On The Radio

Deep, silky-smooth, calming yet passionate, Rick's voice used to come through the tiny speaker of my transistor radio, muffled by the pillow and blankets stuffed around it so that my mother wouldn't hear it in the middle of the night. Oh, how I loved that voice. Night after night, I fell asleep with that voice in my ear and dreamed the dreams of a puppy-love smitten teenager.

I imagined a tall man with dark hair and sharp, blue eyes. His nose was straight and his smile easy. He moved in a feral and feline way, highlighted by simple jeans and t-shirt. I imagined him sitting wherever radio DJs sit with one leg up and leaned back while he spoke into his microphone with large hands rifling through countless 45s and LPs.

By the time Rick moved from late nights to evenings, the prized spot, I was out on my own and able to call the radio station. At first, it was just to make song requests like "White Bird" or "C'est la Vie," always surprising myself that I was able to utter a coherent word, my heart would flutter so much. "Sure, will do," and click, he was gone. And when my song came on with his dedication to me; why, I swear I'd swoon.

After a few months of calling whenever I gathered up enough nerve, Rick started to recognize my voice. "Hi, Theresa, what will it be tonight?" I'd ask for songs not played often, typically Loggins and Messina; Emerson, Lake and Palmer; and maybe a Jethro Tull or Led Zepplin tune once in awhile, just to build a little variation and unpredictability into my requests.

"Stairway to Heaven?" he'd ask. "Why that tune tonight? Do you think it fits in with what I've been playing?" And that started the little discussions between us about my chosen requests. It was funny at the time, but his voice would change just a little while he was talking to me, compared to his "on air" voice. Not much, but somehow it just sounded more silky, more personable, more interested. And he was interested in me!

"Wait a second, let me get the next song on." He'd just lay the phone down, I assume, on his desk and introduce the next song and get it going. Sometimes, I'd get a loud screech in the earpiece of my phone if I had it too close to the radio I was listening to. Feedback.

"You're Mama Don't Dance is it? Good song. But, I think I'd better play a few more before I play that one. Do you mind waiting a little bit for it?" Instead of hanging up, he'd get to talking about something else, and we'd chat away. Sometimes my request would be played, sometimes not, and I didn't care. Not one iota.

I'd call every night. Sometimes he would be too busy for a long conversation, so I'd just make a request. No big deal. I'd about cry, but it was no big deal. I got to the point where I could tell if he was busy or not before I'd call. And we'd talk about anything and everything. It was nice, relaxed, accepting, anonymous friends just shooting the breeze. Sometimes it would be ten or twenty minutes, sometimes two or three hours. I don't remember much about those conversations, only that they were a sort of connection for me that I'd never had before.

Then, it happened. Rick walked through the door of a party. Turns out some friends of mine went to high school with the infamous DJ Rick, and there he was.

Yes, there he was. All of about 5'5, scraggly hair, pitiful patchy beard, brown eyes, Neanderthal eyebrows, crooked glasses, slightly mushy and flabby looking with his t-shirt half tucked into saggy blue jeans - and really hairy arms. I was totally repulsed. I couldn't believe this was the same person I talked to almost every night on the telephone, nor the silky smooth voice I heard on the radio. My heart fell. I never said a word, never introduced myself, and got out of there as fast as I could.

And, I never called the radio station again.

(No, that's not Rick's picture, but it's close to what I imaged Rick to look like.)


  1. ROFLMAO! Thats what you get Theresa for being a secret lusting perve! When I was single and doing the bar thing with the girlfriends I cant tell you how many times some guy would try to talk you into the sack by bragging about his prowness. My answer was always the same. "Nah...I'll pass, the fantasy is always better than the reality anyway" Oh..dont we know how true that really is! lol! Hrslady

  2. Oh yes, the fantasy was definitely better than the reality! And it makes me feel terrible and superficial. He was just so disgusting to look at!

  3. Oh that has SO happened to me!! There is such a thing as a perfect face for radio I think.

    Great story!! ;)

  4. I agree, Grandy. I think they should get DJ jobs based on looks too, just like everything else. Dang, how many girls' hearts have been broken by radio DJs anyway?

  5. Great post :-) brought back many memories for me. I still have the DJ thing going on, tho I am happily married. I just can't let the whole hanging with the DJ's from my fav station go, so I started a blog for the station!
    And every girl has a crush on her favorite DJ, right?


  6. We had it the other way around in Finland. For some reason it seems that they hire people with speech defects on the radio and the TV. I don't know if they are going for that "signature" sound or what, but it's more a rule than an exception and drove me crazy. There is one of them that I remember well. Couldn't pronounce the rolling R that is required for half of Finnish words to save his life, and he was hosting a rock program on a radio. (Now let's tune on to this fabulous lock song by the lamones...") When I was 16, I got to hang out at the radio for few days, and oh, he wasn't bad looking at all. But the R, the R...

    PS: I don't think you're shallow. I would have done the same thing... But then again, people have accused me of shallowness. :D

  7. Oo, a DJ with a speech impediment wouldn't be good, no.

    I think that experience with Rick the DJ cured me of being shallow and superficial. I don't think I've ever done that again.

  8. T-

    Looking at it from the other end of the radio, there is a cliche that the better sounding the caller, the less attractive s/he will be. Sadly, it does work both ways.


  9. Sure, it works both ways, Mike! But, like Lisa said, everyone has a crush on their favorite DJ. But, put a musical voice with a good face and it's magic. Sigh.