Steve Dahl will always be remembered for the "Disco Demolition" publicity debacle he spearheaded at the old Comiskey Park.
If you live in Chicago and consume any media at all -- especially radio -- you're probably familiar with radio personality Steve Dahl. The 30-year veteran told his listeners this morning that he's leaving WJMK-FM 104.3.
Growing up in suburban Batavia, my mother listened to Steve Dahl every time she got into her Pontiac Bonneville station wagon, and then in her Honda Accord, then in her Saturn coupe and finally in her Nissan Maxima until my parents finally shipped off to Alaska. (Good lord, that's a middle class lineup of automobiles!)
By sitting in my mother's car -- a common occurance in the life of any child -- I, by proxy, became an unwilling Steve Dahl listener.
To be totally honest, I hated Steve Dahl growing up. I despised every moment I had to listen to him. Imagine as a child being forced to sit in a room and listen to the most inane conversations adults could possibly have interspersed with entirely unfunny 'bits' and you have some idea of the misery I felt.
To be fair, I wasn't Dahl's target demographic.
I don't keep a radio in my apartment because I've never been a fan of antiques. I also don't own a a car because I love the CTA. So it's rare that I would get a chance to hear his show anymore. I didn't actually know the station he's leaving existed until 20 minutes ago.
But I did randomly catch a snippet of his show a while back while sitting in a friend's car. His voice ... un-radiolike, blue collar, prone to pregnant pauses ... was the exact same as when I was forced to listen to him growing up. And I was eight years old again. Miserable.
But something had changed. I can't recall the specifics of what he was talking about, but I remember that I was interested.
I realize now what a Chicago radio icon Dahl is. And I know that his departure signifies a larger trend -- typified by people like myself no longer consuming traditional radio -- that is affecting media as a whole.
We're approaching the end of an era -- a changing of the guard, if you will. It's a new guard that I'd wager is currently boring children to death. So I guess some things really never do change.