Mental Playlist: We Are Family
January 11, 2011
I come from a large family ... and on top of the overpopulation in our house, we moved a lot. We were forced to be close, because we simply didn't know anyone else. In the late '70s/early '80s, before home computers, DVD players in cars and, in our house, color TV (my parents convinced us it was a fad and would be gone soon enough ... don't even ask about the microwave) we looked to each other for entertainment.
As we suffered through long car rides from state to state and even longer summers where we didn't know anyone in town, we began to make up songs. To this day, I still sing them and am surprised when my husband doesn't know them. The tape worm song was a smash. "Tape worm, tape worm where you been? I've been sitting in Margaret's din din." Who could forget the summer of the Rubber Butt song. "Beth Riley is a nut, she has a rubber butt, and every time she turns the corner it goes putt putt." And the song ruled too blue for my parents "La Cucaracha, I Scratched My Crotcha," stemming from an embarrassing incident at Six Flags.
When our own songs started to burn, we turned to the local radio station to find out what our new city had to offer. There was usually only one station to listen to, unless we wanted to be attacked by The Oak Ridge Boys or Pat Boone. Memphis had WHBQ and some guy named Rick Dees with a new song called "Disco Duck." In St. Louis it was KSHE. They may deny it, but it was the first place I heard Huey Lewis doctor up "Heart of Rock and Roll" to include the name of the city. It was also home to Sweet Meat, the pig with an attitude.
Charlotte was RFX and the days of "Hiney Winery." Richmond brought us XL102, whose bumper stickers were available for FREE at Wendy's. Kansas City had KY102. The production was unforgettable ... the voice guy messed up all the time and they put it on the air! Each year on Elvis' birthday, they would gather a ton of Elvis impersonators and take over Barney Allis Plaza, renaming it Barney "Elvis" Plaza.
Yes, it was a different time. Yes, there is more competition from more mediums. Yes, your budget has been cut. Your listener doesn't care. When they turn to you, what memories is your brand creating? Will people remember you because you played John Mayer and fewer commercials? In 30 years, hell in 30 minutes, will your brand resonate?