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

Sign up for the Daily Update email

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

  • The Mondo Trumpe open line

    A world of the dogs? Check out Trump's latest poll ratings.
    • Jul 22, 2018
  • University pay ranking puts UA System chief at 57

    The Chronicle of Higher Education recently released its survey of pay of top public and private university leaders in 2016-17. Donald Bobbitt, president of the University of Arkansas System, checked in at No. 57 on the list of 251 public university leaders.
    • Jul 22, 2018
  • Winds, race and an open line

    The open line includes power outages, Republicans and racism.
    • Jul 21, 2018
  • More »

More by Arkansas Times Staff

Readers also liked…

  • 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
  • On Walmart and state money

    No they don't need state help. Any conservative legislator who is true to their tea party principles will crow on about crony capitalism. I look forward to deafening silence.
    • Sep 21, 2017
  • On shitholes

    The Observer is at home today in our kitty cat socks, weathering a combination sick day and snow day. Way down in Stifft Station, we live at the top of a hill that slopes away in all directions. That's good in a flood, but piss poor other than for sledding during snow and ice, especially when you only have access to a two-wheel drive car.
    • Jan 18, 2018

Latest in The Observer

  • Field trip

    After plentiful false starts and failures, "We'll do it next year" years and "Screw it, let's go to the beach" years and years when the financial situation around The Observatory conspired against Yours Truly and our inky wretch's salary, The Observer and Co. are finally going to make it to Washington, D.C.
    • Jul 19, 2018
  • Cathode ode

    There's been an addition to the Observatory lately, one that's so old, it's new again to us — broadcast television.
    • Jul 12, 2018
  • After midnight

    For the past two years, The Observer has lain awake in bed at least one or two nights a week and wondered if I have failed to prepare my son, as my father prepared me, for what could reasonably be coming in this terrible new age.
    • Jul 5, 2018
  • More »

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Misleading

    • Correction. In the post that referred to tsallernartng the piece of nazi shit, it is…

    • on July 21, 2018
  • Re: Misleading

    • I notice that the post that was in the latest issue by the piece of…

    • on July 21, 2018
  • Re: Taking the widow's mite

    • I've tried to help veterans and surviving spouses since 1975 when I first worked for…

    • on July 21, 2018
 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation