Monday, May 09, 2005

The Black Experience

Anyone who's driven with me on a Sunday knows where I keep my dial set. Sunday is the day of rest, the day of family dinners... The day to leave the island and jam in my car to 95.5 WBRU. Any other day, this is not my station of choice, but on Sunday, the alt-rock station becomes 360: The Black Experience.

In the morning, they take ya to church with gospel in case your hangover kept you from the chapel. Evenings ease into "The Gentle Touch" slow jams. The music is interspersed with shoutouts that usually sound like this: "To JoJo, from your wifey. I love and miss you. Keep ya head up and you'll get home soon." One can guess that all the radios in the ACI are tuned to 95.5 on Sundays, as inmates listen for a personal shoutout from their own wifey, a reason to keep their head up.

Most of the DJs are horrible. They stutter, they stumble and they generally have nothing interesting to say, but I manage to block out the 30 or 40 seconds at a time to have a radio experience blissfully high on hip-hop but low on G-Unit. It's one day to listen to the old-school, the classics, the hits that don't get the overblown play on Hot 106 and enjoy being in the car. Sunday was an especially good day because I had a lucky day.

They do contests constantly, and sometimes I get the sense I should try because anyone else who's listening probably has to wait in line and call collect from the payphone. They were talking about a Roots concert in Boston and said, "call up and be the 9th caller to win and see the Roots." So, I called. Beep Beep Beep. Over and over, maybe like 9 times. Ehh, i figured, I'll call ONE more time and if it doesn't get through, I'll stop. So I did... it didn't. I put the phone down.

Still, I called one more time, because I had this feeling that I would win. Nope. Busy again.

Put the phone back down. Ugh, one more time, I thought. Ring! Ring!

"Hello, this is 360"
"Hi, I'm calling about the concert tickets?"
"Do you like the Roots, cuz you're the 9th caller!"

I like 95.5 because they don't play your conversation when you win. So I said hells, yes, I like the Roots.

In a grand sweep of serendipity, my sisters in soul, Floetry, are the opening act. Yesssss. I'm bringing Ian, which is good because I'll be on the guest list and I'm afraid I'll have to say "I'm with the Black Experience." Ian won't mind though.

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