Friday, December 19, 2008

Mourning Show

I will miss Dave Morey. He's been retiring for a while now, and I confess that I've never been a fan of long goodbyes. But now it's here and I confess that the reality of the situation has just begun to dawn on me. On those mornings over the past sixteen years that I have awakened to my radio going off and I didn't hear Dave's voice, my first instinct was to wonder: What's up with Dave? He has become part of my morning ritual, as he has for countless listeners across the Bay Area. It helps that I fit neatly into that demographic that his radio station lovingly refers to as "Fogheads," but it runs deeper than that. On any given weekday morning, it was Dave's voice that I heard before anyone else's.
My morning dial was set on KFOG back in 1992, and that's where it has stayed. That's really the heart of the matter, but it's not to say that it has always been a non-stop lovefest. There have been plenty of mornings that I have caught myself talking back to the radio, and even a few more when I made the rational leap of calling the station to share my feelings. I knew he wasn't addressing me directly, but I have a very deep-seated need to share my ideas and concerns. Even if it means waiting on hold.
I remember a time when I called in to share my favorite Christmas films: "Brazil," "Gremlins," and "Lethal Weapon." I'm not sure if my tongue-in-cheek selections played as well to a larger audience, but I felt the need to add my voice to all those other listeners who weren't nearly as clever as I was. Judging from the relative silence coming from the studio end of the line, I may have been alone in my fixation. The fact that I felt comfortable enough to call up and share my own perverse tastes speaks loudly to the connection I have felt with this group of people.
The only prize I have ever won off a radio contest came from Dave Morey's "Request-O-Rama." Because I knew that "The Chipmunk Song" received one of the first Grammy awards, I got a pair of tickets to see REM, as well as a home version of Jeopardy signed by Alex Trebek. Those came as icing on the cake. And the very tasty cake was getting Dave to play my request.
I had been listening for years, and had never won. I was either stuck listening to a busy signal while other callers got through, or nowhere near a telephone where I could have used my knowledge of trivial bits for good, or at least the chance to hear one of my favorite songs. This caused me to plot and imagine what my request would be on the off chance that I actually did ring through. Would it be as clever and obscure as my favorite Christmas movies? I decided that it really should be Springsteen, because one can never get enough Bruce on the radio. But what song?
Clocking in at nearly ten minutes, there was only one choice: "Jungleland." When I told Dave what I wanted to hear, there was a pause. "Are you sure?" he asked. I had a notion what the problem was. Ten minutes is a big chunk of time on the radio, especially on morning radio with traffic reports and news and weather and plenty of other regular features. But Dave played it. Even though they were still scrambling to catch up two hours later, Dave played it. I got the tickets and the Jeopardy game. And I got to hear "Jungleland" on the radio.
That was years ago. I'm still listening. When the holidays are over and I the radio pops on in the darkness, I'll still be listening, but that question will still be there: "What's up with Dave?" My mornings will never be quite the same.
Vay con Dios, Dave Morey.

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