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Waxing Nostalgic

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Recently, a group of boy scouts came through the radio station for a tour. While they were in the studio, I showed them how we play our music and then explained to them how it was played on air when I started in the business. Needless to say, when I told them we used to spin 45s, I received a multitude of blank stares. Why WOULD they have any idea? In fact, there are examples of what I would call MODERN technology that would now be considered dinosaurs.

Yes, it’s interesting to explain to people of a certain age–people a LOT older than 7–that we used to play music off of little round wax discs sporting grooves–check that, one long continuous groove–that had a hole in the middle surrounded by a glued-on label. And they often find it fascinating. “Wow, that’s weird.” “How did you play it in your car?” Then I’d go into the 8-track discussion during which a frown would often greet the news that while portable, an 8-track tape would cut off in the middle of a song and start back up on the next track. You’d think I was describing a Victrola. Well, I started thinking about the Internet. The first time I ever heard that word was at a Mary Chapin Carpenter concert in St. Louis in 1994. One can argue, or maybe even conclude that today’s high school seniors don’t know a world without the Internet.  I wonder how big of a head scratcher the Netscape web browser would be. Or bag phones for that matter. This is why technology is endlessly fascinating and becomes moreso as you get older. Today, if you stacked every video game ever created–one on top of another–you could probably reach Pluto, or the planet formerly known as Pluto anyway. Imagine how engrossing it would be for today’s gamers to play a game of Pong. Try explaining to certain folks what a VCR is and then tell them that they used to be as big as a chest freezer and cost well over a thousand dollars. It’s all about keeping up and dancing as fast as you can, I guess. And here I am with two left feet.

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