How College Radio, Dr Demento, and Monty Python’s Flying Circus Turned Me into a Punk Rock Antiquarian

When I turned 13 in September, 1977, my musical interests and overall aesthetic were already in the process of being shaped by an assortment of DJs on college radio stations (and, to a lesser extent, on specialty shows on commercial rock stations.) The college stations tended to have weak signals, and I wasn’t too close to any of their transmitters, so putting myself in the way of this influence often took some doing. Windy days, for example, really got in the way of the project. I used to have a little mono, battery-powered radio that I would carry to various locations in the house, riding the tuning knob to try to catch this or that stretch of this or that DJ on this or that station. You never knew what you were going to get, or if you were going to get anything, and that was definitely part of the appeal. It gave the music a sort of mystique that a more straightforward process could not have offered. There’s a lot of romance and allure in uncertainty. That’s quite funny when you think of what things were probably really like in the control booth on the other side of the signal, but in an another way, the way that mattered, these patchy blasts of subculture really were what they sounded like to my naive ears: transmissions from another world.

picture of random guy in oak tree, not me
picture of alleged KALX mixing board found on the internet
Orgasm addict, ‘77

I am Dr. Frank. I write books and songs. Mtx Forever.