And now today, on the first sweltering day of summer in the northern state where I currently reside, my mind casts back to similar seasons past, landing inevitably in 1989. That was my first summer at the college radio station, which felt like the true and proper beginning of my adulthood. The whole school year prior, living in a residence hall and going to classes, was still somehow an extension of what I’d always done, just with an odd sleepover component. But that first summer, I lived in an apartment, figured out my own meals, and balanced the competing schedules of a pair of jobs. These were wobbly steps towards a self-sufficient existence, but steps nonetheless. And, since one of those jobs was Program Director of WWSP-FM, I spent an awful lot of time on the air.
As I written before, there’s something special about having control over what radiates through a transmitter tower during the summer months. With the windows just outside the studio thrown open wide and the speakers turned up to their shuddering peaks, it can feel like broadcasting to the entire world, every booming beat setting the pace of the sweaty hustle and bustle. I loved shifting the mood of a playlist to suit, say, the settled peacefulness of late night or the romantic gloom of a rainy day, but there was nothing quite as satisfying as breaking off a set that ideally suited the bright, sunny summer. During that first summer, it was luckily a fairly easy task to fulfill. There was a new Hoodoo Gurus record in rotation.
The Australian band had a gift for big, booming irresistible pop rock songs, precisely the material that felt in perfect sync with days cast in unrelenting brightness. I wouldn’t necessarily argue that their 1989 album, Magnum Cum Louder, is their strongest overall, but it did seem genetically engineered to take over college radio’s summer, from its propulsive lead single forward. Suiting my preoccupations, there was even a song about baseball, or at least a song that borrow heavily from terminology of America’s Pastime to address the band’s struggles with label bosses mildly flustered by the lack of crossover success after several albums of tuneful toil. If talking about the song allowed for a handy, if admittedly cheesy, verbal segue into promoting an upcoming broadcast of a Stevens Point Sixers game, all the better. (Admittedly, the Sixers weren’t a big, impressive team like the Stevens Point Cheese Curds, but they played good ball.)
Listen or download –> Hoodoo Gurus, “Where’s That Hit?”
(Disclaimer: As one of the hyperlinks above indicates, I’ve written about a track from Magnum Cum Louder previously, noting that I believed the album to be out of print as a physical object that could be purchased from your favorite local, independently-owned record store in a manner that compensated both the owner of said store and the original artist. I guess that’s still the case, but I’m honestly not sweating it all that much. I share this track not as callous theft, but as encouragement to go out and buy some Hoodoo Gurus music. Or any music. Music is great and the record store needs your support. I will now add that I will gladly and promptly remove this file my little corner of the digital world if asked to do so by any individual or entity with due authority to make such a request.)