Let’s travel back to 1978 shall we? I was 20years-old and going to college at the New York Institute of Technology, in Old Westbury, NY, or NYT, as we’ll called it. It was my second year there and I was having a lot of fun.
I had joined the school’s radio station, WNYT when I first got there in September of 1976. I already knew the General Manager, Greg Monti and the Chief Engineer, Dave Haber. It was because of them I went to NYT, and partial blame goes to them for me wanting to get into radio instead of having a real career.
This particular weekend is still a bit of a blur to me, and I’m not sure what time of year it happened, though I want to say it was in the winter, before the Christmas break. I also seem to remember that several of our DJs were at a college radio convention, so instead of my one regular shift on Sunday, I ended up doing three shifts total.
The first shift was on Friday night from 6 pm to 10 pm when we kicked off our Top 40 weekend format. We were loud, raucous and pretty well toasted. I arrived at the station around 3 PM after my last class, and my favorite beverage, at that time, was making the round.
Jack Daniels (JD) and I were old friends, so it was nice to grab a hold of the bottle and take a drink with all my friends. There were probably half a dozen of us at the beginning, and many more as the night wore on.
By 6 PM, I was flying high and ready to rock and roll. Luckily, I had some help in the studio, so I wasn’t really flying without a net. Being on the air is fun at first, but being drunk at the same time is hilarious. At least it is at first. Once the JD starts to wear off, a big decision needs making: is moderation the new word of the night.
I honestly don’t remember what I did. I also don’t remember how I got home that night either.
On Saturday, I did the 2 pm to 6 pm shift, and stayed at the station until 10 pm or so, hanging out with everyone. We went to the Old Brookville Diner for some food, and then headed to someone’s house for a party. Again, the little details are gone. I don’t remember whose house it was. What little I do remember involved copious amounts of alcohol and not driving home.
I woke up on Sunday morning around 8 am with a hangover, and my friend Bob Alfano was in the same boat as I was. I was living at home at the time in Plainview, and Bob lived in Seaford, so I drove him home. I got home around 9 am, told my father to wake me up at 12 pm, and I fell into bed.
I had to be back on the air at 2 pm, so after my father woke me up, I had a quick shower, some food and drove back up to the radio station in Old Westbury. I muddled through another 4-hour shift, made more difficult by the DJ doing the shift before me.
He was a real pothead, so the studio had a smoky haze to it when I opened the door. I walked into this wall of cannabis, and started to get ready for my show. It was so bad that I did get a contact high. It didn’t help that I also took a couple of puffs from the joint he so kindly offered me.
The first two hours of that show sounded much different from the last two hours. It was almost as if two different people were on the air. Mickey Mouse did the first half, and Magic Matt did the second half. I listened to the air check afterward, cringed and destroyed it.
If there is anyone out there in radio that ever had a weekend like that, I hope you’re smiling and nodding your head, thinking how cool were the good old days? I really miss my 20s.
Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.
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