Rodney Writes: Sometimes We Should Be Quiet


Everybody please welcome “Rodney”, my old Ford-selling pal, to these pages. We’ll be hearing quite a bit from him in the near future. At the end of the piece I’ve included a gallery of video captured from a trip we took to Woodward Skate Park back in 2003, just for fun. Rodney’s not afraid to crash, even though he was forty years old when we made the trip — JB

One evening last week I was listening to the radio. Normally I’m listening to either NPR or Sports Talk Radio but for whatever reason I decided I had enough talk. I was tired of talking. Sometimes it happens. I wanted some music so I turned the dial to one of the eight Oldie/Classic Rock stations here in Central Ohio. I had not been listening long when I heard the familiar acoustic guitar of Jimmy Page. One only needs to hear the first 4 notes to know this nation’s true national anthem was on the radio, almost 8 minutes of pure listening bliss, ahh lay back close my eyes and take it in.

Time to get my mellow on. Wait! What?! What the hell man?! What is that noise, who is that talking, somebody is talking! Somebody is actually talking through “Stairway To Heaven”! I can’t fucking believe somebody is talking through music’s greatest anthem!

I can’t even call this guy a DJ, he’s just a guy clicking on the radio stations’ equivalent of iTunes. He’s no DJ because a DJ would know that with this song, unlike just about any other, you do not, can not, must not speak during any portion of this magnificent song! You just don’t do it.

I gotta tell you I was outraged! Yes I know, in a climate where some people are outraged over Yoga Pants, because they are so sheer, you’re asking, “Is he really outraged over something so trivial?” The answer is yes. Yes I am. In an age where we have podcasts, YouTube, blogs, and 24 hour cable news networks, people are always talking. There’s never any silence, any chance to just listen and respect what’s going on.

The reason I’m so offended is this: the guy had no idea that it was wrong. Didn’t one of his friends or relatives or even parents explain the reverence we have for this song? I guess not, because if they had he would have never opened his mouth. Some things you don’t do and this is one of them. I called a friend of mine and asked if I had lost my mind and he reassured me I had not and that I was correct. “Damn kids, no respect for anything.” I had to laugh because those were my sentiments as well.

Yes I know some of us play air guitar with Jimmy, some of us play the air drums with John, and some of us sing with Robert when we are alone. But we never talk. Take it from me, young man on the radio: sometimes we should be quiet.

13 Replies to “Rodney Writes: Sometimes We Should Be Quiet”

  1. William E

    Several years ago I was over at my father in law’s house. On this particular day FIL had his TV turned on to MTV as he had heard that Pink Floyd was having a reunion at some charity festival. When the time comes FIL sits down to watch Floyd play their three song set. All is going well until the guitar solo in comfortably numb, when all of a sudden they cut away to the color commentary nitwits who are talking about how great it is to be there. Cue FIL “what.. what.. what the f@#! Man.. do you honestly think anyone in this world would rather hear you jabber than hear the reunion of Pink Floyd?”

  2. Tomko

    The magnificent Howard Manshein of the once blessed 92 CITI-FM once had a woman of a certain age call him to explain that THAT song was the perfect song to make love to.

  3. Dirty Dingus McGee

    Sigh. Radio sucks ass these days. Even the “classic rock” stations. Please, for the love of all that is good in the universe, play something other than the major hits. There are many, dare I say thousands, of lesser known songs that deserve airplay. This is the reason iTunes and such have grown in popularity. Myself, these days I would prefer to hear Gallows Pole from Zepplin 100 times before hearing Stairway again.

  4. MrFixit1599

    Granted it has been a while since I went this route, but back in the day I was a complete, “Nazi”, if you will about this and certain songs. Shut the hell up and let me listen to my song. Most of the time I had already cranked it loud enough to not actually hear them talking, but I could see that they were and that was unacceptable. LISTEN TO MY SONG AND QUIT JABBERING! Apparently i have mellowed over the years.

  5. -Nate

    Well said Randy .

    Welcome aboard .

    I too love listening and hate being distracted by chatter .

    @ Work I use……


  6. jz78817

    some people just see “quiet” as “an opportunity to fill the air with the noise of my voice.” I don’t think age enters into it. I encounter lots of people at work who apparently talk just for the sake of talking.

    Maybe Ford Prefect had it right when he thought if humans don’t exercise our lips, our brains start working.

  7. patrick-bateman!

    Welcome Rodney,

    I agree wholeheartedly with your article. Inane chatter of music is one of the reasons why I have abandoned music on the radio.

  8. galactagog

    agree totally

    chattering over the intros of songs is the hallmark of annoying AM radio, IMO

    I think it gives the DJ’s a feeling of importance; of credibility by association: because they are yapping over the intro to some revered piece of music. They are sharing airspace with the same performance. But they do not belong

    Radio sucks. Back in the early days of FM, when DJ’s actually *did* something, they would play b-sides, alternate tracks etc. But now that everything is owned by conglomerates, they don’t give a shit about anything but advertising revenue. No thanks, I’d rather watch re-runs of “OW, MY BALLS”

  9. Ronnie Schreiber

    Frankly, I think the record company editing out No Woman No Cry’s guitar solo so it would fit on Marley/Wailers’ greatest hits album, Legend, is worse than talking over a song that I’ve heard thousands of times since my brother bought the album new, when it was released. We were blasting Stairway out of the windows before it was a FM radio hit.

  10. Domestic Hearse

    I’d sit there at the stereo, my finger poised above the cassette record button — actually buttons — you had to hit play and the red record button simultaneously. Sometimes if you didn’t get it quite right, you’d think you were recording but it was only in play mode and you got nothing. Just tape hiss. So I’d sit there, waiting, waiting, waiting…the DJ would announce the next song and it’d be a good one and I’d push down on both buttons and cross my fingers. Watch the levels, not too hot. Getting close to the end, not much longer, just…about…to…the…


    The 70s DJs couldn’t do. Just couldn’t let any song finish. They had to — HAD TO — talk over the end of every song in their cheesy baritone voices. (And that was Working Man by Rush, and we’re working hard tonight for you, bringing you the best rock on the planet…”). You tried to get a good mix tape, clean and full of great songs with absolutely no Abba or Elton John, and especially with no DJ over-talk. But it was dang near impossible for this once-upon-a-time 13-year old.

    Kids today. Don’t know how good they got it. You can buy just one song for a buck. Or you can subscribe to Spotify. Or go straight to YouTube. But in my day, you had to buy the whole album, all the songs, and it was great and nothing — NOTHING — was better than riding home with a new album under your arm. But we didn’t have much money so you sat by the stereo at night, hoping the DJ would keep his freaking mouth shut for just a few seconds longer. And that the record button was on.

  11. VolandoBajo

    Welcome aboard, Rodney.

    We must have gone to different schools together, as the saying goes.

    I too hate DJ’s stepping on music. I mostly listen to sports radio and NPR, depending on what is on there.

    And I too wasn’t afraid to crash in my forties, though for me it was trying to do things in my forties on a skateboard that nobody, I mean nobody, had been doing when I was in my teens.

    I look forward to reading more of your input. Sounds like you and Jack have had some good adventures together in your time.

  12. M3ntalward

    in 1989 I was busy failing my Senior year of high school, but I still had plans. The local college station, Album 88, the voice of Georgia State University was the only completely student run 100,000 Watt red station in the US. The had helped build the careers of REM, the B-52s, The Indigo Girls and The Black Crowes when alternative radio meant something. I managed to get a training session on at the station in preparation for my freshman year and was going to be on their wait list.

    They had two primary rules of the station. Rule #1 was never NEVER talk over the music. Period. The station had carefully crafted a situation where the music was always what mattered. They deliberately never let anyone develop “personalities” They had popular shows, but these were passed on from year to year with carefully selected replacements.

    Rule #2 was never yell. It was the early 90’s and every AM drive show was quickly becoming “The Zoo Crew.” Album 88 stood against it.

    Just shy of 10 years later I got a guest spot on an Iowa college station. But all of the DJs and management were professionals and the students were all in supporting roles and on weekends. But I noticed each song was noted with how long the music was until the first lyric, and also the same at the end which allowed the on air talent to yap during the beginning and end of each song, squeezing in more advertisement and promotions.

    I haven’t seriously listened to terrestrial radio for over a decade. I do believe one of the main reasons behind the popularity of Pandora, iTunes radio and Spotify is the songs exist one at a time with no annoying human interaction to spoil it. But every time I hear voice over leading into the song before the first verse, I remember those lessons from so many years ago.


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