It was February 3, 1991. I’d been working my side gig at KDWB for a few weeks.
It was a pretty menial gig by radio standards; come in on Sunday afternoons to work with Spyder Harrison and Kris Adams. I did get the occasional call to come in on weeknights to produce Spyder’s weekday evening show – which was four solid hours of pure adrenaline.
But this was not one of those days. The weekend gig was fun. Low-key, but fun.
But it wasn’t the kind of radio I really dug.
During my last radio gig – my stint at KSTP-AM which, it pained me to remember, had ended almost four years ago, I’d tacked an extra layer onto my radio addiction. In addition to the addiction of the ozone and the pace and the buzz, there was the intellectual addiction you got in talk radio – the buzz you get mixing it up with an unpredictable, sometimes hostile, sometimes drunk, sometimes dissociative audience.
After that? Spinning records (more like “firing off tape carts”) didn’t have the same buzz it did when I was 16.
Still, it was a gig. It kept me in the business, more or less, for 4-10 hours a week. And as long as I had to have a menial, crummy job, it might as well be one in the same industry as the one I wanted to be in.
But how to make that work? I pondered that constantly.
I may have been pondering it when a big, swarthy guy with black hair, piercing eyes and a bushy porn-star mustache walked into the KDWB studio.
“Hey, Spyder”, he said in a booming voice that set the stack of carts on the console rattling.
“Hey, man”, Spyder responded in his off-air voice, which was basically the same as his air voice, an octave above “whales only” range.
The swarthy guy looked at me. “Hey, you the Mitch Berg that used to work for Don Vogel?”
I brightened up. “Yeah”. I was amazed anyone remembered that. And maybe validated, just a little.
“Cool, man. I’m Joe Hansen. We gotta talk sometime!”.
I made a mental note.