November 2015 -  WPRB History
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November 2015

Radio Striptease on “The Magic of Radio”

Text: Marc Fisher ’80 | Photo: Rob Schuman ’74

The Magic of Radio was a late-night, sometimes all-night, program that aired once a week from about 1977 to 1980. It was a mix of music, juvenile nonsense, brilliant satire and pathetically bad taste.

We tried to stay as close to the legal and moral edge as possible. We had a weatherman with a speech impediment that rendered him entirely incomprehensible. We had a substitute weatherman who was sentenced to stand at an (imaginary) outdoor phone booth in Kingston whenever there was significant snow or, his personal favorite, freezing rain. We had a sports reporter who never once made it on the air; he always seemed to be delayed at a bar across the street. The news was read by Gus Gil, whose booming voice made the acts of a New Jersey state magistrate seem like the coming of the Lord.

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LISTEN: Promo for Eight-Hour Spotlight on The Residents

Adam Gottlieb was one of WPRB’s more assertively challenging DJs of the early 1990s. As has been previously mentioned here, he once subjected himself to every single Jandek LP in one marathon/overnight session. On top of that, his love of skronky jazz, Captain Beefheart, and obscure international music often made his show something of an endurance test for more timid listeners.

Mixing all of those sounds together into a single freeform show was no big deal for Adam, but sometimes (usually during school breaks when the majority of the airstaff was away from campus), he’d embark upon marathon broadcasts devoted to a single artist with a sprawling back catalog—as much as to fill/kill long stretches of airtime as for the irritainment of the listenership. Case in point, his 1992 eight-hour spotlight on The Residents.

Here’s the promo: