Thursday, March 12, 2009

WTUL Alumni Weekend

Smace's Oldies Show on the air again!

Hot on the heels of the wedding and my birthday was this past weekend's WTUL Marathon Alumni Weekend in celebration of the Tulane University radio station's 50th anniversary. I had no time or inclination to write about it because I was on a high precipitated by the thought of meeting friends I hadn't seen or talked to in nearly three decades. Like my niece's wedding and my own "double-nickle" birthday the previous weekend, the thought that I first ventured down to the University Center to begin my college broadcasting career some 36 years ago seems implausible today. After all, Mozart lived his entire life span in 36 years and left behind lasting legacies of his genius. I would not dare to suggest that any of my "oldies" shows on WTUL had that kind of lingering effect, but for many there still is a mystique about them. I know that many who were not Tulane students listened in and enjoyed those Saturday night broadcasts. For some a Saturday night was just not the same without the sounds of the Beatles, the Kinks, Elvis, the Zombies, Chuck Berry, the Supremes, the Temptations and, of course, the Rolling Stones (to name but a few). The entire weekend was so big it took an extra day to hold it with the first event a week ago on Thursday night when WTUL's Bizzarre Radio ("with two z's") literally took over the station and several old timers headed over to Molly's at the Market, a pub in the French Quarter to see each other. Among the people there were fellow general managers Mike Longman, Maurice Roe, Ruth Presslaff and Sara Bonisteel. Other general managers like John Poche and program directors like Charles Driebe, now an entertainment lawyer and manager of music groups like the Blind Boys of Alabama, also put in stops throughout the weekend. Friday night many of the alumni gathered onboard the Creole Queen, which kindly played WTUL's programming in a private room for the benefit of those that attended. It was stupendous seeing all of the past and some present staff members enjoying themselves while renewing acquaintances. Saturday continued the alumni programming including an hour between 4 and 5 p.m. when my oldies show ran once again. Talk about irony. Back then the oldies had to be three years or older. Now they would be 33 years or more. John Guarnieri and Jay Hollingsworth both brought punk back to WTUL in a way few had seen in nearly 30 years. Sunday the programming continued with more like Brian Hughes doing the Broadway Show and Country Kate (Katy Caraway) also returning to the airwaves. What fun. It made me truly happy and inspired to see all of the older members of the staff having such a great time. Perhaps this will be the first of several opportunities for get togethers such as these to happen again.

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