mom had saved.I thought I'd share it with you in honor of the nation's upcoming birthday on July 4th. (Looks like it got cut off a bit on the right margin).
I don't know, but I'm pretty sure the 8 year old Kitty could give Ms. Palin a run for her money on U.S. history.
Pip pip, cheerio!
Cheerios Cereal turns 70 this year, so they're getting some free birthday publicity. I figure I might as well add to that.
I wasn't real surprised when I learned that one out of every 8 cereal boxes sold contains Cheerios, because there are just so many different flavors of Cheerios to choose from these days. I was never a fan of the original Cheerios, because they didn't have nearly enough sugar. But now I'm a fan..especially of the chocolate, fruity, multi-grain, and apple cinnamon varieties.
Some of the old Cheerios commercials were great. One that sticks in my mind had a jingle that went like this:
"Gonna start the day the bright way, the bold way, the get up and go way, gotta get a bowl of them oats. Get a pow, pow, powerful good, good feelin' with with Cheer-cheer-cheerios."
I was hoping to find that commercial on youtube so I could share it with you, but to no avail. But I did find this one which is humorous, although before my time. Enjoy.
Summer was a different when I was a kid.
I wasn't shuttled from one organized activity to the next. I wasn't imprisoned in some kind of certified summer program that promised me enrichment in any way.
I did take a few classes..the random art program, guitar lesson, or swimming lesson.Â But for the most part the kids in my neighborhood were allowed to go where we pleased, just as long as we checked in for meals and came home when the street lights came on.
We were allowed to walk to the pool (called the Munici-pool) in Stevens Point, with no adults present. Sometimes there would be a group of 6 or 7 of us, with the oldest kid probably no older than 11 or 12.
A couple of times a week we'd wander over to a nearby grade school for what we called "Playground School" run by the local recreation department, where college age kids taught us crafts or organized a game of Duck Duck Goose or Monkey in the Middle. There was no signing up for playground school. No fees, no permission slips, no forms indicating emergency contact numbers.Â That' s where I learned to play Nok-Hockey and Caroms. It was a blast!
Sometimes my friends and I would just ride our bikes somewhere far away (okay a mile or two) like the "underpass," and we'd eat a lunch we packed on Reserve Street, under Highway 51.
I understand that it's a different world these days and that kids can't just roam free. But that makes me sad.
Summer is here and the time is right..for special summer only commercials.
I listened to a lot of radio when I was a kid, and even though I should have been spending all my time outside, I did sit in front of the TV quite often.
That means I have some memories about commercials that only rain the summer, like the ads for Bain Du Soleil suntan oil. I always thought the jingle went like this.."Bain Du Soleil for the Central Bay tan." Apparently it's St. Tropez..where's that again?
And does anybody remember QT? The stuff that turned your skin a peculiar shade of orange? Good thing you can't see that on the black and white commercial..
I've lived in Madison since 1989, and have experienced some pretty amazing concerts. I've been fortunate enough to have seen the Rolling Stones at Camp Randall twice, attended all the Madison blues festivals, and have seen some pretty amazing acts in small clubs. But some experiences stand out more than others, and for reasons you might not expect.
MOST TICKED OFF LEAD SINGER
I wasn't in the audience when Ryan Adams flipped out at the Barrymore because some one yelled out "Summer of '69," the title of a Bryan Adams hit. But I was at the Club De Wash when Peter Himmelman couldn't stand the loud bass thumping coming from the gay bar below. He did the entire solo show standing on the bar, his boots just a precarious foot away from my cocktail.
SOMETHING THAT NEVER HAPPENS, HAPPENS
When you attend a concert and you yell for an encore, you usually give up when the house lights come on. But some very determined Barenaked Ladies fans really wanted to hear Be My Yoko Ono as a 1995 show concluded at the Barrymore. When the lights came on, I headed for the exit..only to hear the band return to the stage to fulfill the crowd's demands. Yeah, that was pretty cool.
I've seen Sonia Dada play at Rose Records, a shop that used to be on State Street. I didn't plan on going to their show later that night at the Crystal Corner Bar, but Paris wooed me with his super low bass voice. I still get chills. I also saw Dave Mason at Best Buy on Madison's west side last year, and I'm still kicking myself I didn't get to see R.E.O. Speedwagon when they played at Walmart a few years ago. (And no, I'm not making that up..ask Jonathan..he was there.)
INTIMATE SHOW THAT SHOULDN'T HAVE BEEN SO INTIMATE
When legendary Kinks frontman Ray Davies came to Madison on his Storytellers Tour, for some reason the show just didn't sell, and the Barrymore Theatre was almost empty.Â The show was fantastic not only because the songs are so great..but the stories he told were hilarious! You'd think he would have been ticked off about the low turnout..but he wasn't, and signed autographs afterward. I was so nervous that every one else would get a signature except me, all I could do was say "me, me, me" while holding my paper toward him. (I was successful and now have that autograph proudly framed.)
Have you heard the song "Rumble and Sway" yet on Triple M?
The singer sounds like a raspy blues dude who's definitely been around the block a few times....but surprisingly, Jamie N. Commons is only 23 years old!
He was born in England, but...
Last week, I decided I would try one new, healthy food a week, and asked my facebook friends to make some suggestions.
The first thing I tried was mango. I'm sure I've had other mango flavored things, and mango as part of something else, but...
There's only one thing that might be worse than the Neil Diamond/Barbra Streisand duet "You Don't Bring Me Flowers." And that's Jonathan Suttin doing his best crooning...doing both parts. Most unpleasant.
A lot of people liked this song...
Hail From: Boston
Song: 'The Wheel'
Album: Diamonds From The Penny Arcade
Sounds Like: Hole, Pearl Jam
In Their Words: "Alchemilla had been trying to write a ballad for a little while but it wasn't happening. There...
Last weeks challenge we thought went excellent! Of course we are a little biased.
The drinking song couldn't have been any better, or any less fun. We had a blast through out the whole process, and our performance rocked.
This week is an easy...
So the story goes Michael Jackson completed this song while watching cartoons with Paul McCartney. We'll just let that sink in for a moment.
Not sure what cartoons they were watching, but it must have worked because this song made it to number 2...
The Dalai Lama is back in town, sharing his message of peace and kindness with likeminded individuals, and the Wisconsin legislature. He also held a private meeting with Gov. Walker, who said he mostly listened to what His Holiness had to say (wise...
This duet by Ol' Blue Eyes and his daughter went all the way to number 1 back in 1967. It seems a little creepy that Frank and Nancy Sinatra are singing a love song. However, a lot of Triple M listeners were in the mood for it.