For the 2013-2014 hockey season I made the tough choice of not signing up for NHL Center Ice due to financial reasons which immediately caused sweaty palms, biting of the fingernails, shakes, and a wet brow. How can one enjoy the thrilling game of hockey without seeing the bone crunching checks, body slams into the boards, or the unbelievable scoring. Would I survive? How could I possible carry on anything without a fix of live hockey?
Live hockey, eh? Remembering just a few years ago when I worked for a major cable company with internet access at our workstations I often logged into NHL.com and, with headphones in place, listened to free Detroit Redwings radio broadcast on break. If the Wings were not playing I chose from a list of games available nationwide and Canada. The thrill of hearing of a distant broadcast revitalized the workday as if I’d just stepped outside to sun. So, if this fit the bill then why not now, eh? Saturday, October 5, 2013 despite nervous shakes, and short fingernails I log into my computer and NHL.com then select the Detroit Redwings versus the Boston Bruins. Spirited Redwing play-by-play announcer Ken Kal and color analyst Paul Woods add excitement to every check, slap-shot, fight, and with enthusiasm the emanate “He Shoots, He Ssscccooorrreees!” (Detroit lost to Boston 4-1). Breathing normally I listened to other games and before long the brow dried along with the palms, the shakes stilled, and the nails grew back as radio presented the opportunity to work online and around the house without being attached to the set! I rediscovered rediscovering radio programming causing a reflection on radio’s past. Que the proverbial “Dream Waves!”
By the time I came around in the late 1950’s television had a toe-hold and radio was in decline. Living near Detroit, Michigan I watched a lot of Canadian TV via the CBC out of Windsor which meant Hockey Night in Canada on Saturdays. In those early juvenile days I loved the game but followed no one team watching The Montreal Canadians and the Toronto Maple Leafs more than the Detroit Redwings after-all the broadcast comes from a foreign country, eh? What could be more exciting to a young mind,eh? Well, Christmas morning for one but that’s for another time. Viewing black and white shows and movies from the 1930’s, 40’s, and 50’s nurtured romantic, sepia tone images of radio and news reports from Egypt, the Middle-East, Europe, and other far off regions. What was it like to huddle around this box of tubes and wires with only sound, excited sound, emanating?
Visiting Dad’s mother, who lived in the village of Atlantic Mine on the remote and rugged Keweenaw Peninsula of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, back in the 1960’s assisted in this development her cavernous kitchen echoing the talk radio show broadcasting, I think, from nearby Hancock. Even though I never listened just the radio on instead of TV planted that early seed as she came from that era where communication was radio. At night, as I lay in bed, the mind conjured up the past with the help of the black, quiet just outside the window and distant horn blasts from trains off to unknown destinations. Back at home CKLW AM radio also out of Windsor, Canada was tuned in throughout the sixties as was WJR‘s “Night Flight 760” which each night at 1130pm the sounds of jet engines signal the “take off” soaring listeners into the night sky with “soft” music until early morning. The seventies introduced me to Rock n Roll stations: WRIF 101.1 FM, WABX 99.5 FM (WABIX), and WWWW (W4) 106.7 FM but not only music some variety as well with contests, voice imitations and baseball games; then the 1980’s with PAC-Man CD music, and Public Radio.
While living in Ventura, California I form the habit of listening to news station, KFI, which rebroadcasts old radio programs such as Jack Benny, The Great Gildersleeve, and Jimmy Stewart’s The Six Shooter. Well partn’r, reflection stirred and I tuned in nightly but soon I needed more, more, more! Satisfaction came in the form of Public Radio Station KCRW in Los Angeles,which was broadcasting Sherlock Holmes radio plays and then KPCC out of Pasadena (love Pasadena!) and KCLU out of Thousand Oaks, California all branches of the NPR tree. Even though the shows were not of the older radio type I became a fan quickly discovering Car Talk, Prairie Home Companion, and music show Morning Becomes Eclectic. I found radio Valhalla!
As I moved from the Midwest to the West Coast, back to the Midwest, and then back to the West Coast and the Pacific Northwest I started collecting radio’s golden past on cassette tapes even found a TV show called “Remember Wenn” on AMC about the behind the scenes antics in a 1940’s radio station. By the time I purchased my first computer and got a whiff of the internet I discovered these shows on CD format and then online through a variety of OTR (Old Time Radio) stations. Today, I enjoy programming out of Detroit, Michigan and from Hancock, Michigan in the Copper Country on the Keweenaw Peninsula even stations from across Canada. I feel like the kid back there before World War II that just got his “Little Orphan Annie Decoder Ring,” ye ha!
Recently, I discovered the Roku wireless device that lets me view programming on every television one is connected a la the internet. Wow, so now that sepia tone nostalgia is going stronger than ever as the world of TV programming and radio stations in the United States, Canada, Germany, France, England, etc are now available to these once sweaty and shaking palms. Oh yes, even the NHL is available for a price, but what isn’t? The free online radio broadcasts of games that’s what!
With the playoffs for The Stanley Cup near I will be able to watch some games on television but not all as I am only signed up for basic service however, I can get that high from the gondola above center ice at Maple Leaf Gardens Foster Hewitt like excitement over what else, the radio! I can hardly wait, eh?