There were lots of great DJ's, and many more famous than he was. Lee Baby worked for stations in 26 cities over 40 years, sacrificed job security for doing it his way, and could have used an agent. But the Baby made the others seem like they were trying too hard, screaming and sweating too much. When I was a student at Wesleyan University, running the campus station, he took over Hartford—or, as he called it Hard-up-for-it—radio against superb competition. (You can hear samples of his work on the Web site of Reelradio.) I invited him to the campus as a special guest. "Hello, Mr. Simms," I tremblingly said to a handsome fellow just a few years older than myself. "Please," he smiled, "you can call me Mr. Baby."
Forty years later, I wrote him an e-mail, shyly, like a baseball fan addressing Babe Ruth. Amazingly, Lee Baby wrote back in a very generous and personal way. We are now in frequent and delightful contact as I actually begin to write a book on Top-40 radio. I cannot tell you how much an e-mail from Lee Baby lifts my budget-wearied spirits. But you are probably wondering why I am telling you all of this in the pages of what is not, after all, Billboard or Broadcasting, but The Chronicle of Higher Education.
It's because I have been thinking a great deal lately about what led me to academe and how that might provide clues for engaging our students.
Friday, April 15, 2011
My (Academic) Life Was Saved by Radio
By Robert A. Weisbuch, The Chronicle of Higher Education
Posted by Tom Benson at 6:34 AM