| Well you just have to
love the balls of a radio station, with a frequency of 101.9 , to just say
"Screw it. Let's call ourselves Pix 102." Their
attitude toward mainstream radio in the late '70's was pretty much the
same. " Screw the Boss and Ambrosia. " We're gonna play the new stuff that
only college radio will touch." So, they turned the station into THE only station you needed to hear
in the metro area.
They were innovative,
launching a weekend of fun, with the Pix Penthouse Party on Friday nights.
Jocks talked casually, as if to a friend, over a low bed of cocktail party
noise and chatter. The on air personalities seemed real to us.
Hell, we could even call them. They would take calls on the air
whenever the mood struck. The 'hit' list favored the B52's,
early Blondie, Ramones, Clash, Selector, Cars, Cheap Trick, Martha and the
Muffins, Dave Edmunds, Tom Petty. God, the list goes on
The jocks were cool too.
Meg Griffin came over from WNEW (Where Rock Later Died) where she had worked
in the music library. Joe from Chicago started off the Friday
afternoon drive, Jane Hamburger was a PIX favorite (when the format was
nuked, she slipped over to Hofstra Radio to start the Post Punk Progessive
Pop Party). There was Alfredo in the morning, cleaning up after Mark
Simone's overnight gig. Now Mark worked Monday through Friday from
11p.m. till 6 a.m. He also worked Sunday mornings, with his new and
inovated SimonePhone. Believe it or not, he was doing a cleaned up,
and funnier version of King Howard 's show, way before Howard was.
Listeners could call in and play dopey games like What's Your Excuse, Dial A
Date, and of course Beat Taco (spoofing the Disco guy at a rival(?)
station named Paco.
Alan Colmes worked the
weekend overnights, and taught me to make bold over the edge phone calls.
I will never forget how he called the hotel across from the American Embassy
in Iran, when the hostages were taken. He also let me talk up my
first song, by this time PIX was replaced by The New 102, and the song was
Hungry Heart by Barf Sprinstein. I think they even hired a jock named
Bink something or other.
When the format changed, we
lost a sense of community, a loss of oneness. Tom Leykis offered a
very fitting "memorial" service for PIX on WBAI, with the old jocks calling
in, Lisa Robinson, and others. People were actually calling in and
crying, mourning the loss of something we held dear.
8 months later, we would lose
John Lennon, and at that time Mark Simone signed his own death certificate by playing
Another One Bites the Dust.
The little station that
could, just wasn't given the chance.