When I was a kid, my friends and I broke out the tape recorder and pretended we were DJs. These ‘shows’ happened occasionally, starting in 1987 and lasting through 1993, before I got an internship at WMUC radio at the University of Maryland and recorded myself actually doing a real show.
ROBO 100, which I started when I was 11 or 12, was heavily influenced by Don Geronimo/Mike O’Meara and later, Howard Stern (folks I enjoyed listening to but not great for kids to emulate). I copied them way too often, including their jokes and speaking style.
The early tapes were made by my friend Jimmy and I, where we read bad jokes from books, acted out pre-written bits, and pretended to get callers by doing awful impressions, including the phone ringing. Lots of tape was wasted on songs and ill-conceived ‘best-ofs’ from previous tapes. Various childhood friends made appearances, several of whom were far funnier than Jimmy and I. Some of show was cute, especially in the younger years, but much was terrible, and often inappropriate despite my no-profanity rule.
Sometimes I recorded my friends and/or family just hanging out. My favorite parts came when my younger brothers started speaking (and fighting). My own voice changed over these years, making the earlier tapes my favorites because it’s hard to get sentimental for times when my voice sounded exactly as it does today.
Later tapes, particularly when I was in high school, included me just doing the ‘show’ alone, almost like a recorded journal entry. These were far more profane and depressing, particularly during the high school angst years, and reminded me of times I’d rather forget.
I decided not to save all of the audio, because much of what we recorded was cringeworthy, though I did save certain parts that weren’t as bad as others.
This interest in recording myself eventually led me to becoming a broadcast journalism major, and journalism got me to where I am today, so childhood hobbies like this can definitely make a difference.
Here are some of the parts that I decided to save.
Here I am interviewing my 4-year-old brother.
A wrestling match, featuring me, Jimmy, Nicky, Damon and Danny.
My babysitter, Jason, singing. He actually did stand-up comedy several years later.
Me, Jimmy, and Nicky, who was doing a character named ‘Drunk Monk.’
A bit I did by myself, showing off how much money I had.