I am listening to the radio. The DJ tonight is a 93-year-old elderly man with a feeble voice. He is introducing the songs of Frank, Ella, Bing, Nat, and Lawrence.
I turn it up.
This is a pirate radio station. Until a few minutes ago, I didn’t know anything about pirate radio. I looked it up. Wikipedia says pirate radio is any station that broadcasts without a valid license. Meaning: I still don’t know what the heck it means.
All I know is that I’ve been listening to radio gold for a few hours. I’ve heard such giants as Elvis, Hank Williams, Bob Wills, the Beach Boys, and of course Frankie Yankovic playing his American masterstroke, the “Hoop Dee Doo Polka.”
This radio station is called Radio Recliner. It is available on the internet. The station is disc-jockeyed by elderly people who are quarantined in assisted living facilities around the country.
In other words, the old people call the shots. They choose the songs, announce them, and talk to listeners using cellphone microphones from
the safety of their own rooms.
Radio Recliner was started by an Atlanta and Birmingham-based marketing firm who thought it would be great to let elderly people have their own radio station during a pandemic. This station has become so popular that every hopeless sentimental from here to Timbuktu is tuning in. Like me.
Tonight’s DJ tells his audience a little about himself between songs:
“Hi ya, I’m 93 years old, and I’m feeling good tonight...”
A song begins to play. “In the Mood,” by Glenn Miller. The song is so peppy that I am bouncing in my seat while I write this column.
The music ends. The elderly voice comes on again, this time to tell a story.
“I was in World War II,” he says. “I was 18 years old and foolish, the war certainly made me grow up in a hurry… There was…