Sundown, you better take care if I find you creepin 'round my back stairs – Gordon Lightfoot
In the wee, wee, hours of the morning, when all us little people are sleeping and dreaming about that special someone, there is still a whole wide world out there. Whether Uncle Joe is working on the night shift at WaWa or Cousin Scotty is the overnight security guard, there's a whole slew o' folk who dreams when you're just daydreaming. I been havin' a sweet sweet dream. Sweet dreamin' sine I woke up today.
Think about last week when you “stayed up all night: to study for that killer midterm. All your roommates have gone to beddie-bye and John Locke just isn't doing it for you. So after guzzling down the last inch of Dr. Pepper and eating that Kit-Kat you've been hiding from your fat roomie, you put those chintzy Walkman headphones on and push play on your Panasonic.
But...it eats your tape.
So you guess you'll just have to “suffer” and listen to the radio. God forbid!!! Running through the different stations (“on FM of course!” you hear everything from Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue to Lou Donaldson's “The Masquerade is Over” to Johnny Cash's “There'll be Peace in the Valley” to Technotronic's “Get Up (Before the Night is Over)” to Pink Floyd's “Wish You Were Here” to Michael Penn's “No Myth.” You, being a music maven, can't decide what will rock you boat. However, something acts as a crutch and prejudices your choice. It is something very distinct and something that everyone has heard.
It's the voice of a DJ comin' at ya live like fire, across the
Dan Wade keeps'em awake and smilin' at WLEV
By Marc Bonanni
wire, you perspire, retire, expire.
And, that Marconian voice of friendship is there, in different tones and pitches, 24 hours a day. Everyone knows about Howard Stern and his morning drive thing and if waking up is givin' you an appetite, look forward to a little afternoon delight. Night time is indeed the right time for that Danny “Partridge” Bonaduce fella on Eagle 106. But, what about the voices that take you through the graveyard shift? What makes them tick? Why in the good Lord's name are they there, entertaining what seems like no one?
We've all heard Uncle Joe's stories about how he never sleeps 'cause he's works all the goddamn time. Well believe you me, overnighters find the time to sleep, although it may not be that much. Because of Henry Varlack's “crazy schedule,” he says he's up when he has to be. Aside from playing classical music at WFLN, Warlack is a scout for the Chicaco White Sox. Although he may only get about five hours of sleep each morning, Varlack feels that overnight is his ideal shift because he couldn't do his baseball job.
County 102 WXTU's Bill Quinn is “more awake now [from midnight to 5a.m.] than the rest of his 'day.'” He says that he “sleeps when the sun goes down so he can see what's going on around him.” Quinn, who has been in the business for 15 years and has worked every format (he spun 'em all; not just country), would like to work an afternoon drive shirt for the personal schedule ease and a morning drive shift for the money.
Karima, the Screamer gets a minimal amount of sleep in the morning, after bringing be-boppers and hip-hoppers through the wee hours on WIOQ. She's gotta get up at 10a.m. to do her daily routine, and she'll sleep from 7p.m. to midnight to rest up for her shift and play that “shake-your-ass music” as she calls it.
Being a Temple grad herself, Karima (The Screamer, if you will) doesn't particularly mind working in Philadelphia, but has her heart set on Atlanta. Most other DJ's would shoot for Los Angeles, the biggest radio market – a goal for a lot of radio folk, but people like Varlack, who was born and raised in Phillly, loves it here and, most importantly, loves working here.
About 60 miles away in the Lehigh Valley, serving the Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton area, is WLEV, which has Dan Wade keepin; the Valley (and even the outskirts of Phillly) awake and smilin'. Wade not only has to worry about his on air time at WLEV FM 96, but an AM sister station, WEST as well. Although WEST is a satellite broadcasting station (sans live sporting events and special progrmas), Wade must keep an eye on it to see if all the commercials run smoothly and that nothing malfunctions. He is apt to do a lot of running back and forth.
Wade also likes to tell stories of the way-out and wacky phone calls he gets. “I'll give you anything if you play 'Ode to Billy Joe'” and the woman who wants him to leave his wife top his list of favs. Wade also says that when his show hit a rating of 18.3, he could hardly keep up with all the positive phone calls.
Wade and Quinn have both had women fall in love with them, or rather, their voices, and both say that it's kind of like “Play Misty for Me.” So, for the most part, they and other overnighters make friends that keep each one another company (over the phone that is) through the long night.
Just listen to Lyn Kratz at 2a.m. On WMMR FM 93.3. “There's a huge work force out there. I take a lot of calls and cater to the regulars and not the irregulars,” says Kratz. She also says one can embarrass those “irregulars” easily. WMMR definitely caters to the regulars with their night shift Happy Hour.
Kratz has been on overnight for six years, and in the biz for 17. She has always worked for the AOR (Album Oriented Rock) format. Although she listens to “everything,” she claims she's a “Rock 'n' Roller.” Perhaps you'll see Lyn Kratz walking down Park Mall someday for she's taking a few computer science classes at Temple.
Kratz isn't the only radio personality on campus. How about the people who are getting hands-on experience on Temple's own WRTI Jazz 90. Gina Bitetti (on the air midnight to 3a.m. Thursday into Friday) is only a freshman (or first year student, if you prefer) and she is getting loads of experience. Bitetti says she feels that the RTF department here at Temple is good in a way because “if you major in broadcasting, it's a good way to have background and knowledge.” Although she's completed only two general RTF courses (10 and 12) she has RTF 155 (Introduction to Film and Video Analysis) now, and is looking forward to her courses in technology. (More page 2)