Friday, July 24, 2009

Whither Danger?

Danger is (& I quote) "liability or exposure to harm or injury; risk; peril; an instance or cause of peril; menace."

More than that, danger implies (& I still quote) "harm that one may encounter. Danger is the general word for liability to all kinds of injury or evil consequences, either near at hand & certain, or remote & doubtful: to be in danger of being killed."

Doesn't that sound like a radio show to you? No? What about radio personalities? Haven't you seen Play Misty For Me? No? Then go see it. You'll figure out how dangerous it is being a deejay, all alone, at night, in a radio booth, playing songs. For weirdos. Psychopathic weirdos.

Oh sure, it's more likely to be killed by a drunk driver, or in a mugging, or in a war, or in a terrorist attack, or onstage by a fortuitously thrown tomato, but why not on the radio? It can be dangerous. There's a government agency just waiting for the programmer to fail, man. To levy fines, to battle in court cases. Sure, it's not A-Team dangerous, but it's at least Perry Mason dangerous. & that dude only lost one case. Only one case! That's dangerous, man.

I'm just saying. There's a reason Self Help Radio would want to explore danger. It's a possibility.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Preface To Danger: The Most Dangerous Radio Show Of All

It was in Africa, a long time ago. I was traveling with a group of hypochondriac male prostitutes who had taken a wrong turn at Scarsdale. We had boarded a steamer to hang out with some party animal/Woodstock burnout named Kurtz at the Heart Of Darkness Bar & Grill when a Belgian waffler with a transistor radio & dead flies in his hair tuned into a frequency that is apparently only available on the equator.

I was fortunate - I had a head cold, which I always get when I have a cold head, which is the case when you sleep under an air conditioner & then wake up & go outside & it's muggy & drippy & over one hundred degrees Fahrenheit. So I didn't get the full dose of this radio show - it came at me muffled, like a radio show wearing mufflers, yet it still knocked me across the deck.

The prostitutes grabbed their ears & fell to the floor, writhing. They had been doing that all morning, but this time their ears were bleeding. I knew something was wrong. Summoning all the strength I could muster I began screaming the lyrics to "Macarthur Park" while simultaneously plunging my fingers deep into my ears (you know, exactly like Richard Harris). I rose with great difficulty, kicked the Belgian's spastic body out of the way, & stomped on the evil radio until it could broadcast no more.

I was safe, & other passengers, not close enough to the broadcast to actually hear it, but still suffering the damages, emerged from below deck to help me remove my fingers from my ears. No one could explain. No one, except the cragged & deaf boatswain who lit his finger to light his pipe & told us the story of the most dangerous radio show of all.

At least I like to think he did. He'd been deaf his whole life & never learned sign language, so he mainly made a lot of noise & laughed a lot. We were all very polite. He seemed to need to tell the story.

I never found out where the show came from, or even what it was called. I hope I never do. But I'm pretty sure the host was Dick Clark. Or someone who admired Dick Clark. Counting down hit records, stuff like that. Oh god. It was awful.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I Just Spent Four Hours Burying The Cat

Four hours burying the cat? Yes, he wouldn't keep still, wriggling about, howling.

Luckily the cats are fine. I just always hear high-pitched Monty Python pepperpots when I realize that I spent the whole day doing stuff & neglected this fine blog. That won't do, not with Self Help Radio back & ready to stumble. Er, rumble.

Speaking of stumbling, the first Self Help Radio on WMUL went tolerably well, although I made a ton of dumb mistakes, not the least of which is screwing up the recording of the show. (Sigh. It's like I am perpetually an awkward thirteen year old.) Since there's no recording of my first show, I put the playlist up & a mix of the music at I thought of leaving blank spaces so you can imagine my airbreaks - but your imagination is doubtless better than mine, so I'd hate to have to try to follow THAT.

Um, well, er, it's raining in Huntington & I just met a scary fellow named Gary at a dimly-lit Kroger while shopping for corn meal. You'll excuse me if I have nothing else to say at this particular point in time.

& don't worry! The cats are fine!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Go Time!

Wow, so, on a Friday afternoon in early May, 2008, Self Help Radio left the Austin airwaves & moved into a spare bedroom at my place. It had its fun once a week, making fake radio shows that some people called podcasts, & collected disability payments from the government. (It's not quite right in the head.) Both of us hung out, enjoyed the music, waited for my wife to get a job somewhere else, just so we could leave Austin town in search of other radio grounds.

Well. Wife got the job & we found other radio grounds. Tonight, at 8pm West Virginia time, Self Help Radio returns to the air. The space aliens who'll receive the signal in four hundred years need not worry any longer. After fourteen Earth-months, they can be satisfied that my reports from (& thus confirmations of) the dying human civilization will continue. I do it for them, you know.

The theme is "all night long." The radio station is WMUL. The show is almost ready, although it's been throwing up all morning. If you're in town, please tune in - it's 88.1 fm. If you're not, check tomorrow or the day after - it'll be sitting there, looking a little green, but strangely happy, I'm sure, to be Self Help Radio back on the radio.

Wow! Hey!

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Slight Return Of Self Help Radio

Hello. As you may or may not know (& of course didn't care), the wheel of fortune turned & shifted the Self Help Radio family (dysfunctional though it surely is) from the giant state of Texas to the smaller & more pancreas-shaped state of West Virginia. It's an age-old story - career bureaucrat saved from his apparently lifelong career by a more ambitious & undoubtedly smarter spouse's undoubtedly smarter & more ambitious career - & Self Help Radio has been fortunate to crash-land in a town which, unlike a lot of other places in the United States, has a non-commercial radio station which, though attached to a University, allows community volunteers the opportunity to show up, get involved, & shine on the airwaves. Here in Huntington, West Virginia, that station is WMUL - which, strangely enough, doesn't call itself "THE MULE!" - & the kind college staff there are allowing Self Help Radio onto their airwaves on Tuesdays this summer from 8pm to 10pm Eastern Yippee Time.

But wait! I hear you say. I've clicked on that link & the station doesn't appear to stream. Yes, it's true. They only stream their award-winning sports coverage. But you don't have to worry - I'll continue to archive the shows as soon as it occurs to me over at, & although I'll have to juggle the days some, I'll once again continue the daily blogging about that the themes are, incoherently & inchoately, so it won't be like I've been gone for three weeks & you didn't even notice.

Tomorrow, then, 8pm, Eastern time: Self Help Radio isn't really on "all night long," but the songs will suggest it is. Welcome the show back! Listen if you're local, download if you're not. It's a new era of the same old Self Help Radio!