In my very first post here I briefly mentioned that I used to DJ for my college radio station. Hell, that show, without question is the precursor to this blog because it gradually became my first platform to just talk shit AND not get in trouble for it. But that’s a story for another time because how I got this fucking show so easily requires a bit of a back story anyway. Oh, by the way, I won’t be mentioning which station it is because I don’t feel like giving anyone any undeserved attention.
So, I decided to give my station a shot in April, 2004, thinking I wanted to be a DJ. I liked the idea of being able to play music and not be seen. To this day it’s amazing how UGLY some of the top DJ’s in the country really are. But since they sound great who the fuck cares? I went through two meetings, one with the personnel director and the second with the station’s chief engineer…part super genius…part angry, bitter, and an all around asshole. If Gregory House was a real person he’d be this guy! What made me laugh inside was in despite only being in his mid-30’s, the combination of his skullet and his awful 70’s looking moustache made this fucker look like an ex-member of the Doobie Brothers.
If I’m not mistaken I took the test a good week later and passed with just two wrong answers. I originally chose to join the Music Department because that meant I could review records for play as well as maybe even dictate what got played at all, the first CD I ever reviewed being Black Label Society’s low key masterpiece, Hangover Music, Vol.6, which I was also able to burn and leave at the station while I took the original copy home. But long story short the director at the time let no one do anything with her, frustrating me, so I joined the Engineering Department. I had wanted to join Production but, at the time, it was mandated that you couldn’t do shit in production unless you knew how to run the board properly.
Some time goes by, the middle of summer arrives, and I was approached by the newly appointed engineering director about being his assistant. Why? Neither he or anyone else wanted the only other person around to be involved because that’s how lowly they all thought of him. We’re talking a really nice guy too. And there you have it, proof that even college radio isn’t clean of slimy politics! So, from then on until I left for good in early 2007 I was the Assistant Engineering Director of my station. But of course there was something else I wanted, and part of the process I didn’t even have to go through.
While I had applied for a show to start in the fall semester, I didn’t have to make an audition tape, and all because I was an engineer. In other words, I already knew how to operate the board. Before I was told that was even getting my first show I was approached by another DJ from the Production Department about covering him because he wasn’t able to get out of work. It was easy enough, his show had a specific format which he wrote down for me – all I had to do was follow the bullet points. So there I was, fresh from sitting in with the two BEST DJs in the whole station at that time – both actually being alumni volunteers at that point – and DJing my first show.
It was a little nerve wracking, I was already engineering and cohosting someone else’s public service show on Mondays for a month at this point, but this was the first time I was on my own. After reading off the most important bullet point of this guy’s show he surprised me by calling me up. I didn’t think he was listening but here was telling me I rock and even complimenting my voice. And after I finished up, that angry chief engineer – who can still go suck a dick and die – even told me he liked my voice.
Thursday, September 9th, 2004. This day would see the launch of the Metal Mike Show at 4pm. My then guitarist, Chad, jokingly suggested I call myself Metal Mike. A manager of mine at work suggested Iron Mike, but some at the station just didn’t like it. For a few weeks prior to this I had hand drawn ads and plastered them all over the walls of every single building on campus, as well as on the walls of music stores where I lived and even in places in Manhattan, especially the now defunct Manny’s Music on w 47th St. The guy whose show I covered for read the script for my station promo and immediately asked if he could read it on mic. It was hysterical hearing him read “It’s time to give the devil his good name back…Hell never sounded so good!”, with as much bass as he could get out of his voice.
With two hours to go I began writing down my playlist for the next three hours, trying to find a balance between the music I wanted to play and the music I’d be required to play. There were two other metal DJ’s who happily pigeonholed themselves to two extremes, one to Black Metal so underground the bands themselves don’t even know if their demo tape is even circulating, and another guy that loved to cater to his drunk following in England, playing nothing but Swedish Melodic Metal and Power Metal. Power Metal…GAY. I wanted to be the balance between those two guys, being a fan of almost all types of Metal…expect Power Metal or anything related to it. I’d like to think I did a good job with that over the next two plus years.
Ten minutes to go. I walked in to the On-Air room where another DJ was getting ready to wrap things up, this was on of the two people I sat in with. Now this woman had an incredible radio voice. She’ll be oh so shy talking to you but when she’s on air she gets so sensual to the point that you’d think it was a different person. Looking on the instant messenger on the computer screen I already had to messages. One was from my dad, who had tuned in on his office computer to hear me, the other being some jackass in the station busting my balls “I CAN’T BELIEVE THEY ACTUALLY GAVE YOU A SHOW!” I think I know who it was. She left, I played a few PSA’s to get settled in, my show’s promo, followed by my favorite station ID track…and off we go!
I had Ozzy open up my show with “Miracle Man” off his classic 1988 album, No Rest For The Wicked. This was Zakk Wylde’s recording debut with him and I was such a Zakk fanboy at the time. Also, that opening riff is just huge! Nerves hitting me so hard, I couldn’t help but practically scream right into the mic once the song ended. I knew I needed to calm down but I was so nervous I just couldn’t stop myself! After screaming out the station’s phone number for requests I immediately but on Death’s “Bite The Pain”, a request for one of those two metal DJ’s I mentioned before. I tried to do everything I could to calm myself down. It took awhile but as time went on I got a bit more comfortable…until someone came to check on me.
It was 6pm, two hours down, one to go. Someone asked me how I was doing and as soon as I said ok it went downhill. I put on Black Sabbath’s “Fairies Wear Boots”, only for it to start skipping. So I quickly put “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” on the second CD player…and THAT started skipping. So I pulled out Metallica’s …And Justice For All CD, put on “To Live Is To Die”…and THAT began skipping. FUCK! I had no choice but I go back on air and try to save myself. Luckily for me, the rest of the show went off without a hitch before the next DJ came to relieve me. All in all I had fun; I clearly had a lot of work to do as far as calming my nerves so I don’t scream into the mic, but this was the beginning of a time that would consume the next two years of my life.
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