Favorite

Thursday, April 12 — a day that will long live in radio infamy. Imus? No, this injustice hit decidedly closer to home.

After 23 years, community radio station KABF (88.3 FM) pulled the plug on “Sunglasses After Dark,” the best (we think) and strangest radio show to ever grace Arkansas airwaves.

Hosted by Oleo Magneto, “Sunglasses After Dark” debuted in 1984 the week the station launched and aired weekly for two hours, first on Tuesday nights, and for the last 17 years, on Thursdays, from 8 p.m. until 10 p.m.

Oleo’s sole guideline: never play the same song twice. He said recently that, except for the few times when he wanted to make a point or when he simply forgot, he figures he played at least 95 percent of the approximately 40,000 songs he spun (all from his own collection) only once.

He embraced the nearly extinct mixed-genre format. Like any good artist, he knew the importance of juxtaposition — he’d buttress pre-War blues with dissonant techno and Stax soul, follow krautrock with reggae, and pair hip-hop with swamp-boogie. And like any good Arkie, he represented his state, regularly highlighting obscure and fledgling local talent.

Oleo had a booming DJ’s voice. Every 30 minutes or so, he’d run through a list of what he’d just played in a kind of South Arkansas lilt, spiking his pitch enthusiastically if somewhat randomly. He used “of course” often, as in “That was, of course, from the extremely rare Japanese pressing of Pere Ubu’s third album.” Few DJs could rival Oleo’s musical knowledge, and he never failed to pass it along to his listeners.

Word of the decision of KABF’s board to replace “Sunglasses After Dark” with Hispanic programming, which is being underwritten for enough money to help pay for much-needed studio repairs, reached Oleo secondhand after he’d already done what turned out to be his last show. While friends of the show gnashed teeth and tore clothes, he took the news with equanimity.

He said, via e-mail, that his chief regret is that he won’t be able to play a Dylanized parody of “Green Eggs and Ham.” He asked that we remember: “Every noise I ever broadcast is still in circulation, in its original form, somewhere in the ether, and, as a result, has a better claim on eternity than humans are likely to have.”

We chewed on that for awhile, and then we heard that Oleo had recorded every show he ever broadcast. Now we’re joining the chorus of friends of the show to lobby for a digital archive. Until then, we’ll have Oleo’s weekly farewell echoing in our head: “Good night, good luck, and remember, the bird is the word.”

This is what happens in Hogland when you have runner-up for the Heisman Trophy on the team: A line TWO football fields long wanting tailback Darren McFadden’s autograph.

It was the UA’s Fan Appreciation Day last Saturday in Fayetteville, and the line was in the Walker Pavilion practice facility. We’re told it had run down Razorback Road an eighth of a mile before officials opened Walker at 10 a.m.

With a couple of hard-to-please 5-year-olds in hand, we were glad we hadn’t been in that line. But after we purchased a couple of $55 No. 5 jerseys and a $40 kid-sized No. 5 at Bud Walton Arena and hit the Walker facility a little after its opening, we learned we were too late to join the line; we’d never make the noon cutoff.

Other friends standing in line several yards ahead of us took our jerseys to get autographed by the star while we took the kids and met the rest of the lesser-known Hogs, who sat at tables along the sides. Houston Nutt had his own line but our kid — following everyone else along an assembly line sticking hats, calendars, footballs and shirts in players’ faces — was oblivious; when he reached Nutt the coach stopped to sign his poster. We were rebuked by a security guy who noted we had “broke in line.” So what? The organization was slipshod, and it sort of fit with everything else we’ve heard coming from Fayetteville these days.

Our friends were still 40 yards away when noon came and McFadden was whisked away for a TV interview. The understanding Hog merchandise people back at the arena refunded our friend’s money for the two adult-size McFadden jerseys. We held on to the kid’s red jersey. Our child will wear it proudly, even if it doesn’t have McFadden’s Sharpie-signed signature on it.

Favorite

Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

More by Arkansas Times Staff

Readers also liked…

  • I'm sorry

    I'm sorry we stood by while your generation's hope was smothered by $1.3 trillion in student loan debt, just because you were trying to educate yourselves enough to avoid falling for the snake oil and big talk of a fascist.
    • Nov 17, 2016
  • Addendum

    he Observer has our regrets, just like everybody else. For example: last week, Yours Truly published a cover story on the increasingly ugly fight over Eureka Springs' Ordinance 2223, which is designed to protect a bunch of groups — including LGBTQ people — from discrimination in housing, employment, accommodations, cake buying, browsing, drinking, gut stuffery, knickknack purchasing, general cavorting, funny postcard mailing and all the other stuff one tends to get up to in the weirdest, friendliest, most magical little town in the Ozarks.
    • Apr 30, 2015
  • Snake stories

    The Observer's boss, Uncle Alan, is something of a gentleman farmer on his spread up in Cabot, growing heirloom tomatoes and watermelons and crops of chiggers on property that looks like the perfect farmstead Lenny and George often fantasized about in "Of Mice and Men."
    • Aug 27, 2015

Most Shared

  • World leaders set to meet in Little Rock on resource access and sustainable development

    Next week a series of meetings on the use of technology to tackle global problems will be held in Little Rock by Club de Madrid — a coalition of more than 100 former democratic former presidents and prime ministers from around the world — and the P80 Group, a coalition of large public pension and sovereign wealth funds founded by Prince Charles to combat climate change. The conference will discuss deploying existing technologies to increase access to food, water, energy, clean environment, and medical care.
  • Tomb to table: a Christmas feast offered by the residents of Mount Holly and other folk

    Plus, recipes from the Times staff.
  • Fake news

    So fed up was young Edgar Welch of Salisbury, N.C., that Hillary Clinton was getting away with running a child-sex ring that he grabbed a couple of guns last Sunday, drove 360 miles to the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria in Washington, D.C., where Clinton was supposed to be holding the kids as sex slaves, and fired his AR-15 into the floor to clear the joint of pizza cravers and conduct his own investigation of the pedophilia syndicate of the former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state.
  • Reality TV prez

    There is almost nothing real about "reality TV." All but the dullest viewers understand that the dramatic twists and turns on shows like "The Bachelor" or "Celebrity Apprentice" are scripted in advance. More or less like professional wrestling, Donald Trump's previous claim to fame.
  • Arkansas archeologist does his job, is asked to leave

    Amid Department of Arkansas Heritage project.

Latest in The Observer

  • The sweet hereafter

    This week, the Arkansas Times falls back on that oldest of old chestnuts: a recipe issue. Being who we are, of course, we had to put a twist on that; namely, the fact that most of the recipes you'll find in these pages are courtesy of people who have shuffled off to that great kitchen in the sky, where the Good Lord is always whipping up new things in his toque and apron, running the great mixers of genetics and time, maybe presenting the batter-dipped beaters and bowls to Jesus for a lick down.
    • Dec 8, 2016
  • Writers blocked

    OK, back to basics, Observer. Get hold of yourself. Give the people what they want, which is escapism! If you don't, this column is eventually just going to devolve into The Prophecies of Hickstradamus at some point in the next four years: "The Orange Vulture perches in the fig tree. The great snake eats Moonpies and Royal Crown Cola by starlight ..." That kind of thing. Nobody likes that. Too much deciphering and such.
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • Cassandra

    The Observer's grandfather on our mother's side was a crackerjack fella. Grew up in the sandy hills north of Conway. County boy, through and through. During hog-killing time in December 1941, the story in our family goes, when word of Pearl Harbor reached his little community, he and his friends loaded into his T-model truck and made the rough journey to the first speck of civilization that included an Army recruiting office, where they all enlisted.
    • Nov 24, 2016
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

View Trumpeter Swans in Heber Springs

View Trumpeter Swans in Heber Springs

Magness Lake, in Heber Springs, is a magnet for swans

Event Calendar

« »

December

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

 

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation