Monday, March 15, 2010

Radio Stations: UR Doing It Wrong

So, originally this was going to begin with a sentence stating that I recently returned from a vacation to the location pictured below. At this late date, however, that no longer seems appropriate. So rather, let's try it like this: Earlier this year, I was fortunate enough to go on vacation to the US Virgin Islands. Even I can't manage to complain about that. The islands are beyond gorgeous, and feature large bottles of rum priced to sell. I win/won. While there, I spent the majority of my time relaxing as much as possible without actually exposing myself to the sun, for the dual fears that I would immediately break out in first-degree burns and that passing planes would crash on my head after the pilots were blinded by the reflecting light. Thanks to generous aid from sunblock whose SPF was measured in exponents, I succeeded admirably on both counts (The planes may have crashed elsewhere. Don't know, don't care). However, there was one day in which I broke from this absolutely backbreakingly rigorous schedule and stayed sober long enough to drive the rental jeep on a sightseeing tour of the island. Random things will be written about it after I start a new paragraph for no apparent reason.

That was fun. Anyway, let me tell you a little bit about the road system on the island of St. John. Firstly, most of the island is uninhabited national park, as the island was gifted to the United States government by the Rockefeller family, who evidently are richer than God, and had quite the number of anti-trust legal matters they were trying to 'settle'. Presumably this worked. Or all the surviving family members are in prison. Whatever. Anyway, the point I was trying to make before I went of my meds was (I think) that most of the island's roads go through the wilderness. And not just any wilderness. Steep, steep wilderness. I would estimate that you could base a very good roller coaster on the St. John road system. I think there may even have been a loop at one point. But that is not the fun part. Because, you see, the engineers who designed the highways, in their infinite wisdom, decided that the best time to make the roads do sudden, erratic 270 degree turns is when you are furiously attempting to convince your rental jeep that it wants nothing more than to go up the 80 degree incline it has been presented with, a thing it is telling you very clearly it has no intention of doing. Also, did I mention that you drive on the left-hand side of the road? This is not because the steering wheels on the cars are reversed, like in that weird Europe place. Rather, this is so the driver can see exactly how close he is to the unpaved, unpacked, sharply dropping off shoulder. This is very important when, say, there is another car on the road, because the roads were apparently designed for Matchbox™ cars. Somehow I survived (Though there was one close call involving a pack of island donkeys and a water tanker, driven by a maniac who I can only assume is currently deceased), which is how I can report to you that the Virgin Islands are doing the radio station thing all wrong. You're welcome.

You see, where I come from, radio DJs are supposed to play the songs and get out of the way, with the exception of 'Morning show' hosts, who should be rounded up and shot. In the Virgin Islands, this is not the preferred method of DJing. I can definitively say this, because I must have listened to every radio station in the region, as they were constantly fading out due to sudden turns around entire mountains. And, with the exception to the modern RAWK station (Station name: The Buzz. Of course), all the DJs followed a very specific formula, which can be approximated as follows:

1. Begin song.
2. Allow song to play for upwards of 30 seconds, but no more than 45 seconds.
3. Temporarily mute song (You cannot pause it. The song must continue playing, unbroadcast).
4. Yell something. It does not matter what you yell, provided it is unintelligible.
5. Unmute song for up to five seconds. Ideally less.
6. Mute song again.
7. Yell something else. Slur it like Shane MacGowan with a Caribbean accent.
8. Repeat forever, or until the listener changes stations, whichever comes first.

Seriously. Every radio station followed this format, which is terrible. It may have been the sudden elevation changes that did it, but I believe at one point I began bleeding from my ears. I blame the radio. However, I bravely continued listening, because the alternative was making conversation, and when you're on vacation on a tropical island, even that mild endeavor seems like too much work. Sadly, however, this method of playing songs over the airwaves was everywhere, preventing me from fully appreciating the fine music my ears were assaulted with, which included (I swear this is true. Sadly, I cannot find the name of the song anywhere) a Caribbean techno version of the hokey-pokey. Yes, that one. I almost drove off the road in sheer hilarity and befuddlement.

At the end of the day of adventure, I found I had suffered many wounds from my epic journey across an absolutely gorgeous piece of land. For one thing, there was the blood seeping from my ears. I should probably get that checked out. At one point when there was an especially vicious assault on what remained of my eardrums, I jammed my finger stabbing at the radio. And that was it, actually. Two wounds. Fortunately, there was cheap rum waiting for me when I returned to the resort. Sometimes life is hard.


Lemming said...

Hey a post!

your mom said...

Have you been to the doctor about the ears yet? And why are there no ads on the side any more for me to click on and make you big bucks?

HOLLA(R) said...

Hey a comment!

Also, the ads will be explained in a post once I bother to update the site layout to remove them. Though since I already talked with you about this over the phone, the upcoming SHOCKING REVELATION might not be all that thrilling for you. Sorry about that.