I’m Facebook friends with a WXRT DJ who happened to be on-air a few weeks ago when my husband and I were enjoying a quiet night to ourselves after the baby had gone to sleep. We were listening to the radio, drinking a bottle of wine and making meatballs when on a whim, I decided to Facebook-message the DJ with a request.
“Can you play some old Cake?” I asked, per Steve’s request. Steve was titillated; he had never submitted a request to a DJ before much less had it played on-air.
Sadly, it was not to be. “I'd love to, but Terri played Cake right before I got on the air, which means I am 'blocked' from them for the rest of the night,” my DJ friend wrote back. “Try me another time, for sure.”
Steve was disappointed, but I know we’ll get a request some other time. Of course, getting a radio request isn’t the same now as it was back in the old days. There was nothing preventing Steve from getting out his Cake CDs or buying some Cake on iTunes or even just listening to some from Youtube. Not too long ago (gather ‘round, children), getting a DJ to play a song for you was the only way to hear something on-demand, short of going to the music store and buying a CD. “Remind me to tell you my good DJ request story,” I told my DJ friend, and here it is.
It was my junior year of high school and I was in my bedroom at home, filling out one of my ten college applications, which was a tedious process. So, to procrastinate, but also for inspiration, I called up WXRT and placed a request.
“Can you play Ringo Starr’s ‘It Don’t Come Easy?’”
“I should be able to do that for you. How are you doing today?”
“Okay. I’m filling out college applications. It’s going really slow”
“Ooh, where do you want to go?”
“I think Georgetown.”
Not too much longer later, after a commercial break, the DJ said, “This one comes to us from Evanston, from a girl filling out college applications. Cross your fingers, cross your toes, she wants to go to Georgetown.”
And then, through space and time, I heard this:
That song and that station will always have a special place in my heart thanks to this experience. (Oh, and I got into and graduated from Georgetown, too.) I wish I could remember which DJ this was, since I’m pretty certain he’s still spinning over at the station, but whomever it was made for a great memory of old school radio.
Do you have any thrilling memories of a DJ honoring one of your requests?