Saturday, September 1, 2012


The LHS Class of 1987 had trouble making an 8.
I recently attended my 25th year class reunion. Yeah, I'm surprised they invited me too. I wasn't exactly the most well liked person at Lebanon High School. 1987?!?! What can be said about 1987? As many of you who read this know, I'm not a "my-generation-is-better-than-your-generation" type of person. To be quite honest there was many things on TV, movies and in music back in 1987 that SUCKED BIG TIME!

I was looking at the various radio survey charts on ARSA, I began to notice that there were some of the music between September of 1986 and June of 1987 was really wimpy. Radio airwaves were ruled by Whitney Houston.  I think this may explain why I became interested in classic rock and college rock (later to be known as alternative). It also was one of the reasons I wanted to get into radio. I felt I needed to be a program director to change the kind of music that was getting on the air. Of course, I also would listen to Woody P. Snow on KXUS and Dr. Don Carpenter on Rock 99 (KWTO-FM) on my way to school. I began thinking, "This would be a perfect job for me. I could be a wild and outrageous morning show host." Sadly, the consolidation of ownership in radio has lead to the demise of both of these jobs in many areas. During that time, you could tape your favorite song off radio. There seemed to be quite a few good Top 40 stations in the area. I just didn't appreciate it at the time. During the 90s, there was about one real Top 40/CHR station in the area. I will have to say things are swinging back to the way they were in the 80s. Now would be a good time for kids in the Ozarks to tape their favorite songs off of the radio, if they still do that.

I knew I wanted to be involved in the media. I decided as another option to radio I thought a great job would be program director at an independent TV station. Back in the 80s, independent TV stations were fun because they had to fill there time with what ever they could. Usually, old movies, old TV shows and old cartoons. Three things happened that changed that: 1) upstart networks like Fox and CW (originally the WB),  2) Specialty cable networks like TV Land, Turner Classic Movies, AMC, and Boomerang, 3) infomercials or pre-paid programs. Many independent TV stations became Fox or  CW affiliates, which took up the evening hours with their programing. As the cable networks became popular, many independent TV stations got it through their heads that since many older shows and movies were on cable, why duplicate their programing. The alternative (at least in this area) is run infomercials and prepaid package shows that are usually bad "judge" programs or bad "infotainment" shows.

I went to college to get a degree in media. During that time, I would attend seminars in K.C with a group called International Association of Business Communicators. I was told by these K.C and St. Louis business people that a media would be the ticket in the door to a high paying job in any field, not just media. Not only did businesses in Springfield, Lebanon and the surrounding are not get the memo on that, they seem to be against hiring anyone with a authentic college education. They seem to either want someone with an MBA from some fly-by-night school that holds classes in a bank after hours or no post-high school education. 

David Rasche as Sledge Hammer "Trust Me, I know what I'm doing." 

One of my favorite TV shows during my senior years was a satirical sitcom called Sledge Hammer! (Yes, there was an exclamation point at the end of the title). I think this may have gave birth to my love of broad satire. For those who never saw the show (It was one of the lowest rated shows during its two year run), Sledge Hammer! was to Dirty Harry and Hunter, what Get Smart was to James Bond and the Man from U.N.C.L.E.   The main character, Sledge Hammer (played by Missouri born actor David Rasche), was an overly enthusiastic plain-clothes, police detective, who talked to his 44 Magnum. Sledge liked to use excessive violence, such as firing a warning shot a jaywalker, using a bazooka to stop a sniper on the roof of a building and target practicing with his 44 Magnum in his apartment. He also spouted outrageous lines that were a satirical poke at macho, conservative types in 1987. The bad part is when you watch the episodes now, you notice that the stuff Sledge says isn't as stupid as the things being said by most talk radio show host or congressional Republicans (especially the ones from Missouri). As a matter of fact, watching another 80s sitcom, Family Ties, I notice that the then popular neo-con sitcom character Alex P. Keaton is seems like an antiquated character. Sadly, Alex is a fantasy, while Sledge has become a reality. Yipes!

Babe bashing not allowed in 1987.

One of my other obsessions at that time was girls. One reason I wanted to be in the media was in hopes of scoring the ultimate babe. I thought the women would be crawling all over me because I was either on radio or TV. I could see myself dating a supermodel, bikini model or female newscaster. Never happened sadly. Let me point out here something that has changed for the worst, men's opinions of famous women. I have seen horrible things posted about famous women on Yahoo, MSN, Facebook and You Tube about Katy Perry, Paris Hilton, Holly Madison, or Kim Kardashian. We didn't have these websites in the 80s, but if any guy had said some of these things about Cindy Crawford, Cindy Brinkley, Brooke Shields, Elle McPherson, Kim Bassinger or Kathy Ireland people would have wondered about their sanity, libido or manners. It seems to be these comments are made by redneck who pose for their profile photo in front of a Confederate flag or by people who use a photo of John Wayne or Ronald Reagan for their profile photo. It seems to make these little wanna-be men feel macho, but it just shows how low on the evolutionary chart they are. I guess sex was more important in the good ole days of 1987. 
I started working on this post about three weeks ago, I realize that I've taken most of the changes in stride. I don't get bent out of shape about everything younger people do. As a matter of fact, most of my best friends are younger than me. I also don't feel a need to be superior to them. I think I have younger friends because I really haven't changed since I was in high school. I have the same ultra-laid back attitude about things. A case in point would be a discussion I had with an older co-worker about a LHS Class of 87 member who allegedly defrauded a Lebanon boat manufacture of a large sum of money. This co-worker was shocked when I said, "So what. Its a big corporation. They make plenty of money. They won't miss it and will get over it." My co-worker seems to be part of that "Standing up for what's right" school of radio philosophy, where as I share the philosophy of the late Bill Drake, "The hits just keep a-coming!" Of course, this co-worker also thinks an auctioneer should host a radio show.

I think the song from that year that for me sums up my thoughts on graduating from LHS 1987  would be the song that I first heard on the radio as I left the run through for the graduation ceremony. It was by "Touch of Grey" by the Grateful Dead. It would become their only Top 40 and Top 10 hit. "We will get by. We will survive."

Of course, opinions, like the ones expressed here, explains why I'm considered the Super Villain of the Ozarks!!! Mwu-HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!   

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