It was actually in elementary school with my friend also named Emily. She introduced me to this fun activity we called H-O-M-E. You know those boom boxes where you could record your voice onto a sweet cassette tape? Well, we took one of those and created our own radio station, complete with original songs, audio murder mystery stories, and commercials.
Our radio station changed depending on the location we were recording from. If we were at Emily’s house, we’d say, “Hello, this is Melissa and Emily coming to you live from 1234 Smart Court, H-O-M-E!” Change of address meant change of the station. We knew our listeners could keep up.
I loved this game so much that I brought up the idea with two other friends on separate occasions and I now have many cassette tapes gathering dust in my childhood closet with awesome H-O-M-E radio recordings.
At one point we used Emily’s keyboard to create background music for our various audio entertainment. Emily and I recorded original songs we wrote about pollution and how bad it is and how we wanted to save the monkeys in the rainforest. My friend Leah and I did commercials for a fictional store called Fit It Right, where they guaranteed that your clothes would…fit correctly, no matter your size.
Most of the commercials were just recorded on the fly and if we messed up or got a case of the giggles, we’d just rewind and tape back over it. But with my friend Megan, we put together and scripted an entire murder mystery tale that would probably get us sued by the people who wrote Clue if it ever goes viral. We had backstories and physical descriptions for an entire wealthy family, complete with maids and cooks. We foreshadowed and we dropped hints and we used really bad French accents. No spoilers as to who the killer really was…but I wouldn’t eat the stew if I were you!
I also went solo for my blue period in radio. I recorded myself singing My Girl (remember that movie with Anna and Macaulay?!) and quotes from movies or shows I’d heard and didn’t quite understand, but knew enough to know that they were cool.
What’s your sign, baby?
The Hollywood sign!
My most treasured radio show was when I interviewed each member of my family. And by interviewed, I mean I told my family members exactly what I wanted them to say. I must have been about 8 or 9 years old, and my grandparents were visiting from Wisconsin, which was a big deal. Both of them have since passed away, and so I really love that I still have a piece of them on tape.
I listened to this interview so much over the years that it’s been cemented in my mind. First, I recorded all my scripted parts alone in my room, and then I would run downstairs and tell each person what to say, and the pattern would continue. Here’s the transcript of what I remember:
Hello, and my name is Melissa ___ _____. (I always introduced myself with my full name, middle and last.)
Today we’re going to meet the members of my family!
First, we’re going to talk to my Dad, and he loves watching football on TV. Hi, Dad, what are you doing?
Dad: I’m watching football and they just scored a touchdowwwnnn! (My Dad said this with the appropriate amount of fake enthusiasm.)
Next, we’re going to talk to my Mom, and she loves to cook. Hi, Mom, what are you doing?
Mom: I’m making a casserole.
Next, we’re going to talk to my little brother who loves playing video games just like I do. Hi, Brian, what are you doing?
Brian: I just got to the 3rd level in Nintendo!! (It took some expert levels of coercion to get him to say this on tape, but it was worth it.)
Next, we’re going to talk to my grandpa, and he loves to play golf. Hi, Grandpa, what are you doing?
Grandpa: And you know what? I was playing golf and I just got a hole in one, whooooo-ppeeeeee! (He went off-script for this one, but I’ll forgive him.)
Last, we’re going to talk to my grandma, and she loves to knit. Hi, grandma, what are you doing?
Grandma: I’m knitting some mittens. (Those four words never sounded so sweet.)
So that’s all I got. Thanks for reading me remember my journalistic roots.