Wednesday, January 22
Hello independent radio listeners, my name is Ray Wilcox I am originally from New Jersey and moved to San Francisco in the late 80s. I thought I would share a little about my life with you so you can try to figure out why I play what I play. Good luck with that.
One of my earliest memories was seeing Jackson 5ive on the Ed Sullivan show. I walked up to TV (which I never really paid attention too much before) and turned it up all away and almost pushed it off the cart it was on.
Even before that, my favorite toy as a toddler was a “close and play” which was a record player that you closed to put the needle in the groove. My cousin Robbie gave me a stack of 45 records with no sleeves and my mom would leave me out on the screened in porch as a two and three-year-old. Those little vinyl discs would keep me occupied, and fascinated for hours on end.
My grandfather had a machine that made records that burned the groove on the vinyl from the inside of the record to the outside. I only saw this contraption once or twice but it fascinated me. I was one of those children that used a pacifier for way too long, into my fourth year. My parents offered up a trade for the binky, my bargaining chip of my choice was my first tape recorder. If I remember correctly it was one of those Panasonic’s with the retractable handle and the little condenser mic on the front. That thing brought me years and years of enjoyment I wish I still had the tapes. My friends & I would make up voices & mimic characters we loved, we also created commercials for things like worm farms and grandparent rentals. Later on I would record all my favorite songs off the radio and make mix tapes, I think I was about seven years old when I started to buy 45’s of my own.
The record buying was a direct result of listening to the radio at that time, Cousin Brucie on WABC in NYC was my go to station. I was obsessed with the radio, I listened all the time. I can remember at the time hearing certain songs that had a strong effect on me, “Riders on the Storm” by the Doors and “Nights in White Satin” by the Moody blues and scared the living daylights out of me. Alternatively songs like “ABC” and “I Want You Back” by the Jackson 5ive and “Ball of Confusion” by the Temptations made me crazy giddy. In fact I remember having the cardboard 45 of “I Want you Back” cut out from the back of a honeycomb cereal box, I think it was the first record I required on my own.
Some other 45’s I had at the time were
“The Ballad of Snoopy & the Red Baron ” by The Royal Guardsmen
“Light my Fire” by the Doors, “For Once in my Life” by Stevie Wonder, and “Wichita Lineman” by Glen Campbell.
Around the time I was 7, I met a new neighbor named Jon, and he too was a music fiend and radio geek. We bonded instantly on music as music freaks do, and started talking about the top 40 and what we love about the radio. Over the next few years we managed to cobble together a mixer and our own gear and we would pretend to be on radio station. I think we had a couple turntables, a cassette deck and an 8-track player. We would spend hours queuing up 8- tracks and cassettes to the right song and pretending to be on the air. Sometimes the younger neighborhood kids would come over and we convinced them that we were really broadcasting. They would go home and say they picked us up, we even had on-call number, I don’t remember what they were. I imagine if we were ham radio buffs or into science, we could have actually gotten some kind of transmission kit from Radio Shack and actually broadcast a signal, but we were just into the music. Jon went on to be a real radio pro, working at XM as a vice president when they started out, now he’s at Clear Channel. I tried my hand at professional radio just after college, but it sucked more than I can descrbe. ANYWAY, here I am at Radio Valencia, and I’m happy to be here. If you are interested, I will continue the life story and journey to independent radio, but for now, I will leave you with a simple trajectory that might explain what you are hearing on my show. Here is a quick list of HUGE influences on me growing up.
That seems like the right place to wrap it up for now. See you next time. Enjoy the show.
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