This weekly plucking from the box of chocolates that is my digitized music collection has been recurring long enough that I now have the chance to commemorate a momentous anniversary five years after the last time I felt compelled to burst similar metaphorical streamers into the air. Five years ago, I wrote about the twentieth anniversary of a radio show called Meatball Radio. Written, produced, and performed by the students of WWSP-90FM, the campus radio station at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Meatball Radio was a sketch comedy program, not all that dissimilar from other such radio- and audio-based endeavors as the Firesign Theatre or The National Lampoon Radio Hour (but it was really and obviously Saturday Night Live from which we were swiping). The earlier “One for Friday” entry liked to above details about the genesis of the show, while also providing a reasonable sense of how we put the program together on a weekly basis, as long as you bear in mind that “weekly” is used loosely.
It amazes me that it’s now been twenty-five years since we first put Meatball Radio on the air. Of course, it also feels like ancient history to me, one of those things that happened so long ago in my personal past that it’s difficult to distinguish the actual memories from those mini-legends we concocted about the production of the show, the embellishments we proudly shared over beer glasses of Point Special at Ella’s or maybe a brimming sack of Hot ‘n Now burgers. We were proud of the show we created, even when it was uneven (which, truth be told, was every last time out), in large part because we understood the effort that went into it. I’m sure I grumbled about it plenty at the time, but I look back fondly on my hours in the production studio stitching together a complete sketch while leaving all the verbal fumbles and poorly-delivered jokes on the floor. It took a lot of our time to pull the show together, which only increased the pride in the finished product, no matter how wobbly the wheels.
There were some attempts to keep Meatball Radio going, but realistically the show lasted for one semester, ending when the most passionate creator and cast member graduated in December. At the end of the semester, we asked the cast members to vote on their personal favorite sketches and we used the tally to compile a “Best of” episode. “Bovines from Hell” was the second-highest in the vote, outranking other sketches that proved to be award winners. What can I say? We were in Central Wisconsin. We liked cow jokes. In commemoration of the silver anniversary of my time as a amateur, aspirational, junior-level Not Ready for Primetime Player, I share another bit of Meatball Radio. Just remember: “They’re not ordinary cows.”
Listen or download –> The Cast of Meatball Radio, “Bovines from Hell”
(Disclaimer: Officially, this sketch is the copyrighted property of WWSP-90FM, so if they want me to take it down, I surely will. I have a feeling they’re going to be okay with this, though. Not that this track represents the cast’s second favorite. I’m holding the top sketch in reserve. For now.)